Matters of opinion that enables me to understand or make some sense of my country- Malaysia

 

This Interview took place in August 2008:

Najib admitted the accusation that he was linked to the Mongolian woman (Altantuya Shaarribuu) had damaged his reputation but he said the accusation remains an accusation as there is no proof against him.

The Sun

DEPUTY Barisan Nasional president and Umno deputy chief Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak says Umno is willing to change and will discuss various issues with BN component parties in order to reach a consensus with them.

He says Umno will not ignore the feelings of other component parties just because it is the dominant party of the coalition.

Datu

The deputy prime minister told the Chinese dailies which interviewed him in parliament last Thursday this when told that Umno’s partners in BN, in the wake of the March 8 general election, felt that BN as well as Umno have to change.

He said it is very unfortunate that there are still some people in Umno who continue to play up race issues.

But he stressed it is not BN’s policy and the remarks and acts of certain hardline Umno members are not representative of Umno.

“We don’t play race issues, we are a party which talks about fairness and justice.

“Some people belong to the hardline. If you want to judge a party, you have to look at the party’s policies and plans.

“We keep reminding them (the hardliners) not to utter remarks that will create uneasiness among races. Unfortunately, there are still a minority who go overboard in their remarks. But these are their personal remarks, which do not represent Umno’sstand,” he said.

During the interview, the deputy prime minister delved into a number of subjects:

On becoming PM in 2010

Najib said he does not see any reason why BN cannot continue to govern and as long as BN continues to govern and Umno carries out its succession plan, he is confident he will become the next prime minister.

He said although there are a lot of negative rumours about him, he believes that one day the truth will come out, to quash all the rumours.

“I am not worried about these rumours. What (Parti Keadilan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri) Anwar (Ibrahim) uses to attack me, such as the Mongolian woman incident, the Port Dickson incident 10 years ago, are malicious and created. They make personal attacks but cannot produce proof. I believe the public will one day see the truth.”

He said if Anwar makes his way into parliament, he will not be the only target of Anwar’s attacks as the latter’s target is the whole BN government.

“But clearly, Anwar sees me as his greatest threat,” Najib added.

The Port Dickson incident

Najib said the alleged incident, as brought up lately by Anwar, in which he was the alleged actor “did not happen at all”.

He said there is no truth to it and he is not worried.

He said his wife, Rosmah Mansor, had laughed off the rumour.

“If it really happened, my wife would have killed me 10 years ago,” he quipped.

“I was not even in Port Dickson. Why should I be afraid? Why should something which allegedly happened 10 years ago be brought up only now? He (Anwar) really knows how to make up stories.”

The Mongolian woman

Najib admitted the accusation that he was linked to the Mongolian woman (Altantuya Shaarribuu) had damaged his reputation but he said the accusation remains an accusation as there is no proof against him.

“Because they have no proof, they doctored a picture to show I was with the Mongolian woman. Clearly, it is a doctored picture and crudely done.”

He said Umno members believed he is innocent.

“I have explained to them, as well as sworn in the name of Allah Almighty, that I have never seen this Mongolian woman. It is a serious matter to swear like that in Islam.”

Chinese’s requests

Najib said some Malays indeed felt the Chinese have asked for too much over the issues of education and government scholarships.

But he stressed that it is the view of just a section of the people who do not represent the majority of the public or the government.

They are not in the government, he said.

“We will continue to listen to the voices of the Chinese, and to understand their wishes. We have made some adjustments after the March 8 general election.”

Defender of Chinese education

“I am a defender of Chinese primary school education. I have often reminded the Chinese voters that in 1996, during my tenure as education minister, I abolished section 21 (2) of the Education Act 1961, to ensure the perpetual existence of Chinese primary schools,” said Najib.

On MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting’s request that the government undertake 100% the construction of six primary schools approved prior to the general election, Najib said MCA, Gerakan and the Education Ministry will meet to find “creative ways” to build the schools.

He also said as long as the government can afford it, more Chinese schools will be built.

Permatiang Pauh by-election

Najib admitted that the Permatang Pauh by-election is the toughest battle he has come across.

He said in the past by-elections, BN had the upper hand, and although it was at a disadvantage in the Pengkalang Pasir by-election, BN still emerged victorious.

“I will not tell you our chances but we will try out best,” he said.

Asked if a poor show by BN in the coming by-election would affect his political future, Najib replied in the negative, saying what BN adopts is collective shouldering of responsibility.

 

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