On the eve of polling day for the Tanjung Piai by-election in Johor, Dr Mahathir Mohamad has penned a letter to the voters, appealing for their support for Pakatan Harapan candidate Karmaine Sardini.
And the prime minister could not resist taking a sarcastic swipe at his successor-turned-predecessor, Najib Abdul Razak and the latter's wife Rosmah Mansor.
Mahathir (above) touched on this when pointing out the efforts undertaken by the Harapan government to revive the nation's economic situation and reduce the income gap by implementing short and long-term measures such as the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030.
“These plans take some time but the people will reap the benefits soon.
“I believe if a proper evaluation is done, the people will see and feel the benefits which come forth albeit in instalments.
“Apart from this, the people can certainly see how leaders from (the present) government parties and their wives do not live lavishly on public funds,” he added.
A police raid on the residences linked to Najib a month after the May 9, 2018, general election witnessed the seizure of cash in various currencies, 2,200 rings, 1,400 necklaces, 567 branded handbags and luxury watches with an estimated retail value of close to RM1 billion.
The former premier is now facing trial over the funds transferred from SRC International Sdn Bhd and the 1MDB mega scandal.
Whereas his wife is facing 19 counts of money laundering and bribery charges.
Noting that 18 months have passed since Harapan conquered Putrajaya, Mahathir said it has been a difficult road for the coalition with regard to returning Malaysia to the right track and mending the damage inflicted by its predecessor.
However, the prime minister conceded that Harapan cannot be shifting the blame to BN always in relation to its efforts to develop the nation.
“At the same time, it is certain that the people have been following the development of court cases and realised the damage due to corruption and abuse of power, which nearly destroyed this nation.
“One of the main priorities of this government is to take clear and stern measures to ensure such actions do not recur and leaders do not pursue wealth without fear of retribution,” he added.
Don't be influenced by desperate wrongdoers
Stressing that the Harapan government believes in the politics of moderation, Mahathir said there are attempts to sow discord among the people of different races and faiths.
“When facing the Malays, they claim that while this government is led by the Malays, everything is in the hands of the non-Malays.
“When facing non-Malays, they claim the non-Malay leaders in the government have given up on their struggle in order to safeguard their respective positions.
“As a result of this, the Malays feel their future is not guaranteed under this government and at the same time, non-Malays are dissatisfied with the non-Malay members of the government,” he added.
However, Mahathir argued that both of these sentiments cannot exist at the same time.
“If the Malays feel the government has failed to protect their interests, then non-Malays should be satisfied. And if non-Malays are dissatisfied that their interests are not protected, the Malays should be satisfied,” he added.
According to Mahathir, this situation arose because the Harapan government relies on consensus when making decisions and this means the interests of all citizens are taken into consideration.
He said when decisions are made in this manner, all races and groups would not feel completely satisfied.
“To me, this is better than one party feeling immensely satisfied and another, immensely dissatisfied,” he added.
Mahathir said the Harapan government is seeking to return Malaysia to its roots, where the nation was built on compromise and cooperation between leaders of different races.
However, he warned the endeavour would fail if the people are influenced by extremism.
“Remember, those behind this game of racial politics are desperate because they are facing legal actions due to their greed and arrogance when in power.
“They do not care if their actions lead to clashes between the races because to them, if there is a disturbance, their wrongdoings will be sidelined.
“Do not give them the opportunity to pit the races against each other and the easiest way is not to vote for their candidate in the Tanjung Piai by-election,” he added.
Karmaine will be facing BN's Wee Jeck Seng, Gerakan's Wendy Subramaniam, Berjasa's Badhrulhisham Abdul Aziz and independent candidates Ang Chuan Lock and Faridah Aryani Abd Ghaffar.
Campaigning began on Nov 2.
The by-election was called after the incumbent MP, Bersatu's Dr Md Farid Md Rafik, died of a heart attack in September.