KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (pic) is saddened that the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (Lima) exhibition has turned into a fair for fighter jets, exhibiting mankind's obsession for war instead of peace.
The Prime Minister and Langkawi MP said when the exhibition made its debut in 1991, it was meant for smaller aircraft.
"We had Lima and I wanted it to be a small show, small aircraft but you see all those big fighters? We glorify them.
"What are the fighter planes for? For killing people. We are spending so much money on research on how to kill people, which doesn't speak well of the level of civilisation that we have achieved," he said.
Dr Mahathir said the same intelligence and money spent on war weapons can be better used for more noble causes such as finding a cure for cancer.
"If you did that, cancer wouldn't be a problem now and we should do things that are good and not for killing people," he said at the Perdana Leadership Foundation CEO Forum on Thursday (April 4).
The biennial Lima exhibition, a brainchild of Dr Mahathir, is one of the largest maritime and aerospace exhibitions in the Asia-Pacific region.
It started out small with the aim of making Langkawi the venue for light experimental aircraft to fly unhampered by heavy traffic.
It has now morphed into an exhibition focused mainly on the defence industry.
Separately, Dr Mahathir said it is unusual to have a case with strong public interest like the SRC International graft trial to be heard in six months from the time it is first filed in court.
Dr Mahathir Mohamad was responding to a denial from former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s defence team that the case was not being delayed.
“Whether he was delaying it or not, the fact remains that it was only heard after six months. That is unusual.“By right, cases that have such a strong element of public interest have to be tried as soon as possible," he said, adding that there is no benefit in delaying such cases.