In this second of a two-part interview with Malaysiakin reporter Li Tsin, Tun Dr Mahathir says that the Indian grouses are not directed at him but at the Works Minister "because with him there, another Indian has been deprived of the chance to come up," he said.
Here's excerpts of the interview:
"I know their main grouse is not with me, their main grouse is with Samy Vellu because with him there, another Indian has been deprived of the chance to come up," he said.
Speaking to Malaysiakini at his Perdana Leadership Foundation office in Putrajaya, Mahathir deflected allegations that the root cause of the Indian community’s strife was due to his pro-Malay focus during his tenure as PM.
"So they want to blame me? It is not that. Samy Vellu did not ask for assistance. The problem is that he is preventing other Indians from having a say.
"(Indian Progressive Front president MG) Pandithan was got rid of, (former MIC deputy president S) Subramaniam was got rid of, K Pathmanaban died but of course before that, he was (former MIC vice president).
"That is his (Samy Vellu) way of doing things and of course the other voices cannot reach me. And of course, he doesn’t say there is this battling among the Indians," he explained.
Pandithan, who was formerly with MIC, started IPF in 1990 after falling out with Samy. The two parties have been at odds with each other despite being in the BN coalition.
Both Subramaniam and Pathmanaban have a history of bad blood with Samy in their failed attempts to challenge for the party presidency.
Mahathir also said in jest: "You know Indians are very political. Tunku Abdul Rahman used to say if there is one Indian, there is one political party. If there are two Indians, there are two political parties."
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Q&A: Indian grouses not with me but Samy: here