MALAYSIAN students abroad were warned not to meet opposition leaders or risk having their scholarships pulled back, Dr Mahathir Mohamad said in his blogtoday.
The former prime minister and Parti Bersatu Pribumi Malaysia (Bersatu) chairman shared his recent experience in London while celebrating Hari Raya with Malaysian students.
“Although the gathering was jovial, the students did not ask me about Malaysia, especially regarding politics.
“I was informed later that they were warned by our government (I was not told by whom) for being at the same place as me.
“In fact, I have never met the students during other times. They fear their scholarships will be pulled back,” Dr Mahathir said.
He pointed out that previously, students were free to meet and interact with opposition leaders, but were now restricted from doing so.
“Students were allowed to attend talks organised by opposition parties and even form opposition clubs.
“However, they are no longer able to do so, especially with my presence,” he added.
This, he said, was because Prime Minister Najib Razak feared his presence would influence the students.
“Malaysians, both students and non-students abroad, hate Najib for obvious reasons.
“Hari Raya is a special day. Muslims should pray, ask for forgiveness and forgive one another on this day.
“Maybe Najib does not know this,” he added.
Dr Mahathir has been Najib’s fiercest critic, accusing the prime minister of “stealing” from Malaysia through state investor 1 Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The US Department of Justice is pursuing three forfeiture suits to seize property, artwork and financial assets allegedly bought with stolen 1MDB money.
The latest suit filed on June 15 alleged that US$540 million (RM2.31 billion) was used to buy among other things, a US$165 million yacht and a US$27.3 million necklace for “the wife of Malaysian Official No 1” (MO1).
Minister Abdul Rahman Dahlan had previously confirmed that MO1 is Najib. The prime minister, however, has denied any wrongdoing.
Attorney-General Mohamed Apandi Ali had also cleared Najib of any wrongdoing following investigations here.
But the 92-year-old Dr Mahathir has been having regular ceramah with Malaysians nationwide, urging voters to reject the “corrupt Najib administration” in GE14.