Mahathir: I did not use Malays, they used me
PETALING JAYA: Responding to allegations that he made use of Malays and Umno for his personal gain, Dr Mahathir Mohamad has countered by saying that in fact, it was the party that elected him and the Malays who had used him.
He was reported to have claimed that he did not personally benefit from being prime minister and Umno (United Malays National Organisation) president for 22 years.
"Umno has chosen me (to be its leader), not the other way around. I was an ordinary member of Umno, not from the elite," the former prime minister and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) chairman said in an interview with The Malaysian Insight on Thursday.
"If I have used Umno, what are the bad things that I have done? The truth is, it is the Malays who have used me," he said.
Dr Mahathir's response comes after Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi accused him of forwarding the Malay agenda in order to make use of the Malays and Umno.
Dr Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, had taken a dig at Dr Mahathir's alleged Indian heritage, and said that Dr Mahathir's original name was Mahathir a/l Iskandar Kutty.
The a/l means "son of", an attribute in Indian names that features on Malaysian identification cards.
On the incessant attacks he received after the formation of his party, and even before, Dr Mahathir said that the criticisms do not affect him and that it was part and parcel of politics.
"There are people who hate me and they will continue to hate me. But I believe the majority of people do not," he said. - THE STAR