PUTRAJAYA (May 9): Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called for politicians to stop using race and religious issues for their political interest, as Malaysia celebrates the first anniversary of its first-ever change in federal government today.
Dr Mahathir — who has led both sides of Malaysia's political spectrum — also rejected critics' claim that the Pakatan Harapan government sidelines issues relating to the Islamic and Malay community, and that it wants to abolish the country's monarchy system.
In his special "One-Year Malaysia Baharu" speech, Dr Mahathir also took a dig at opposition parties PAS and Umno — which have joined hands after Umno was stripped of federal power in the 14th General Election (GE14) exactly a year ago.
"What is pressing is the creation of a movement that is definitely masterminded by those who have lost the election and are fearful of having to face the legal processes which have started to shackle them," said Dr Mahathir.
"For this reason, they join hands and the value they hold is supposedly to defend the royal institution, the position of the Malays and the sovereignty of the Islamic religion.
"It is perplexing how PAS and Umno can join hands and cooperate," Dr Mahathir said, pointing to how in the years prior to GE14, Malay PAS supporters had refused to support Umno candidates even in constituencies where PAS was not competing.
"They would rather vote DAP, PKR, and any other parties, Muslim-led or not, as long as it was not Umno," said Dr Mahathir.
"Umno was rejected by the people in GE14 because it was led by a kleptocrat and responsible for allowing massive thefts in Malay and Islamic institutions such as Tabung Haji, Felda and Mara.
"Today, PAS calls for its supporters to come together with Umno to defend Malays and Islam.
"Where were they when Umno leaders stole the nation's assets through 1MDB, Tabung Haji and Felda as well as other government institutions such as KWAP (Retirement Fund Inc) and EPF (Employees Provident Fund)?" asked Dr Mahathir.
"That is why this supposed struggle to defend Malays and Islam is none other than defending the nation's robbers, who are hoping that if this government falls, the charges they face will be dropped and they do not have to be responsible for the damages they have done," Dr Mahathir said.
"Cukup-cukuplah (enough of) using the issues of race and religion for political interest," he added.