Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad vows to stay on, warns of limits to democracy I FT

Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad vows to stay on, warns of limits to democracy I FT


I’m here in Bangkok on the
sidelines of the Asean Summit. And I’ve just finished speaking
to Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s prime minister. We talked about his
change in stance on China, as well as the succession
saga in Malaysia. But we started off talking about
Jho Low, the fugitive financier who allegedly is at the heart
of the multi-billion dollar embezzlement scandal
involving 1MDB. The US Department of Justice
has reached a settlement with Jho Low. Did this deal come
as a surprise to you? Well, the amount is much bigger. If he had said the full amount
we would be very happy indeed. But this is really
a part of the money that was made use by Jho Low
to buy properties, et cetera. So we are still
going after the rest of the money that has been
made use of by Jho Low. In light of this
settlement, is Malaysia also negotiating with him directly? No, we have no contact with him. We don’t even know where he is. Malaysia has said
repeatedly that it would like Goldman
Sachs, which has arranged 1MDB bonds, the proceeds
of which allegedly were used to then
obviously be part of the embezzlement of 1MDB. And Malaysia has always said
that Goldman should return $7.5bn. Is that a realistic
sum in your view? The amount is not beyond
what their role is worth. Goldman Sachs has
offered less than $2bn. Less than $2bn. So we are not satisfied
with that amount. Do you have a sum in
mind of an alternative? No, I’m not supposed
to say that. The DoJ alleges that also
other international banks were apparently involved
in helping, unknowingly. Are there concrete plans
of going after these banks as well? Where we can prove
that it is our money, we would make requests for the
banks to freeze the account. Can you give us some names? I think the Deutsche Bank
was mentioned, and UBS. You have said in the past
that freedom is not absolute. And now we are seeing
the rise of populism in many western countries. Is this a sign that western
democracies are doomed? Western democracy, I think,
you have taken things too far. There must be limits and you
must recognise the limit. And accept that as part
of the democratic process. There seems to be a
retreat from the US under the current Trump
administration from the region. What does this mean to you
as a southeast Asian country, also in light of the
potential of China’s rise and China filling this gap? For Malaysia, the current
trade war between China and US has resulted in lots of people
who invested in China wanting to move away from China. And Malaysia is one
of the destinations. In terms of your
relationship with Beijing, it seems like there’s
been quite a reversal since the very beginning of your
latest term as prime minister. It seems to be quite a 180. Why did this occur? Well, I was reminding
not only China, but other countries
that there is such a thing as new colonialism. We should avoid this idea
that you can colonise through economic power. So that was what I was
saying, and it’s not directed at China alone. In the China context of
things, when you first came back to power you
mentioned that, for example, some of the
infrastructure projects symbolised unequal treaties
between China and Malaysia. And obviously if
one does believe in the national security threats
that the US, for instance, outlined with Huawei, I
mean, are those two risks not a potential form of colonialism? We are not worried
about the Chinese. We have been very
friendly with the Chinese, even during the first
time I was prime minister. But the previous government
entered into agreements to consult this railway
line, which is not really necessity at the moment. In the future, maybe. But the cost was horrendous. It comes to about 60bn
Malaysian ringgit. We cannot afford that. So, if possible we
thought it was simply just dropping the project. But we found that we are
obliged under contract that if we unilaterally
drop a project we have to pay compensation. And the composition
amount is huge. Speaking of your
relationship with them, I wanted to talk to you a
little bit about Khazanah Nasional, the sovereign wealth
fund of which you are chairman. Now earlier this year
there was the announcement that the founder of
Chinese tech firm SenseTime and a senior
executive of Tencent joined the Khazanah board. Why did Malaysia decide
to include these two Chinese executives? Well, these people are
obviously very smart. They have been able to
manage their companies well and we thought
that the injection of their ideas into Khazanah
would be very useful, especially as we
had to deal a lot with Chinese foreign investment. Would it also
potentially help Malaysia to sell the around
$33bn worth of assets that Khazanah has potentially
to Chinese investors? We have no plans to sell
to foreign companies. As far as possible, we would
like to sell to the locals. But, of course, if we
need the money and we need the money to repay
loans and all that. We will consider the necessity
for disposing of certain assets to foreigners. What do you think about
some of the Asian leaders, such as Indonesian President
Joko Widodo or Pakistani leader Imran Khan, in terms of their
relatively weak responses and stances versus how China
is dealing with and treating Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang and
what is your stance on that? Well, our people
have been there. They are – perhaps they were
not shown the whole thing, but any – what they saw did not
show that the Chinese were very badly ill-treating
treating the Uighurs. But we are aware of the Uighurs’
desire not to be part of China. Turkey, which is a strong
partner for Malaysia in terms of the economy and defence,
has come out and given a stance with regards to the Chinese
treatment of Uighurs saying that it is a shame on humanity. And you, yourself, have spoken
up in defence of Muslims across the world. So do you have anything
more to say about what is happening in Xinjiang? We would like to know more
about what’s happening before we make our stand. But with Turkey, of course,
these are Turkic people – the Uighurs are Turks. But also Muslims. Yes, they are Muslims, but
everywhere else Muslims are oppressed. In Europe, in America. There are oppressed. This is something that is
almost the norm at this moment. The United Nations has
said and confirmed that… they claim that about
1m Uighurs are now kept in what they have
described as internment camps. This, obviously, is an
extremely problematic situation and one that has been well
documented also by the UN. So do you think that this is
enough information for you to take a stance as, obviously,
a leader of a Muslim majority nation in the region? There are so many
problems with Muslims. Why, the Rohingyas
are being expelled from their own country. This is a much bigger
problem than the Uighurs. What’s further evidence
would you need, apart from an institution
like the UN confirming that this is happening, in
order for Malaysia to stand up against this. Well, if we see massive
emigration of the Uighurs there because of the ill-treatment,
as happens in Myanmar, then, I think, the world must
take notice and I… we’ll join the
world in protesting. Another very topical
and important issue concerning Malaysia
and Malaysian politics, obviously, the
issue of succession. Will you step down in 2020
as originally planned? No, there was no actual
date or time mentioned. But the actual time I will be
there depends on the problems that we face. I’ve had some experience
resolving financial problems, so they want me to solve their
problem before I sit down. At the beginning of
this latest term, you mentioned that Anwar
Ibrahim would be your successor. Is that still the case? Will he succeed you? Yes, it is. It is a promise that I made. What do you respond
to the theory that there is a potential that
you might not step down at all. I’ve made many mistakes in
appointing my successors, so I don’t mean too make
another mistake this time. So do you think
that at the moment Mahathir Mohamad remains
maybe the only person that is able to run Malaysia right now? At the moment, maybe.

