KUALA LUMPUR: Fear of the Malay Proclamation gathering is unfounded, says Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The former prime minister said the cancellation of venues for the planned gathering on Sunday (March 19) was uncalled for as the organisers only wanted to get together and sign a proclamation on the situation of Malays in the country.
Dr Mahathir, an adviser to the Malay Proclamation secretariat, told a press conference at Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) headquarters here that he blamed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim for the cancellation of the venues.
"This country is the responsibility of the Prime Minister. Nothing like this (constant cancellation of venues) could be done unless the Prime Minister has directed it.
"I am sure he is behind this to silence those who want to criticise his government.
"The 12-point proclamation has nothing to do with other races. The government is afraid of shadows. I am a very nice man.
"I was in Pejuang and we lost (GE15) completely - all 125 seats (contested). What is there to be afraid of except shadows?
"I do not know what the government is so afraid of that it does not allow Malays to gather. We are not violent people but law-abiding citizens.
"We wanted to state our stand against corruption and are offended that only the Opposition is now being investigated for corruption, when those in the government (are untouched) despite being named in international exposes such as the Panama Papers and Pandora Papers.
"A government which does not allow criticism is a dictatorship. It is the right of the people to criticise a government they elected.
"The Prime Minister once labelled me as a dictator when I was the fourth prime minister but then I resigned. Which dictator ever resigns?
"I was also accused of enriching my own children. If you have proof, then charge me," he said.
Dr Mahathir also read out and signed the 12-point proclamation, which listed the many ways Malays were allegedly being affected economically, socially and politically.
Also at the press conference were Malay Proclamation secretariat chair Datuk Marzuki Yahya and Putra president Datuk Ibrahim Ali.
Prior to this, the gathering was forced to be cancelled after three venues called off the booking of their respective halls.
The event was to have been a gathering of Malay groups on issues of the community's rights under siege.
On Friday (March 17), Anwar issued a stern warning against parties he said were using race and religion to promote strife.