83-Day Countdown to 13GE: Mahathir’s “Listen, Listen, Listen!” exhortation and the question – What is to be done when a former PM had committed treason when in power?

It was pure, pristine, undiluted Mahathirism – the perverted illogic, falsehood-coated assertions and brazen dishonesty.

Recently, the Sharifah-Bawani video clips made the “Listen, listen, listen!” diatribe infamous nationwide, but the real “Listen, listen, listen!” maestro is none other than Mahathir, who yesterday treated Malaysians to a classic “Listen, listen, listen” exposition, a decade after he stepped down as Prime Minister for 22 years but demonstrating he is still unequalled as an exponent of this black art.

Mahathir was responding to the revelations at the Sabah Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) on illegal immigrants on Project IC (also known of Project M) and the “IC receipts-for-votes” and “citizenship-for-votes” scams in Sabah in the nineties, but he had overreached himself as for the first time in 14 years he had to admit to the existence of the nefarious and treasonous Project IC or Project M not only to subvert the electoral process but also the sovereignty of Sabah and Malaysia.

Mahathir had until yesterday strenuously denied the existence of Project IC or Project M since the public surfacing of the allegations about it in the Likas election petition in 1999, but yesterday, when pressed by the media if he was saying the Project IC was lawful, Mahathir said: “Yes, it is lawful.”

If the Project IC or Project M was lawful, giving ICs and citizenships to foreigners “within the law”, why was it necessary for Mahathir to deny it and to hide it from the people of Sabah and Malaysia for over a decade?

Furthermore, why was it necessary for Mahathir to try to defame Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman, by claiming that the first Prime Minister had done worse by giving citizenship to one million unqualified people in peninsular Malaysia, asking: “Why is it when he does it, it is not wrong, and when I do it, it’s wrong?”

This is a virtual admission by Mahathir that what he had done in Project IC or Project M in the “citizenship-for-votes” scam to shore up UMNO’s political power was capital crime and treasonous, but he sought to find immunity and impunity by hiding under the shadow of Bapa Malaysia through the lie that Tunku had done even worse than him.

It is sad and tragic for Malaysia that the longest-serving Prime Minister in Malaysia does not understand that “Two wrongs do not make a right”.

Sadder and even more tragic, there are no “two wrongs” here as it is utterly cowardly, disgusting and contemptible on Mahathir’s part to allege that Tunku had committed a more heinous crime and treason than him with regard to Project IC or Project M.

Tunku never gave out citizenship to subvert the electoral process but to ensure that in the run-up to Merdeka in 1957, non-Malays who resided in Malaya had a right to citizenship, which was agreed by all including the Conference of Rulers – all done in an open and transparent manner.

Did Mahathir conduct the Project IC or Project M in an open and transparent process, after getting mandate from his Cabinet, the Conference of Rulers and the Malaysian people, particularly the Sabahans?

Another indication that Mahathir is aware that Project IC or Project M was both criminal and treasonous can be seen from his mild reaction yesterday to the charge by the PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali that he, Mahathir, is “a traitor to the country” for the scam in Sabah, as Mahathir merely responded he did not mind such charges, as there are those who praised just as there are those who scolded him.

I have said that Mahathir should forever shut up if he is not prepared to volunteer to appear before the Sabah RCI to clear allegations that he was a traitor for giving ICs and voting rights to foreigners just to shore up UMNO’s political power and to speak up to clear the names of his two confidantes and right-hand men in Project IC or Project M, the then Deputy Home Minister Megat Junid Megat Ayub and his political Secretary Aziz Shamsuddin.

Mahathir said that he has yet to be subpoenaed to testify at the RCI, but is willing to do so if called.

There can be no doubt that there is only one star witness for the RCI, and he is none other than Mahathir – as without him, there would be no Project IC or Project M and no need for any RCI on illegal immigrants in Sabah.

Can Mahathir give an assurance that he would not suffer another attack of amnesia when testifying before the RCI in Sabah, as happened when he testified before the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Lingam Videotape in January 2008?

Mahathir, who is well-known for his “elephantine memory” before and after his appearance before the Lingam Videotape RCI, said “I cannot remember” or its equivalent 14 times during his 90-minute testimony in January 2008.

Would Mahathir suffer another attack of amnesia and even break all records of amnesia when he appears before the RCI in Sabah?

The question all Malaysians must now ponder is: What is to be done when a former Prime Minister had committed treason when in power?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur