The Umno grassroots movement has given Dr Mahathir Mohamad a week to apologise for his remarks concerning Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and his late father Abdul Razak Hussein during a speech in Sarawak over the weekend.
Failing which, the movement’s chairperson Zulkarnain Mahdar (photo) said, a police report would be lodged against the former prime minister on grounds of slander and incitement.
The movement was responding to Mahathir blaming Najib and his father, who was the second prime minister, for the erosion of rights in Sarawak.
Challenging Mahathir to back his claim with evidence, Zulkarnain pointed out that Najib was the only prime minister who suggested the formation of a special committee to study the rights of the people of Sabah and Sarawak based on the Malaysia Agreement of 1963.
“Najib also provided opportunities to Sabahans and Sarawakians to be senior federal ministers, involving 11 full ministers and nine deputy ministers, which never happened when Mahathir was prime minister,” he said in a statement today.
As for blaming Abdul Razak for the Petroleum Development Act (PDA) 1974, Zulkarnain reminded Mahathir that he was a member of the cabinet at the time.
“It must be remembered that the PDA received the blessings of the cabinet and Mahathir was a cabinet member at the time when the legislation was passed. Seven years later, Mahathir became prime minister.
“If it is true the PDA was a mistake and sin committed by Abdul Razak, then why didn’t Mahathir repeal the Act during his 22 years as prime minister?” he asked.
Zulkarnain also pointed out that Mahathir also introduced the Cabotage policy for Sabah and Sarawak when he was deputy prime minister as well as minister of trade and industry.
“Due to this policy introduced by Mahathir in the 1980s, all goods purchased from abroad had to go through Port Klang first before being shipped to Sabah and Sarawak.
“This is the main contributor to the prices of goods in Sabah and Sarawak being higher compared to the peninsula, due to the doubling in transportation costs,” he said.
Zulkarnain said Najib, on the other hand, abolished the Cabotage policy on May 7 this year with the hope that it would reduce the prices of goods.
“This does not include Najib approving the construction of the Pan Borneo project which connects Sabah and Sarawak, which costs close to RM29 billion,” he added.
Zulkarnain claimed that although Mahathir attempted to mislead the people of Sarawak and Sabah with his allegations, he believes that the people would be able to evaluate the contributions of the former prime minister and Najib to their respective states.
During his speech in Kuching, Mahathir said he is often accused of passing the PDA.
“I had been accused. (But) I was not the prime minister then. The prime minister who passed the PDA was Abdul Razak, Najib Razak’s father,” he said.
The PDA vested all exploration and exploitation of petroleum – onshore or offshore – to Petronas even though the rights to mining had been given to the state under the Malaysia Agreement 1963.
Mahathir also claimed that the erosion of Sarawak’s rights continued under Najib in the form of the Territorial Sea Act 2012.
“When was the law made? It was done in 2012. The prime minister in 2012 was Najib,” he said.
The Territorial Sea Act 2012 clearly defines the breadth of the territorial sea of Malaysia as being 12 nautical miles from the baseline, in line with international law.