‘Mahathirism’ died when Datuk Seri (now Tun) Abdullah took over

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KUALA LUMPUR — Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi today said that his relationship with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad remains cordial, despite the former premier saying yesterday that he had ended the latter’s legacy of “Mahathirism”.

Dr Mahathir said yesterday he had to quit Umno in 2008 because Abdullah had made the party and the government unrecognisable from his time as leader.

“Actually ‘Mahathirism’ died when Datuk Seri (now Tun) Abdullah took over from me in 2003. He changed Umno, the BN and the government so much that they no longer resemble the institutions I used to know. I had to resign from Umno,” Dr Mahathir said in a posting on his blog yesterday.

Dr Mahathir was a strident critic of Abdullah, and left Umno in 2008. He rejoined the party when Datuk Seri Najib Razak took over as PM from Abdullah in 2009.However, Abdullah said today that they remain on good terms although they would sometimes have differences in opinion.

“I am me. He is him (Masing-masinglah, saya adalah saya. Dia adalah dia),” said Abdullah, who was handpicked by Dr Mahathir to succeed him as prime minister and Umno president.

Dr Mahathir said yesterday the idea of “Mahathirism” was a figment of Lim Kit Siang’s imagination, pointing out that his DAP rival’s campaign against the revival of the ex-premier’s brand of politics was an exercise in futility.

The DAP veteran had last week denied harbouring hatred for his long-time political rival, suggesting instead that he only disliked the influential leader’s brand of politics.

In the escalating war of words between the political veterans, the DAP parliamentary leader alleged that Dr Mahathir has been working very hard to keep “Mahathirism” alive in the ruling Umno through corruption and cronyism.

Lim also disagreed that former prime minister Abdullah was voted out of power for mistreating his predecessor, Dr Mahathir, saying instead that Abdullah, or “Pak Lah”, had lost in Election 2008 for failing to dismantle the “Mahathir legacy” of corruption, cronyism and abuses of power. – The Malaysian Insider