Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has opened his salvo against the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for scrapping the RM1.1 billion Johore crooked half-bridge.
Mahathir yesterday accused Abdullah for compromising the sovereignty of Malaysia when the former Prime Minister said Malaysia had “lost its sovereignty because it could not even build a road and bridge on its own territory”. This is a very serious allegation against the present Prime Minister which is most unfair.
Mahathir has called for a referendum to be held to determine the views of the people regarding the crooked half bridge project.
Abdullah should accept the challenge thrown by Mahathir and conduct such a referendum to let the people of Malaysia decide whether they want such a crooked half bridge to be constructed unilaterally, with all its ramifications, implications and complications.
During his 22 years of premiership, DAP had made numerous calls for referenda to be held to ascertain the views of the people on important national issues, but they had invariably been rejected or ignored by Mahathir.
I am glad that Mahathir has come around to accept the DAP view that referendum should become part of the democratic tradition and culture of the country as an integral part of the process of participatory democracy in Malaysia.
There are many other issues which should be the subject of national referendum, such as:
Yesterday, he again lamented that his views could not get coverage as both the electronic and printed media are under “control and censorship” to allow them only to have the freedom to support the government.
This had been our complaint in the 22 years of Mahathir’s premiership as well as the 30 months of Abdullah administration. Now Mahathir has come around to accept the validity and veracity of our criticism of the lack of press freedom in the country.
He should have liberalized press control and censorship when he was the Prime Minister so that he would not become its victim after stepping down from the office.