'Chinese will still support Pakatan Harapan even if I lead the coalition': Dr Mahathir
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (Sin Chew Daily/ANN) - Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad believes that the Chinese will still support Pakatan Harapan in the coming general election even if he is leading the coalition.
Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad believes the Chinese will still support Pakatan Harapan even if he is leading the opposition coalition. He can feel that Chinese is even friendlier to him now. He is grateful to have the Chinese support during 1999 General Election which helped ruling government Barisan Nasional to retained two third majority. He said the Chinese were grateful to him for pegging ringgit during financial crisis in 1998 which allowed them to pull through.
“I think the Chinese will support us. This is what I can feel. Of course we have conducted some survey. But when I meet Chinese, they are friendly. They are every friendlier to me now than when I was the Prime Minister.”Dr Mahathir, who is also the president of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, in an exclusive interview with Sin Chew Daily at the Putrajaya office, said he still could remember that Chinese votes saved him during the 1999 General Election that Barisan Nasional was able to continue ruling.
“The Chinese were scared of me once. They say I m a radical Malay. But later it was Chinese votes who saved me. Malays rejected me in the 1999 General Election because of Anwar Ibrahim’s `black eye`. I lost 300,000 of Malay votes. But Chinese gave me total support for me to retain two third majority.”
Dr Mahathir explained that Chinese was grateful to him for adopting measures to peg ringgit during financial crisis in 1998. This has lowered the impact on business to the minimum during the financial crisis. The Chinese still remember the incident until today.
He considered himself popular. From stepping down as Prime Minister until today, he can feel that Malays and Chinese are even friendlier to him.
“I was very popular when I led Umno. Someone challenged me in party election, I still managed to win. After stepping down, I discover they are friendlier to me even now. Many Malays in rural area greet me. Some Chinese even say thank you to me.”
He shared that he had just returned from Penang a day earlier before the interview. He met a group of Chinese who wanted to shake hand with him and took photograph with him while rushing to catch a flight. Many Chinese thanked him when they met him. One Chinese woman wept after thanking him.
“Sometimes I asked them why they thank me. The explained that I saved them during financial crisis. Many of them were at the verge of bankrupt. After I have pegged ringgit, they could continue with their business and make a fresh start.This was the reason why I held General Election in 1999. I was sure Chinese would support me as I resolved the financial crisis. Malaysia is the only country which has resolved the financial crisis. We did not follow International Monetary Fund or World Bank. We have our own solution. Now they acknowledged what we have done was correct.”