Saturday, April 19, 2008

Q&A - Malaysiakini with Dato Seri

RK Anand | Apr 18, 08 12:00pm

While the mention of former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad's name saw MIC president S Samy Vellu become overwhelmed with sadness, humility and affection, queries regarding another former cabinet colleague, however, evoked emotions to the contrary.

In an exclusive interview with Malaysiakini at the MIC headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday, the veteran politician fields several questions on PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim.

Among others, the MIC president outlines what was the former deputy premier's "greatest mistake in his life."

What about talks that PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim may become the next prime minister?

Anwar Ibrahim nearly became prime minister (prior to his sacking in 1998). He was acting prime minister for two months when Mahathir was away, Mahathir trusted him so much.

There was a time Mahathir said that he (Anwar) would be the right leader to deal with the situations of the country ... in the rising religious fanaticism. He (Mahathir) said that.

And the love Mahathir placed on Anwar, he didn't return it to him. That's the greatest mistake. Anwar's greatest mistake in his life was to fight the boss. I have personally told him 'don't fight the boss, dismantle your army.' I have written it in my diary when I said that.

I know that he was fighting Dr Mahathir indirectly with his boys and all that. I told him 'for your good, don't fight the boss and dismantle your army'. And he said 'no, we cannot, it's already ...'

That's not the way in politics.

People are seeing him as a better option because he has made some grand promises.

I have read the history of many leaders in this world who have promised the world when they are not in power. But when they come to power, Oh, the way they change. History will reply.

On the invitation to MIC to join the (opposition pact) Pakatan Rakyat.

It is better that all the parties which are going to join the Pakatan to join the Barisan Nasional, except Anwar because he won't be accepted by Umno. Then we make a strong government with all the parties in.

As far as his call for MIC to join (Pakatan Rakyat), that will be the last thing that we will ever do. If ever we have to run away from the Barisan Nasional, we rather dissolve our party than leave our friends with whom we were for more than 50 years.

You had also mentioned (during a press conference earlier) that you have never seen an elections like this with people being threatened and so forth. Can you elaborate on this.

This elections, I can tell you, people were very frightened when they went to vote. You see, there were a lot of boys sent here and there.

In my constituency (Sungai Siput) about 1,000 boys came. They stood in front of the Methodist school and the Sin Chung school. These are two major voting centres which comes to about 5,000 t0 6,000 votes.

They were telling everybody 'shouldn't vote for Samy Vellu, vote for this, vote for that'. And then they were making noise, they blocked the road. It is all done in a very crude manner. And also, you cannot independently go and see where things are going on. They will be there. You go for election campaign, they will come to fight with you there.

One instance, I went to talk to the Lunas Chinese Association. About 1,000 people having a dinner, they called me to come and speak to them. This was three days before the elections.

When I went there, about 1,000 of the opposition boys joined together, they had knives, they have axe, they have stone, everything. They wanted to kill me that day. I should have gone there and get killed and become a martyr. But I didn't want to do that, I don't want to take a foolish option.

I asked the police, the police said 'we can take you there, we have got enough police to look after the situation'. But I said 'I know if I go there, they will try to jump on me, you will ...(retaliate), there will be a big problem that you will create with them. This will be reported in the paper tomorrow and it will create another loss to the Barisan Nasional. I don't want to do that, I better go back'. I came back to Ipoh without going to the dinner.

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