Mahathir: Go ahead, publish it


WARM WELCOME: Dr Mahathir being greeted by Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah (right) on arrival at Unimas. Immediately behind Dr Mahathir is Taib. – Bernama photo

KUCHING: Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has no qualms about his correspondence with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak made public if it means it could clear up everything once and for all.

He said publication of the letter could also quash all accusations made against him with regards to the country’s relationship with Israel.

Last Friday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak was quoted as saying that the government was prepared to publish the correspondence if it was not deemed a security threat to the country. He said he was concerned that the opposition was trying to stir confusion over the letter.

“I have always insisted on publishing the letter sent by the former Israel Prime Minister (Barak) in wanting Malaysia to change its stand on international relations with Israel.

“I even sought to put the materials in the first book that I published, but the government did not allow it then. Now that the government wants to reveal the content of the letter, I can only express my gratitude,” said Dr Mahathir, who is Perdana Global Peace Foundation president, yesterday.

He was met after officiating at the closing ceremony of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas)’s ‘National Patriotism And Politic Convention: The Real Direction’ at DeTAR Putra theatre, Samarahan campus, near here.

Also present were Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, Unimas vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Khairuddin Abdul Hamid, Unimas Board of Directors chairman Datu Dr Hatta Solhi, and convention project director Muhamad Ikram Jalil.

When asked to comment on the public’s perception of the Malaysia-Israel relationship following support received by a leader here recently who openly stated support for Israel, Dr Mahathir responded: “Well, it seems that they are open to supporting Israel then … since they have spoken about it.”

However, before the former premier could elaborate on his comment, the press was dispersed by security personnel.

On Thursday, Dr Mahathir admitted that the Malaysian government, during his tenure, had responded to a letter sent by Barak. He revealed that Israel wanted Malaysia to soften its stand on its international relations with the country.

“I responded by saying that Malaysia will not have any ties with them (Israel) for as long as they refused to acknowledge the rights of the Palestinians.”