S'poreans tired of having same govt & party too, cheeky Mahathir tells Financial Times

That is one of the effects of the Malaysian election.

Belmont Lay | May 30, 2018, 12:53 AM

Fourth and seventh prime minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, is going back to top form and being cheeky again.

Pokes Singapore

Despite being 92 years old and going on to 93 in about a month's time, Mahathir told the Financial Times on May 29 that the opposition ousting the incumbent in the recent May 9 Malaysia election can inspire Singaporeans.

This was what FT wrote:

Mr Mahathir, who has always enjoyed needling neighbouring Singapore and its long-ruling People’s Action party, said the electoral earthquake in Malaysia would reverberate across the narrow Straits of Johor.

“I think the people of Singapore, like the people in Malaysia, must be tired of having the same government, the same party since independence,” he said.

Why Mahathir poked Singapore

The context of Mahathir ribbing Singapore's ruling government was explained as one possible effect of the Malaysia election spilling over into the rest of the region, as domestically, this recent poll has already helped to turn the prime minister's image around.

Detractors were wont to label Mahathir as a "hardliner" and "authoritarian" before the election, but many are eating their words as they are now witnessing him ushering in democratic ways of governance never before seen in Malaysia's history.

Mahathir said: “When I came back into politics, I found that the labels that I got tend to cause people to believe that I was really like that and therefore they should reject me.”

“Now, if they say anything, I’m already prime minister. The most they can do is to throw me out.”

What rest of the interview covered

The rest of the interview mentioned how Mahathir is not going to ingratiate himself with Donald Trump, like how his predecessor Najib Razak used to.

“I don’t know how to work with a person who changes his mind overnight”, Mahathir said, referring to Trump.

And the article hinted that Mahathir is unlikely to push back against a surging Beijing.

“The powerful will take what they will, the weak will concede what they have, what they must,” he said.

And in Mahathir's view, it is prime minister-in-waiting, Anwar Ibrahim, who has changed for the better, and not Mahathir himself.


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