17 Comments on "Malaysia’s Mahathir Mohamad vows to stay on, warns of limits to democracy I FT"


  1. Is China talking about California separation from USA ? No . So why US is nosing in internal affairs of other countries and regions, that are so far away ?! It’s ugly politics, and not only world, but US citizens are also fad up with this!

    Reply

  2. With one foot in the grave, this power hungry Mahathir will impose his divisive policies on the people.

    Reply

  3. I trust Mahathir Mohammad. He sent his people to Xianjing to assess the Uyghurs' situation.
    2 Findings: 1) The Uyghurs are not mistreated by the CCP and 2) It appears that they opt for self determination.
    I don't trust the Western Media or the UN and foreign NGOs who appear to be against China & for Muslims.
    Greetings from East Africa.

    Reply

  4. Her questions were wisely choosen to provoke mahathir muh. to attack china but fortunately he didn’t fell into that trap.

    Reply

  5. Damn this is so fake news. He was the one responsible polarizing ethnicity among the people. Don't u know majority of Malaysian despised this old MF senile Cauvinist prime minister?

    Reply

  6. What a righteous and humane leader defined (best balance: Aside the age/ health factors he has ignored for others life betterment. What he has or currently dealing with best described as a process of life journey which all or at least MOST (even with all the advantages in capasities, capabilities gathered) will ended up all thoughts in silence and worst dissapeared as far as none will have them recognized…

    A strenght of doing anything via a clear

    VMPTP's
    [Vision 《》 Ultimate Mission(s) 《》 Best balance of life SOP's -Processes, Tools, Practices in monitoring]

    Less or zero complaint is what making a believe of peacefull nation closed to happened. Advised which made the better proposed solution are needed most actually.

    Stop dogmatism.

    F.A.P.O.S.I
    Facts. Assumptions. Perceptions.suggestions. instructions. Tht not helping in conveying what all us supposed to..

    Attitude of gratitude

    Peace man
    MU'RUAH
    [Billah. Fillah. Lillah]

    Reply

  7. FAKE BBC CNN ABC CBC KLM XYZ OPR RST News….. DON'T BELIEVE WESTERN CONTROLLED MEDIA
    BIASED WESTERN RACIST MEDIA. We all need to stop eating Western Fast Garbage Food it will last 10 years and the foods do not rot. So fake food like their FAKE NEWS. Their Genetic Modified Food will affect your grandson health. Watch out !! Also watch as Snowden Incident .. spied on German Prime Minister, UK , France PM, etc … no such thing as 100% free Democracy.. Is a lie. Western use democracy as a weapon to invade other countries. Look at Syria, Iraq found no mass weapon, Libya destroyed because they want to dump US dollar switch to other currency. Just dump the US dollar, stop Easting Garbage Fast Food, less revenue for the Hitler Invader… to build bomb to kill , murder, create refugee, topple other countries' government. stop western dictatorship to create suffering. In the past, Western barbarian colonized and stole wealth of the weak countries, Africa, South American ( Gold Inca gone ), Somalia, Sudan, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, China, Philipine, etc. No more pizza, no more burger, no more sausage, ….

    Reply

  8. California Rodney King shot dead by white police. Hitler country a racist country ??!!
    Many blacks shot dead by white polices incident in that hemmm !!??
    Gun everywhere in school shooting.. a violence society and country. Should UN sanction this MF country, the Hitler government allows gun support gun killing their own citizen. That dirty dictatorship do not control gun. The world just watch that government slaughter its citizen. Gun shooting everywhere everyday. No safe. Stay away.

    Reply

  9. You can condemn a regional superpower but nothing will change since a small country's voice is too weak for China to take notice and take corrective action.

    Reply

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