“You are responsible for what you have done and you need to atone for it somehow.”
KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition politicians who readily tout Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be prime minister again despite his spotty human rights record are akin to “walkiing dead democrats,” Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) adviser Kua Kia Soong said today.
Kua who was among over 106 people detained without trial under the controversial Ops Lalang 30 years ago said the Opposition members must take into account the 91-year-old’s unapologetic and remorseless stance before proposing Dr Mahathir to be the government leader once more.
“To me, democrats who want a former autocrat — some call dictator, while some say autocrat — to be a prime minister again at the age of 90, it’s not because of his age, but because of his rapport.
“We certainly want Dr Mahathir to apologise or to show remorse, and actually for a former prime minister of so many years, I would expect a detailed analysis by him, of the events and the circumstances that led to the arrest and detention of more than a 106 people including myself.
“You are responsible for what you have done and you need to atone for it somehow. The atonement is very simple. We are asking for an apology, show remorse and show a detailed analysis of what went before,” Kua said at the launch of Suaram’s 2016 human rights report on Malaysia.
He said it is not a matter of forgiving and moving on, but holding Dr Mahathir responsible for his actions on the judiciary for allegedly creating a “racial fracas.”
“I don’t think the judiciary has really recovered since then, and this is what he has to atone for.
“I hope as a born-again democrat, he will apologise. And democrats who say that they can allow all these to go on without an apology, and since he is against Najib, I think these are not democrats, these are walking dead democrats,” Kua added.
Three years ago, Dr Mahathir who was prime minister from 1981 to 2003 owned up to 1987 security crackdown against Opposition politicians, scientists, artists, students and others for voicing dissent against the government.
Though he accepted blame for Ops Lalang, he also distanced his personal role in the government dragnet, saying others had made certain decisions.
Ops Lalang took place starting in 1987 following Chinese discontent over alleged interference in vernacular schools, which culminated in a 2,000-strong public demonstration involving both the Opposition DAP and ruling MCA parties.
Dr Mahathir is now the chairman of an Umno splinter called Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia that is allowed with Opposition parties DAP, PKR and Parti Amanah Negara to challenge the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at the next general elections that must be held by next year.
Source: The Malay Mail Online