THE lights went out and the food ran out, too, but that did not deter the almost 20,000-strong crowd in Malacca yesterday from staying on to hear Dr Mahathir Mohamad tear into the Najib administration for their recent attacks against him, accusing them of trying to buy time before the next general election.

The Bersatu chairman hit out at his Umno critics for accusing him of being immoral and making U-turns in his relationship with Anwar Ibrahim, saying these were desperate attempts by Prime Minister Najib Razak to draw attention away from his wrongdoing.

Dr Mahathir told the crowd at the Bersatu Hari Raya open house in Tanjung Kling, Malacca, that the attacks against him had intensified in recent days as the Najib administration was afraid that a opposition coalition would be a a big threat to Barisan Nasional in the 14th general election. (Tanjung Kling is in the Barisan Nasional-held seat of Tangga Batu.)

“I am not working with Anwar Ibrahim because of my personal agenda. I am not working with him because I am scared. I am working with him because we have the same goal, which is to bring down the Najib regime,” he said.

“I am not a hypocrite. I did not make U-turns, it is Najib who is doing U-turns.”

Over the weekend, senior ministers have accused Dr Mahathir of being immoral and making U-turns after he told a British newspaper that he will support Anwar’s release from prison and would support him to become prime minister.

In his speech yesterday, Dr Mahathir also challenged Najib to continue investigating him for the forex loses almost 30 years ago.

“Come, bring your Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) investigations or any investigations on me, if I am wrong I will be jailed.

“Let the RCI come and investigate me for supposedly misusing my power when I was prime minister and misusing public funds.

“Actually this thing has already been investigated 30 years ago and debated in the Parliament, and all have had the opinion that I have done nothing wrong,” he said.

Halfway through last night’s event at Shah’s Beach Resort, which was also held to celebrate Dr Mahathir’s 92nd birthday, there was an electricity outage lasting about 15 minutes when Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin was speaking and the food ran out. But the crowd stayed on and cheered him on with shouts of “Hidup Tun”.

“Even though there are threats to bring a certain person in, with certain bodies set up supposedly to investigate the previous wrongdoing of a previous leader, this is all simply because they are afraid,” Dr Mahathir said.

“They are scared we are allying with the enemy or supposedly that I’m suddenly in good terms with Anwar Ibrahim because I am afraid to be caught.”

Dr Mahathir said GE14 was supposed to be held soon, but Najib was scared.

“He is waiting for the last minute, Even to a point if it is possible not to hold an election. But we will still continue to work to bring him down based on the law.

“We must hold on to the law. We will not break the law like what Najib did and is currently in fear.

“He is afraid when we unite together to oppose him in the next general election.”

Muhyiddin said it was important to win the general election to convince the people that the opposition coalition could work together.

“We have to show that we can work together, regardless if we are from DAP, Amanah or PKR,” he said, adding that the opposition’s fight was to ensure that there was a better future for the younger generation in terms of economy and education, regardless of race.

Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, Kluang MP and DAP political education director Liew Chin Tong, PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chiang or Tian Chua and Malacca PAS commissioner Kamaruddin Sidek also attended the event last night.