(File pix) Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the former prime minister had used Internal Security Act and “Ops Lalang” to silence dissenters when he was in power.

JOHOR BARU: Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is unlikely to allow freedom of speech in the country if his opposition pact comes to power.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamed said the former prime minister had used Internal Security Act and “Ops Lalang” to silence dissenters when he was in power.

"Can a leopard change its spots? Of course it cannot,” he told a press conference after attending the “Fiesta Sukan Rakyat” for Pulai at Permai Hospital sports complex in Kempas, today.

Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia chairman, had reportedly promised that his party would return freedom of speech to the people if Pakatan was voted to power.

Nur Jazlan said Dr Mahathir's current interest was to ensure his son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir became the next prime minister.

"It is either he uses Barisan Nasional (BN) or the opposition as a vehicle for his ultimate goal.

“I do not believe he will be liberal and give freedom of speech because that is not his real soul," he added.

Nur Jazlan said he was confused with the objective of Dr Mahathir who wanted to continue to fight for the interests of his family and children.

Nur Jazlan said he did not discount the possibility that Dr Mahathir would use a two-pronged approach which was to exploit the opposition and BN for his personal interest.

"He will use the approach by being with the opposition but after the general election, he will return to Umno with certain conditions. That is the normal attitude of Dr Mahathir.

Umno supreme council member Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi described Dr Mahathir's promise to ensure freedom of speech in the country if Pakatan Harapan took over the government as “funny”.

Puad said Dr Mahathir may have forgotten that he had used ISA to arrest, scare off and silence his political enemies when he was in power.

"We cannot trust Dr Mahathir with anything he says. He is not only the king of U-turns but also can change in a blink of an eye for the sake of his personal agenda," said Puad in Batu Pahat, .

On a separate matter, Puad said the interim prime minister post as proposed by the opposition pact was only a trick to deceive the people.

He said the people should reject such an approach that could potentially destroy the country.

"I am convinced that they are just 'acting' when they agreed to make Dr Mahathir as the interim prime minister.

“They (the opposition) still have their own respective personal agenda where PKR only wants Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as the prime minister and DAP wants Lim Kit Siang to hold the post.

"The question is who is cheating who. I am sure that they (opposition parties) will disagree with each other on the first day they taste power," said Puad.

Translated from Berita Harian

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