Dr M should be taken with ‘a pinch of salt’, Tawfik Ismail tells young Malaysians

Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Tawfik Ismail speaks during the launch of the book titled ‘Anatomy of an Electoral Tsunami’ in Kuala Lumpur September 5, 2018. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 5 — A former Umno MP today said he is experiencing “déjà vu” in the current political landscape and the banter between government and party leaders.

Referring to statements made by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Tawfik Ismail said the current back and forth were reminiscent to the days when Anwar was ousted from the government.

“Listening to what is said and what is denied, it’s almost like listening to what Anwar and Mahathir said many, many years ago.

“I support you, you support me, and next day you know one is killed,” he said, referring to Anwar’s sacking by Dr Mahathir in 1998.

The former Simpang Renggam MP also questioned how Dr Mahathir accepted the consensus by the Pakatan Harapan government to name Anwar as the prime minister-in-waiting.

“The young people need to realise that he’s probably got a few more years left,” he said at the launch of the book, Anatomy of an Electoral Tsunami, at the Royal Selangor Club in Bukit Kiara this morning.

“But he’s (Dr Mahathir’s) successor now named by the Pakatan council as Anwar, can he live with it - literally, can he live with it?,” Tawfik said.

He said succession planning was not one Dr Mahathir’s forte, adding the younger generation should take what Dr Mahathir says with a pinch of salt.

“He has left a lot in the past which the young have not been able to recall, so they need to look back in the history of what he did.

“A lot of the problems that became an issue in 2018 were all carryovers from his time,” claimed Tawfik.

Tawfik added those hand picked by Dr Mahathir to succeed him as prime minister as his successors previously had not lived up to his expectations.

“Succession planning is not Mahathir’s greatest trade because everyone he named as a successor failed or got kicked out.

“Musa, Ghafar, Anwar, and then Pak Lah, and then Najib. Now he’s trying to come back, but he’s got no friends left; he’s 93, all his friends have died,” said Tawfik.

He was referring to Tun Musa Hitam who was deputy prime minister from 1981 to 1986; Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba, the deputy prime minister from 1986 to 1993, and Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was prime minister for a brief period from 2003 to 2009.

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