Deputy Defence Minister and Kubang Pasu Umno division chief Datuk Seri Mohd Johari Baharom said that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is an excellent “actor” in his new role in the opposition front. File pix by Azhar Ramli

JITRA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is an excellent “actor” in his new role in the opposition front.

Deputy Defence Minister and Kubang Pasu Umno division chief Datuk Seri Mohd Johari Baharom said today Dr Mahathir was good at role, making him able to “fish” for people’s sympathy and support while criticising the federal government.

He said he knew the former prime minister well, considering that he had been Dr Mahathir’s political secretary at one point.

Johari said the people should no longer view Dr Mahathir’s position as the country’s statesman, but rather his new role as a leader in the opposition bloc.

“Dr Mahathir today is no longer the Dr Mahathir that we used to know. He used to be the prime minister that fought for Barisan Nasional (BN) and Umno, but now he is an opposition leader... so it is not surprising that he is criticising whatever the government does.

“He is like an actor who can play both antagonist and protagonist characters well. I know his character very well because I was his former political secretary... I served him and know exactly (how he went about) his speeches in hitting out at the opposition (then),” he told reporters after attending the Teachers' Day celebration at SMK Pulau Nyior here today.

Johari was commenting on Dr Mahathir’s claim that the seaports in Malacca and Kuantan would be turned into naval bases for the Chinese military after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak sealed multi-billion ringgit deals with the Chinese government recently.

In a blog posting, Dr Mahathir had claimed that the China military would station its naval troops at the two locations and this would compromised Malaysia’s policy as a neutral nation.

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