Mahathir clashes with prominent ethnic Indian leader

April 10th, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by admin  

Kuala Lumpur, April 10 (IANS) Former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has lashed out against ethnic Indian opposition leader Karpal Singh, saying he was “moved by pure hatred” in his demand for a probe into allegations of corruption and misuse of power by Mahathir during his long reign. In a two-paragraph “open letter” to Singh, whom he had imprisoned two decades back under the stringent Internal Security Act (ISA), Mahathir has said: “You are moved by pure hatred and I cannot respond to people who can never accept reality.”

“My conscience is clear. I have done what was my duty, and I owe nobody any apology,” Mahathir wrote in reply to Singh’s accusations.

Singh, a lawyer-lawmaker of Indian origin, who heads the opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), has denied that he has said or done anything out of hatred for Mahathir.

In a rejoinder quoted in the media Thursday, Singh said: “I do not hate him”.

“As Dr Mahathir is much older to me, I do not propose to hurt his feelings in the vein by which he has described me,” he said.

He specifically pointed to the line where Mahathir called him “the most contemptible of politicians and individuals”.

Singh also told Mahathir to take his views in his stride, The Star newspaper said.

Like some other opposition leaders who have emerged strong in parliament after last month’s elections, Singh has asked for a probe into many of the acts of Mahathir when he was the prime minister.

He has even asked Mahathir to apologise.

“I owe nobody any apology,” Mahathir said in reaction Wednesday.

His letter was a reply to Singh’s earlier open letter stating that the former prime minister had abused the provisions of Article 125(3) of the Federal Constitution during the 1988 judicial crisis.

In a statement Wednesday, Singh said he stood by whatever he had said in his letter to Mahathir, who was prime minister for 22 years from 1981 to 2003, making him the country’s longest-serving prime minister.

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