To understand why Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is very much opposed to Attorney General Mohamed Apandi Ali who replaced Abdul Gani Patail last year, we need to first dabble in a bit of history. This whole thing started during what is now known as Malaysia’s 1988 Judicial Crisis.
In 1987, Dr Mahathir won the party presidency against Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah by just 43 votes. Tengku Razaleigh’s supporters, however, refused to accept the results because of the allegation that there were 78 illegal delegates amongst the 1,479 delegates. And they felt that without these ‘illegals’ Tengku Razaleigh would have won instead.
Tengku Razaleigh’s supporters demanded for new elections to be held while Dr Mahathir refused because his people told him that the second time around he was going to lose. In fact, I was present in that meeting with Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s father, Pak Wan, when the matter was discussed and the opinion then was that Tengku Razaleigh would most likely win the second time around.
The matter was then brought to court and this upset Dr Mahathir who commented, “The judiciary says, ‘Although you passed a law with a certain thing in mind, we think that your mind is wrong, and we want to give our interpretation.’ If we disagree, the courts will say, ‘We will interpret your disagreement.’ … We know exactly what we want to do, but once we do it, it is interpreted in a different way.”