Aliran Media Statement
Mahathir Insults the People's Intelligence

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's claim that the "the opposition is seeking the support of foreigners to help overthrow the government" is ludicrous. Malaysians may conclude that this inane idea is the product of an insane mind.

For an intelligent man to make absurd claims as this is rather unbecoming. It belittles and insults the intelligence of ordinary Malaysians.

It is rather unfortunate that some Barisan leaders are fond of making sweeping statements without substantiating their claims. Their modus operandi is to take a dirty brush and tar everybody without being responsible or accountable.

Thinking Malaysians will not take kindly to this kind of behaviour. They expect Mahathir to name the opposition parties consorting with foreigners to overthrow the government. They demand to know the identities of the foreigners involved in this
dangerous plot and other details such as dates, times and places when this conspiracy was hatched. If Mahathir is not able to provide evidence to support his claim of a diabolical plot, then he will stand accused of lying.

His claim that "the vice-president of a western nation came to the country to encourage opposition party supporters to riot and topple the government" must be dismissed as a figment of his imagination. If he was referring to Al Gore, the United States vice-president, Mahathir should answer a couple of questions: Was Gore in Malaysia on the invitation of the opposition parties or as a guest of Mahathir's government? Was Gore taking part in opposition party activities or was he attending a function organised by the Barisan government?

Mahathir's ploy to frighten Malaysians with the threat of a foreign-opposition plot does not fool us. His iron grip on power threatened, Mahathir diverts attention away from his poor record on real issues: the lack of low-cost housing, the plight of marginal communities (squatters, estate workers, orang asli), the lack of accountability in the privatisation process and the impending "corporatisation" or sell-out of our general hospitals.

Above all, his handling of the events surrounding the Anwar saga - the sacking, incarceration and beating up of his former deputy - has severely undermined Mahathir's credibility and public confidence in the independent institutions of government.

So, Mahathir, stop insulting the people's intelligence.

Aliran Executive Committee
2 July 1999