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Don’t disregard Dr M just because of his age

COMMENT | There was much interest in the media and among the public when former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad gatecrashed a forum that was titled “Adakah Tun M terlalu tua untuk menjadi PM?” (Is Mahathir too old to be PM?”) which was organised by newspaper Sinar Harian.

The panellists included political science lecturer Kamarul Zaman Yusoff, psychologist Dr Mat Saat Mohd Baki, fitness guru Kevin Zahri Abdul Ghaffar and the moderator was my former colleague and journalist Nazri Kahar.

I think that the interest wasn’t the actual forum discussion. It was more of the fact that people were interested in knowing what happened to the panellists and if they actually felt comfortable speaking freely when the person they were speaking about was present.

It was sensational and nothing more than that. Mahathir’s tweet was testament to that. He posted a picture of himself at the forum and wrote “Ada forum bertajuk, Adakah Tun M terlalu tua untuk jadi PM? Saya hadir. (There's a forum titled, Is Mahathir too old to be PM? I am attending it.) I’m here guys. Say it to my face.”

For example, Kamarul Zaman Yusoff was quite hard-hitting with his criticism of Dr Mahathir. But when the latter arrived, Kamarul immediately softened his stance.

He then said that he only had one question for the former prime minister, and that was why did he change his mind about being the prime minister when he had stated before in 2016 that he would not want to be the country’s leader of the opposition if it won the 14th general election.

Actually, there wasn’t much reported about what was discussed by the panellists at the forum. Most news reports just focused on the fact that Mahathir’s entourage entered the hall an hour into the forum and caused a stir among the audience...

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