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Dr Mahathir: "Blame it on the police"

Publish date: Wed, 22 Mar 2023, 10:46 PM

KUALA LUMPUR: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who was dubbed Mr ISA (Internal Security Act) by his arch nemesis Datuk Seri Najib Razak, has washed his hands off blame for using the draconian act during his tenure as prime minister.

Taking to a Facebook posting, the 97-year old said although Ops Lalang happened when he was prime minister, it was not him who ordered it.

He said former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tun Haniff Omar had already commented previously that the decision to arrest a number of politicians and others during the crackdown was made by the police.

Dr Mahathir said a prime miniser has to listen to the police as the force is responsible for the security of the nation.

"Their opinions and advice cannot be simply brushed aside," he said in the posting which has garnered a mixed response based on the comments.

The nonagenarian said Pakatan Harapan had always blamed him for ops Lalang but embraced him when it served their objectives.

"They gladly accepted me as a colleague and also as the candidate to be their Prime Minister.

Last week, Najib hitting out at Dr Mahathir for accusing prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's government of being a cruel dictatorship.

Najib said it was ironic that a dictator was calling others by that label.

Prior to this, Dr Mahathir has also remained unapologetic over his role in the detention of 106 people in Ops Lalang - a major crackdown 30 years ago, saying that he would repeat his actions if similar circumstances arose today.

Ops Lalang began on Oct 27, 1987, after 19 people were arrested. Within a month, 106 people, including opposition and Barisan Nasional (BN) politicians, academics, social activists and non-governmental organisation leaders, were detained under ISA.

Forty people were detained for two years but most were released within 60 days.

Three newspapers - The Star, Sin Chew Daily and the now-defunct Watan - were also suspended.

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