KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 1 Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said tonight there would be no return to Mahathirism under his administration when he takes the reins of power next March.
Speaking to Riz Khan on the Al Jazeera satellite news channel, Najib said he realised that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government had little choice but to respond to a new Malaysia which had emerged after the last general elections.
I realise there is a new Malaysia which has changed and evolved. Malaysian society is now more mature and demands more openness,Â he said.
Najib’s remarks appeared to be an attempt to distance himself from the policies of former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, even as Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders accuse him of being an acolyte of Malaysia’s former leader.
The DPM’s critics have in recent weeks labelled his impending administration as one which would bring back Mahathirism, and result in a more oppressive environment with tighter controls and more corruption.
However, Najib said tonight that he was committed to the reform agenda of the current prime minister, especially in the judiciary and to fight graft.
Of course I am committed to reforms. The prime minister wants to strengthen the judiciary and fight corruption. That will send a clear message to the elctorate that we are listening,Â he said.
Najib said the BN government had to draw lessons from the last general elections, pointing out that the ruling coalition would have to reform Ã¢â‚¬Å“or the public will change us.
The DPM was also asked to address a number of questions via telephone and email during the live 20 minute interview where he was asked about issues such as the ongoing debate over Ketuanan Melayu, or Malay Supremacy.
He said that Umno would have to cater to the needs of its base Malay support. However, he said BN and Umno must also address the needs and grievances of the non-Malay communities.
I believe in the concept of multi-racial government and if there are genuine grievances we must cater to them,Â he said.
Najib repeated his commitment towards the gradual liberalisation of the affirmative action programmes under the New Economic Policy (NEP), pointing out that it could only be done once the Bumiputera community was more confident and secure.
Addressing the issue of the Internal Security Act (ISA), he said the only reason there has been no serious act of terrorism in Malaysia was because of the existence of the law which provides for detention without trial.
He said the government realised recent concerns about how the ISA had been applied, and acknowledged the growing calls for its repeal or amendment.
Asked what he thought of the threat by Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim’s intention to topple the BN government, he said the ruling coalition took seriously the last general election results.
If we do not change or reform then it is quite possible the electorate will decide to end BN rule,Â he said.
Source : The Malaysian Insider