PETALING JAYA: Responding to allegations that he made use of the Malays and Umno for personal interest, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) has countered by saying that in truth, it was the party which elected him and the Malays had used him.
He was reported to have claimed that he did not personally benefit from being prime minister and Umno president for 22 years.
"Umno has chosen me (to be its leader), not the other way around. I was an ordinary member of Umno, not from the elite," the former prime minister and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) chairman said in an interview with The Malaysian Insight on Thursday.
"If I have used Umno, what are the bad things that I have done? The truth is, it is the Malays who have used me," he said.
Dr Mahathir's response comes after Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi accused Mahathir of forwarding the Malay agenda in order to make use of the Malays and Umno.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, had taken a dig at Dr Mahathir's alleged Indian heritage, and said that Dr Mahathir's original name was Mahathir a/l Iskandar Kutty.
The a/l means "son of", an attribute in Indian names of the Malaysian identification card.
On the incessant attacks he received after the formation of his party, and even before, Dr Mahathir said that the criticisms do not affect him and that it was part and parcel of politics.
"I don't care. There are people who hate me and they will continue to hate me. But I believe the majority of people do not," Dr Mahathir said.
Over the past week, netizens and several political commentators had posted numerous videos and pointed out that it was leaders from the Pakatan camp who had first attacked Dr Mahathir on his Indian heritage.
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