BY RAHMAH GHAZALI
PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has unleashed a scathing attack against Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, saying that the Prime Minister broke his promise to build a crooked bridge between Johor Baru and Singapore.
In a four-part interview uploaded on a blog, Din Turtle, two days after Najib's television interview, Dr Mahathir responded that the Prime Minister had supported the project when he took over office from Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
"He was my hope after Pak Lah (Abdullah) resigned. He said he would build the bridge when he became the prime minister even if Singapore opposes to it. But he didn't do," claimed the former premier.
Dr Mahathir said he was unhappy when Najib broke his promise and appeared to "kowtow" to Singapore for not proceeding with the project.
"If Singapore does not agree to this, it is not my fault. It is our sovereign right, it is in our own territorial area, territorial waters. Half of that Causeway belongs to us. I'm not touching Singapore's side.
"He (Najib) said he made an agreement with Singapore, where is our independence? Are we part of Singapore?" questioned Dr Mahathir.
In a special interview with TV3 on Thursday, Najib said Dr Mahathir's attacks against him could have been triggered due to their disagreement on the crooked bridge and the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) cash handouts.
On BR1M, Dr Mahathir insisted that "feeding people with free money" was not an answer, but creating jobs and providing education to the people was what the country needs.
"We should create jobs for the people, give them education, train them so that they can live and make money for themselves. You can give welfare, but only to the people who are in need of welfare," he said.
On the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) controversy, Dr Mahathir said it was better for Najib to resign now to prevent Barisan Nasional from losing in the next general election as the investigations to the company could take years to complete.
"It has to be now because we still have two years to recover. If he doesn't go now, the Public Accounts Committee and others will be investigating the matter for the next two or three years and come GE, if he is still there, we will lose.
"I think there will be a lot of trouble for everyone. And those who cover up, they will have to pay the price," he said, adding that there should be ‘two or three’ independent commissions to look into the matter.
"We need ‘neutral’ people to do a thorough investigation as to where the money went. Who was handling the money? Who is this Jho Low? Suddenly he became very important. He is not a civil servant, suddenly he has such power," said Dr Mahathir.
On former police commando Sirul Azhar Umar, who was convicted of the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu, Dr Mahathir said that every person who was sentenced to death has the privilege to appeal to the King or to the Sultan.
"I was formerly a prime minister, you know. My duty is to advise the King (on whether the appeal should be granted or not)," he said.
Dr Mahathir, who met Sirul's mother recently, insisted that the issue was not about politics.
He said that Sirul as a policeman would not kill unless he was attacked or instructed by someone.