Mahathir fears own tactics will be used to suppress opposition

His administration was regularly accused of authoritarianism, while Dr Mahathir himself was called all manner of epithets, ranging from “Mahafiraun” (Grand Pharaoh) to dictator

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today claimed the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government will employ the same measures from his time as prime minister to suppress the local Opposition.

The former prime minister wrote on his blog today to predict that Opposition leaders and activists would be detained while public demonstrations would be prohibited.

“There are already signs of a build-up of the case for arresting and detaining Opposition leaders. The arrest of the Opposition leaders will leave the parties in disarray.

“Of course it would anger the people but many may be intimidated and become too frightened to vote for the Opposition,” he wrote.

He further claimed that such a culture of fear would allow BN to escape with election offences such as bribery as well as using the Election Commission to deceive voters.

“The election workers and officials may misdirect the voters, and the voting would be manipulated. Many will not be able to vote at all. Postal votes would be hijacked and moved to increase the votes in the constituencies of the important BN candidates,” Dr Mahathir alleged.

He went on to claim that an emergency may also be declared to suspend elections and civil rights that are enshrined in the Federal Constitution.

Dr Mahathir was the country’s longest-serving prime minister, and ruled over Malaysia from 1981 to 2003 as its fourth prime minister.

His administration was regularly accused of authoritarianism, while Dr Mahathir himself was called all manner of epithets, ranging from “Mahafiraun” (Grand Pharaoh) to dictator.

Arguably the country’s most infamous security crackdown, Ops Lalang took place under Dr Mahathir, when 106 opposition leaders and activists were arrested, ostensibly to prevent a racial riot from taking place.

Four newspapers were also suspended as part of the crackdown, with one — Watan — closing permanently as a result.

Project IC, the covert undertaking to allegedly offer foreigners citizenship in return for electoral support, was also from his time as prime minister. A Royal Commission of Inquiry later determined that the project likely existed.

Under Dr Mahathir, the Internal Security Act (ISA) came to be known as the “white terror” due to the ease with which it was applied to most forms of dissent. The law was abolished in 2012 by the current administration.

Malaysia must conduct its next general election no later than August 2018.

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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