BALI: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad said it was unfair to dig up nasty things committed by somebody in the past in a move to deny them the right to contest for political posts.
He said bodybuilder-turned-actor Arnold Schwarzenegger had every right to contest for the post of governor of California.
“To look into his past when he was a small boy – he might have behaved wrongly or something like that – that is not being fair,” he said during a press conference before leaving for home after attending the Ninth Asean Summit and summit with the grouping's dialogue partners here.
Turning to the foreign reporter who asked him to comment on Schwarzenegger's victory, he said:
“I am quite sure if you intend to stand for elections, people will dig into your past and do nasty things and all the skeletons in the cupboard will come out.”
Asked on his purported advice to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to seek re-election next year, Dr Mahathir said he had not encouraged her because, as far as he was concerned, leading a country was a big burden.
“But if she is willing to take on the burden, that is her choice, nobody should say no,” he added.
On the possibility of Australia playing a role in the region, Dr Mahathir said Australia should decide which region it belonged to.
“Australia has made it known to the world it wants to be a deputy sheriff to oversee this region.
“It is very difficult to get along with a deputy sheriff who is always looking over your shoulder.
“Australia must decide whether it is Europe or America or Asia,” he said.
Dr Mahathir said if Australia decided that it belonged to Asia, then there would be no problem.
“But we see Australia as some sort of a transplant from another region with the same thinking of the transplanted entity.
“As far as I am concerned, Australia is not Asia, but at the end of this month I will not be around and people may change their mind, I don't know,” he said.
He said Australia could not think of itself as being Asian and could not stop being critical of other people.
On the abduction of six people from a resort near Lahad Datu, Dr Mahathir said the incident indicated the need to tighten security and that there should be closer co-operation between neighbouring countries to ensure that the security was more effective.
“We will take measures to stop a repeat of this,” he added.