Outsiders Barred From Tun Mahathir’s Talk at Imperial College
Outsiders Barred From Tun Mahathir’s Talk at Imperial College Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad [Source: The Star]
LONDON: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was left fuming over a last-minute decision to bar outsiders from attending his talk on war crimes at Imperial College here on Friday.
The former prime minister said he regretted any attempt to block his speech entitled Expose War Crimes: Criminalise War at Imperial College.
Scores of Malaysians and non-Malaysians were left stranded outside the Sir Alexander Flemming building in the college when they were barred from entering the lecture theatre hall where the talk was held.
Security guards stationed near the entrance were seen checking for Imperial College identification cards before allowing them in.
During his speech, Dr Mahathir said he believed that Britain was a country where free speech was upheld.
"I’m sorry that it didn’t look very free today," he added.
One of the organisers of the talk, Faizal Fathil said they were only informed of the restriction at about 6pm on Thursday.
"We had expected about 700 people but only a maximum of 320 could attend the talk," said Faizal.
Despite the hiccup, Dr Mahathir was his usual self as he spoke about the qualities of a good prime minister.
"He must fulfil his vows in looking after the people and not be interested in what he gains for himself," he said.
On Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s concern that the transition of power now would affect the Barisan Nasional, he said this would happen.
On the contrary, he said, the Barisan would not have enough time to recover for the next general election if the change of leadership was delayed.
"And the people who voted for the Opposition will remain with them," he said.
Dr Mahathir also advised the world to "go back to bows and arrows" instead of pumping massive funds into defence spending.
He said, for instance, just a fraction of the reported US$3 trillion spent by the United States on the Iraq war so far could go a long way in helping the world’s poor and sick.
Replying to a question on Malaysia’s defence spending during his term of office, Dr Mahathir said he regretted it very much.
"But today, questions would be raised if you don’t buy fighter planes and your neighbour buys one," he said.