CAMBRIDGE: The subject matter covered was not much different from the talk he delivered at Oxford Union in January, yet Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad kept the floor engaged with his wit and humour at the Cambridge Union.
The rumblings of a small group of protesters outside were soon drowned by the Prime Minister’s off-the-cuff speech inside the Cambridge Union Society hall on Sunday which took the audience from the British rule narrative to the present-day woes faced by the country and the world.
Some of the attendees noted that the talk was not much different from the one in Oxford Union because the nonagenarian was steadfast in his stand on many issues, such as the Israeli regime carving out its own state at the expense of Palestine, atrocities suffered by Palestinians, and Malaysia’s stand on LGBT.
He also once again highlighted how Malaysia shifted its focus from the West to the East, and the fear of marginalisation of the smaller countries by the bigger nations.
The crowd was amused when Dr Mahathir pointed out in jest that in the English language, people did not mean what they said.
“For example, in Parliament, the Speaker is not allowed to speak. Malaysia is a member of the Commonwealth but there is nothing much in common with the wealth dominated by certain countries.
“The British acknowledged the Malay Sultans as Rulers but the Sultans never ruled. Therefore, when they criticise us as dictators, I don’t think they really mean it,” he said as the audience roared.
After the speech, when host Adam Davies asked about his return to active politics, Dr Mahathir had this to say; “I came back because the very same Opposition that used to call me a dictator decided that I should be their leader, at their request and not mine”.
And the Prime Minister’s reply to the last question from the floor again drew laughter.
When he was asked whether the Pakatan Harapan coalition would be returned in the next election, he replied: “It depends on you, if you vote for us, we will return”.
Also in attendance was Dr Mahathir’s wife Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali, Foreign Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah and Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman.
Among those in the audience were Malaysian students and Cambridge undergraduates as well as Malaysians based in the United Kingdom. – Bernama