'I am a child of your 1987 Ops Lalang', Kasthuri reminds Mahathir

20 Mar 2023 01:09pm
(From left) Kasthuri Patto and Mahathir Mohamad
(From left) Kasthuri Patto and Mahathir Mohamad

SHAH ALAM - Former Batu Kawan MP Kasthuri Patto has slammed former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for his ironic remarks calling Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim 'dictator'.

In a series of Twitter posts, Kasthuri reminded Mahathir of his reign as prime minister where he used Operation Lalang or 'Ops Lalang' to detain anyone who went against him.

"Tun, I am a child of your 1987 'Operasi Lalang' which you bear full responsibility as home minister and prime minister," she wrote.

"You took my father away, and many other fathers and mothers were robbed from their families because they dissented against you and not Malaysia," she added.

'Operasi Lalang' was a major crackdown between Oct 27 and Nov 20, 1987 undertaken by the police under Internal Security Act (ISA) 1960 ostensibly to prevent the occurrence of racial riots in Malaysia.

The operation saw the arrest of 106 to 119 people—political activists, opposition politicians, intellectuals, students, artists, scientists and others, who were detained without trial under the ISA.

It was widely believed that the operation was designed to control Mahathir's political opponents through draconian laws.

Kasthuri recalled her father being taken away in 1988 to a detention camp on her sister's first day of school.

"It was an iron-fisted rule," she pointed out.

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Kasthuri then wrote that the people welcomed Mahathir as part of Pakatan Harapan (PH) in 2018 to take on a 60 year old Barisan Nasional (BN) hegemony which Mahathir created.

"Malaysians hoped for a statesman, a leader to steer this nation to greater heights but it seems you have never repented," she said labelling Mahathir as 'a national disappointment'.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had also called out the irony in Mahathir, labelling him as 'Mr ISA'.

“Mr ISA calling others a dictator,” Najib wrote on his Facebook page in reference to the use of the now-abolished ISA during Mahathir’s term as prime minister from 1981 to 2003.

Kasthuri and Najib were responding to Mahathir calling Anwar's leadership as a 'dictatorship' after the cancellation of a 'Malay Proclamation' event featuring Mahathir, which was scheduled on March 19.

Mahathir accused the government of silencing the right of Malays to gather and have their voices heard by giving the order to ensure that the event was not allowed.

"We have no evidence on who contacted the venue management that we booked with. However, I'm sure he (Anwar) is behind this setback, to silence government critics, based on his previous speeches," Mahathir claimed at a press conference after the Malay Proclamation event was cancelled at the last minute.

"I don't understand what the government is so afraid of so much as they refuse to allow us to gather (for the proclamation) at the location we've picked," Mahathir added.