Break


Malaysia’s ex-PM Dr Mahathir hospitalised in Melbourne

Organisers broke the news an hour before Tun Dr Mahathir was scheduled to speak at the Seminar Pembangunan Insan at Mebourne University. Photo: Heng Khuen Cheok

Organisers broke the news an hour before Tun Dr Mahathir was scheduled to speak at the Seminar Pembangunan Insan at Melbourne University. Photo: Heng Khuen Cheok

FORMER Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad was forced to pull out of a much anticipated talk at Melbourne University on Saturday because of “unforeseen health problems”.

Organisers broke the news an hour before the event.

Only a third of the 395 members of the public who registered for the Seminar Pembangunan Insan (SPI) turned up for the talk.

Students listened in as Datuk Seri Mustapha shared his views on the 1Malaysia policy. Photo: Heng Khuen Cheok

Students listened in as Datuk Seri Mustapha shared his views on the 1Malaysia policy. Photo: Heng Khuen Cheok

SPI master of ceremony Shamir Hameed said Tun Dr Mahathir, who arrived in Melbourne on Thursday, turned down the engagement “under the advice of his personal doctors”.

“At the age of 85, I’m sure we understand his situation,” Mr Hameed said.

Addressing students at the Old Arts Building in Melbourne University, Malaysian Minister of Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamed said he had attended lectures in the very same lecture theatre as an international student. Photo: Heng Khuen Cheok

Addressing students at the Old Arts Building in Melbourne University, Malaysian Minister of Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamed said he had attended classes in the very same lecture theatre as an international student. Photo: Heng Khuen Cheok

Standing in for the former prime minister was Malaysian Minister of Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapha Mohamed, who shared his perspectives on the 1Malaysia policy and engaged in a frank and lively discussion with the audience.

Datuk Seri Mustapha said the 1Malaysia policy was a reiteration of an ideology that had been in existence since the nation’s founding.

“The majority of Malaysians agree with this concept,” he said.

He said unity was vital to achieving Malaysia’s vision of becoming a developed nation by 2020.

A student directs a query to Datuk Seri Mustapha during the Q&A session. Photo: Heng Khuen Cheok

A student directs a query to Datuk Seri Mustapha during the Q&A session. Photo: Heng Khuen Cheok

Questions raised by the audience after Datuk Seri Mustapha’s talk included concerns about the halal industry, whether the special rights of Malays had to be revoked in order for 1Malaysia to be a reality, the future of Malaysian car maker Proton, the quality of education in Malaysia, and media’s poor access in reaching the government for comment.

The prospect of meeting Tun Dr Mahathir had been the biggest draw card for many who signed up for the event. But despite their disappointments, students like Syamil Jalil and Sasidaran Krisnasamy said the talk exceeded their expectations.

Is it achievable? Students held a frank and honest debate about the 1Malaysia policy. Photo: Heng Khuen Cheok

Is it achievable? Students held a frank and honest debate about the 1Malaysia policy. Photo: Heng Khuen Cheok

Mr Jalil, 22, who flew in from Adelaide to Melbourne specially for the event, said he had been looking forward to hearing Tun Dr Mahathir speak.

“But ultimately, I came here because of the topic. I’m happy with Datuk Seri Mustapha’s speech and it was well worth it. I thought he was very very enlightening, and I guess it’s good to know the reality behind 1Malaysia and what is happening with the government,” Mr Jalil said.

Mr Krisnasamy, 22, said he appreciated Datuk Seri Mustapha’s frankness.

“Datuk Seri Mustapha actually voiced out the government’s views, how they are bringing on transformation for now,” Mr Krisnasamy said.

“He took the questions really well, which was good. His frankness and honesty was the best part of the seminar.”

1Malaysia. Students pose for the camera with Datuk Seri Mustapha after the seminar.

1Malaysia. Students pose for the camera with Datuk Seri Mustapha after the seminar.

Datuk Seri Mustapha also apologised for Tun Dr Mahathir’s absence.

“I spent an hour with him this morning,” Datuk Seri Mustapha said.

“He very much wanted to come. He fell sick when he was in China, and despite his state of health he decided to come (to Melbourne).

“But he has a slight cough and is resting in hospital.”

It is understood that Tun Dr Mahathir was hospitalised on Saturday morning with a chest infection.

2 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Any idea what specifically was said regarding the government’s views on Malay special rights then?

  2. Yeah… apparently changes are being made in an upcoming economic plan. The minister assured the audiences they are changing with the times, although it will be a gradual process.

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