IN his time, Dr Mahathir Mohamad had these politicians detained without trial.
But last night, he was in Penang to help these very people raise close to RM250,000.
The former prime minister, who is now chairman of the opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan, was the main speaker at the DAP fundraising dinner at SPICE Arena in Bayan Baru, which was attended by more than 3,000 people.
His portrait, and those of DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang, PKR de factor leader Anwar Ibrahim and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu were auctioned off at a starting bid of RM2,000 to raise funds for the party.
Now, as PH chairman, Dr Mahathir heads the opposition’s offensive against the Barisan Nasional coalition and former protege Prime Minister Najib Razak.
True to form, much of his 40-minute speech was dedicated to Najib, whom he blamed for giving Malaysia the kleptocracy label through the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal.
Dr Mahathir pointed out that Najib was not as confident as before, and was even afraid.
“I am glad to say that up until now, PH has been seeing Malaysians of different races, communities and tribes who have shown us great support.
“In the past, Najib believed that he had Sabah and Sarawak as fixed deposits. Now he is not so confident. He’s afraid.
“This man, he always smiles. But behind that smile, his heart is beating very, very fast.
“That is why he has no courage to call for the general election. PH is ready to beat BN,” he said to the cheering crowd.
Dr Mahathir suggested that Najib would wait until next year to call for the polls, but added Najib may not even hold the polls, something that could be could easily accomplished by the prime minister who had the power to have emergency declared.
“It is very easy. All he has to do is to ask Ali Tinju (army veteran and Malay NGO leader Mohd Ali Baharom), or some other ‘pengganas’ (terrorist) to throw some chairs.
“When chairs are tossed around, Najib can declare an emergency because there is a riot. So no election. If he loses (the election), he can also declare an emergency to prevent the change of government,” he said.
Dr Mahathir was making a reference to the fracas that disrupted the Nothing to Hide 2.0 forum in Shah Alam last month when he spoke about the 1MDB scandal. He was taking questions from the floor when shoes and chairs were thrown in his direction while two flares were also lit.
“But if Najib suffers a disastrous loss, he cannot do anything.
“So I am appealing to all of you. If you love this country, want to see it developed peacefully, have a good life, then give PH the biggest majority.
“We are not asking you to go to war or join demonstrations. Just put a cross for PH,” he told the crowd.
The crowd laughed and cheered as Dr Mahathir continued to poke fun at Najib and his “most expensive photo-op” with US President Donald Trump during his recent visit to the White House to “strengthen the US economy”.
Other PH leaders who spoke at the dinner were DAP vice-president and Ipoh Barat MP M. Kulasegaran, Penang DAP chairman Chow Kon Yeow, PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, and Mohamad.
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT.