GEORGE TOWN – Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng has described the removal of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s government-issued police bodyguards as un-Malaysian and the beginning of “a sad state of affairs” in the country.

The DAP secretary-general said a statesman like Mahathir ought to be treated with dignity, for his leadership which spanned more than two decades, not because of his current political alliances.

“Every leader must be given due recognition and treated with dignity, regardless of his political affiliation.

“Good or bad, you cannot wipe out history. You cannot strip him of his 22 years in service. This is the sad state of democracy in our country.

“What has happened is not Malaysian at all. This is not the Malaysian way to treat a senior leader like him,” Lim told FMT.

At the behest of the government, Mahathir, like all past prime ministers is entitled to a security detail and host of other benefits.

Mahathir, who is PPBM chairman, took to Facebook yesterday claiming the elite police commandos, known as UTK, were withdrawn by the government.

He also said that Kak Fauziah, a longtime domestic worker at his office, had her contract revoked a year ago.

Last year, former inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar admitted he had personally ordered for the withdrawal of police outriders provided for Mahathir.

Khalid had said “it did not make sense” if the former prime minister used outriders to attend illegal gatherings or events which are against the government.

Meanwhile, Lim said the Penang government was professional and courteous to all statesmen, regardless of their political affiliation.

He gave the example of providing courtesy state government cars to former prime minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi since he stepped down in 2009, to ferry him from the airport to his hometown in Kepala Batas, at his beck and call.