An NGO coordinating council today expressed regret over the statement by Dr Mahathir Mohamad linking the dismissal of former lord president Salleh Abas to the then Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Sultan Iskandar Sultan Ismail of Johor.
The Coordinating Council of the Affiliation of Johor Malay NGOs said it was extreme and rude of the former prime minister to have done that.
Council vice-president and information chief Abdullah Mohd Yusof questioned why Mahathir had put the blame on the late Sultan Iskandar, who was always in the hearts of the people of Johor, and raised the matter after so long.
“Almarhum Sultan Iskandar cannot defend himself because he is no more. We regard it as rude when someone insults our sultan,” he said at a press conference that was also attended by the council president, Zaini Atan.
Mahathir, who is Bersatu chairperson, had said several days ago that his name had been used by the then attorney-general Abu Talib Othman to instruct the dismissal of Salleh during the judicial crisis in 1988.
At a press conference at the Perdana Leadership Foundation in Putrajaya, Mahathir had also claimed that Salleh was dismissed on the instruction of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at that time.
Abu Talib was the attorney-general from 1980 to 1993 while the Yang di-Pertuan Agong during Salleh’s dismissal was Sultan Iskandar. Sultan Iskandar passed away in January 2010.
Abdullah said that representatives of over 850 NGOs under the council’s umbrella comprising more than 200,000 members had gathered today and unanimously sent a message to Mahathir to stop blaming the sultan who was no more.
“The issue is incorrect, unfair and should not have been uttered by Mahathir who is said to be a statesman. Let’s stop it Tun… he wants to blame everyone. It has gone to the extreme. We don’t care if it is associated with politics, but when it is linked to the Johor sultanate, we will not remain silent,” he said.
He said the council planned to lodge a police report in every district soon over the accusation by Mahathir against the late sultan.
Abdullah also commented on Mahathir’s statement on the Forest City development project, saying the council was of the view that Mahathir had run out of ideas.
“He (Mahathir) is going in circles. He is slamming Forest City because he feels it is a development that will incur a loss for Johor but the people of Johor are not against it. Tun Dr Mahathir is not a Johorean.
“The fruits of development are enjoyed by the people, NGOs and businessmen. The council supports Forest City on the basis of the development of Johor,” he said.
Mahathir, when addressing the inaugural annual general meeting of Bersatu in Shah Alam recently, likened Forest City to the sale of land to foreigners.