KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is an arch-enemy of the freedom of expression in the country, said Barisan Nasional leaders.
Gerakan vice-president Dominic Lau said censorship during Dr Mahathir’s time was the longest lasting, most pervasive and strictly enforced in the nation’s history.
“When he was in power, he had few qualms about clamping down on those who advocated free speech.
"It would be wise not to believe that Dr Mahathir would bring back freedom of expression as he is the father of U-turns,” he said.
Lau said Dr Mahathir should have apologised for all his past mistakes if he was sincere in remaking Malaysia.
However, Dr Mahathir was being selective in his apologies to the people in order to suit his political agenda, said Lau.
Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Aziz said many politicians had been jailed when Dr Mahathir was prime minister.
Nazri said: "All I can say is that he is mad to propose this 35 years later when all the laws are in place to protect freedom of speech.
“Dr Mahathir has become a political comedian and he should try to become a stand-up comedian.
"He makes a lot of people laugh with his various recent remarks and promises,” said Nazri.
MCA central committee member Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker said Dr Mahathirs’s history of censorship had been well documented.
“Dr Mahathir is a dictator and will always be the biggest dictator in the country.
“The best way to judge Dr Mahathir’s sincerity is by looking at the evils he had committed when he was in power.
“When he was prime minister, hundreds of people were summarily locked up under the Internal Security Act, to name but a few of his wrongdoings,” he said.
Ti said the situation had improved much since Datuk Seri Najib Razak took over as Prime Minister in 2009.