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Sunday December 11, 2005

Dr M: Stand up and speak out


KUALA LUMPUR: People must “stick their necks out” and speak up if they see something obviously wrong, said Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. 

“My fear is that if people fail to think and criticise that which is wrong, then the society will rot,” he said during the question-and-answer session after giving a talk on Current Issues in Malaysian Politics. 

Dr Mahathir sadly noted that Umno was not behind him when he exposed “the abuse of power” in the issue of approved permits (APs) for the import of cars into the country. 

He took a swipe at Wanita Umno members who “never even said a word” over the AP controversy. 

Dr Mahathir said the tendency to not criticise even when things went wrong could be due to Barisan securing over 90% of the parliamentary seats in last year's general election. 

“I believe that the country should have a strong government but not too strong. A two-thirds majority like I enjoyed when I was prime minister is sufficient but a 90% majority is too strong.  

“We need an opposition to remind us if we are making mistakes. When you are not opposed you think everything you do is right,” he said.  

On building the bridge to replace the Causeway, Dr Mahathir said Malaysia should go ahead without waiting for Singapore but said he didn't “think the new link would be built anytime soon.” 

On the reported RM158mil pre-tax loss by Proton for the second quarter of this year, Dr Mahathir, who is Proton advisor said: 

“I am surprised that a company which was doing well suddenly reports losses. It is difficult to believe that it was because they purchased (motorcycle manufacturer) Agusta. 

“If Agusta had debts, then the purchase price would have been lower. Why did Proton buy it for a higher price? There must be a mystery here and we have to get to the bottom of it.”  

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