Here's excerpt of the interview:
“I believe in an opposition. I have always maintained that this country needs an opposition and they should be critical of the government without which we don’t have a mirror to look at our faces. We think that we are very beautiful but it is the opposition that keeps telling us (that may not be true).
“You know the government member (of parliament), sometimes they are ‘ahli bodek’ (apple polishers). They are always saying ‘you’re right’, and you have no means of assessing whether you are going in the right direction or not.”
He told Malaysiakini in an exclusive interview today that it would be a “disaster” if the country “loses its opposition” as in Singapore.
Looking a little frail in his trademark bush jacket since his second heart bypass in September last year, Mahathir gave his prognosis on this Saturday’s general elections.He said the government would be able to retain its two-thirds majority but could lost a few seats in Terengganu and Kedah.Mahathir also predicted that the government would win between 70 to 75 percent of Parliament seats on March 8.
In the 2004 general elections, BN won 90 percent of the seats. If Mahathir is correct, then the opposition could win between 55 to 65 seats, which will be a sizable increase from its current tally of 21.Mahathir also did not think the Barisan Nasional coalition would be able to wrest Kelantan state government from Islamic party PAS.
“Kelantan would be a very difficult because although the margin is very small, Kelantanese have got a mind of their own, so to speak. If they are living in KL, they are very supportive of the government but if they are living in Kelantan, the peer pressure is very strong.”
Mahathir also believed that the opposition would do well in Penang, but not enough to win government, or deny BN its two-thirds majority.
Mahathir also took the opportunity at the interview held at his Perdana Leadership Foundation office in Putrajaya to clarify that there was no prior agreement in which his handpicked successor would serve only one term as prime minister.
“I want to say this, there was no gentleman’s agreement on this but my thinking was that he (Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) should serve for one term and give Najib (Razak) who by then would be much older to succeed him,” he said.
The former BN leader who spearheaded BN’s victory in five consecutive elections also ticked off the opposition for seeking to capitalise on something which he had said in jest.
Full interview here