PETALING JAYA, Feb 10 – Bersih wants former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to retract his statement that the federal constitution must be amended to revoke the citizenship of “errant lawyers” like Bar Council leaders and Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga.
Bersih, a coalition of non-governmental organization fighting for free and fair elections, said Ambiga did not deserve such a comment.
“What did Ambiga do to deserve such comments. There is nothing wrong in wanting a free and fair election. We just want for the government to deliver what the rakyat want,” Bersih steering committee member Maria Chin Abdullah told FMT.
Earlier today, the former prime minister said the government needed to amend the constitution if it wanted to strip off the citizenship of lawyers such as Ambiga who go against the government.
“To strip a person’s citizenship, you need to amend the constitution. And to amend the constitution you need two-thirds majority in Parliament. So, I ask that you give two-thirds majority to the BN government,” said Dr Mahathir.
He said this in response to a question after a talk on national security and the constitution at a forum.
Mahathir was asked how the government could strip the citizenship of errant lawyers like Bar Council leaders and Ambiga, who were persistent in challenging the government and questioning the federal constitution.
Maria said it was very unbecoming of Mahathir to make such a statement.
“He is no better than Ibrahim Ali (Perkasa president). We want Dr Mahathir to retract and apologise to Ambiga and the Bar Council.
“The statement is actually very racist in nature. Dr Mahathir should not put himself so low as to want to strip people of their citizenship. They are not terrorist or did anything to endanger the lives of fellow Malaysians.
“We are fighting for the better Malaysia. We are trying to do good for the country and her people…so Dr Mahathir should not use us as political pawns to win votes for the ruling Barisan Nasional,” she said.
He said Dr Mahathir should not use race as a tool to divide and threaten Malaysians.
At the same forum, the former Prime Minister also urged Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak not to entertain accusations made by carpet dealer Deepak Jaikishen, in connection with the death of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu.
The businessman has been hurling accusation after accusation against Najib over the last two months and has promised to expose scandals linked to other politicians and the Prime Minister’s family members.
“I don’t think he should do anything,” Dr Mahathir said referring to Najib.
Mahathir, who holds the record as the country’s longest serving Prime Minister todate, said Najib must be accustomed to all sorts of accusation hurled against him.
“When you are the Prime Minister people say all sorts of things. When I was prime minister also they accused me of corruption … I don’t have to respond,” he said.