FORMER prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad needs to do more than just apologise, said Malay voters in Kuala Lumpur and Johor.
“If he was sincere in apologising why bring up Malay custom? Apologise and own up,” said the Harun Mad Desa from Kampung Nakhoda, Selangor.
Harun, 60, said Dr Mahathir should show his sincerity by following Islamic teachings.
“In Islam there is no such thing as chasing power. Look at the opposition party, they are fighting over who wants to be prime minister,” he said.
Harun, who is an army retiree, said Dr Mahathir’s apology was just a show for the upcoming elections.
“In 2013 they gave RM1,000 to army retirees to get the Malay votes. It is the same with this apology,” he said.
He said the people were suffering because of the country’s leaders and not because of parties or politics.
Political analysts previously said naming Dr Mahathir as an interim prime minister would bring in Malay votes.
Harun said when Dr Mahathir was prime minister, he had neglected the Malay village needs. However, Harun agreed the prime minister of 22 years had brought development to the nation.
“Dr Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim were from Umno while Najib is from Umno. Yet, I have a friend (who is also an army retiree) who doesn’t have a house.
“We are old men and we don’t want to hear or say any more detrimental things that bring down the nation or make things worse,” said Harun, adding Dr Mahathir should do the same.
Mohammad Sharizat Ahmad, 60 from Kampung Datuk Keramat said he feared Dr Mahathir would go back to his old ways.
“I have seen politicians like him go back to their old ways after winning the elections. I fear that,” Sharizat said.
The 60-year-old father of six said he remembered first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman and said those were better times.
“Those days you can bring up six kids on RM600 a month. Now? RM6,000 is not enough,” he said.
He said although Dr Mahathir did not take as much from Malaysia, he still had to be accountable for his mistakes.
“An apology is not enough. Today I am 60. I’m not young but I cannot afford to retire.
“I’m not solely blaming him but I want to know from our leaders – opposition or government – what has happened to our country,” said Sharizat, who is an electrician.
Azlim Azmil from Nusa Bestari, Johor, said Dr Mahathir did not say what was he was apologising for.
“I supported his fight, but maybe it is now time for him to rest.
“There were many ideas and projects during his rule that failed and disadvantaged the nation,” he said.
The 32-year-old private sector worker also said he disagreed with Dr Mahathir for blaming the muftis for the 1985 Memali tragedy.
The former prime minister said in his wrapping-up speech at Bersatu’s inaugural annual general meeting in Shah Alam, the Memali incident would not have happened if the muftis had challenged PAS’ president Abdul Hadi Awang’s message in 1983.
“He had the power to prevent the tragedy from happening.
“Muftis only can give advice. The final decision lies at the hands of the prime minister,” Azlim said.
Muhammad Iqbal Masran From Tangkak, Johor said Dr Mahathir should not only apologise but also take responsibility for the errors of his 22-year rule.
“It is unreasonable and unjust for him to apologise but wash his hands off whatever has happened,” he said.
Iqbal, who is self-employed, said Dr Mahathir had helped develop Malaysia but is unsure if he would support Pakatan Harapan (PH) because the former prime minister is holding the reigns.
He added he is not convinced about the ability of the opposition to stick together.
“Dr Mahathir’s capability and credibility in developing Malaysia should be commended.
“But whether he is a factor to vote for PH, I think not. Undoubtedly, his views, ideas and visions are very good and can be applied to the PH manifesto.
“However, how long is he going to stay? Until when will his say be heard and accepted in the party? Will he be dropped after the 14th general election?” he said.