(April 16): Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he was given the cold shoulder for six months after questioning Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on the delay of the "crooked bridge" project in the Johor Strait, the former prime minister told web portal Perak Today.
In the exclusive interview, Dr Mahathir said the falling out with Najib happened after the two discussed the matter over dinner.
Dr Mahathir said Najib had told him of an agreement with Singapore regarding the Johor Causeway and said Malaysia could not touch the causeway unless Singapore agreed to it.
"(So I said) 'show me the agreement' (but) there was no such agreement," Dr Mahathir said.
"For six months he didn't talk to me."
Najib did not speak to him until he met with "Adnan Pahang", Dr Mahathir told Perak Today, possibly referring to Pahang Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob.
After that, Najib decided to talk to him again, he said in a video interview also posted on the website.
Dr Mahathir said he then met Najib again and was "very happy" to do so.
"We discussed. But none of my suggestions were accepted. And he continues to do the things which are (sic) wrong. The administration of this country… it is not a rich country. We have to be very careful," he said.
Dr Mahathir said he did not want to "kowtow" to Singapore about a matter that was Malaysia's sovereign right.
He said the bridge could still have been built as it would only stand on Malaysia's side of the Johor Strait.
"It's our sovereign right. It is in our territorial area, our territorial waters. Half the causeway belongs to us, I'm not touching Singapore's side at all.
"So when I find that somebody 'kowtows' to Singapore (and) wants to ask for Singapore's agreement to do something in our country, where is our sovereignty? Where is our independence?" he told Perak Today.
Dr Mahathir questioned if Malaysia was independent or a colony of Singapore, if it had to keep asking for the republic's agreement for projects to be carried out, including the construction of a high-speed railway.
"Maybe I am a little bit more proud. I have my national pride and I don't want to bow down to anyone," he said.
The "crooked bridge", so called because of its curved design, was Dr Mahathir's idea for another link between Johor Baru and Singapore and was first proposed while he was prime minister.
Najib, in a pre-recorded television interview aired by TV3 on April 9 had said Dr Mahathir was probably angry at him for not continuing with the project when he became prime minister.
But Dr Mahathir responded in a video interview with bloggers that he was not upset with Najib because of the bridge, but that the latter had broken his promise to build it, and also about other issues linked to the latter that have not been answered.
These included controversies surrounding the government-owned strategic development fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd, and the murder of Mongolian woman Altantuya Shaariibuu. – The Malaysian Insider