The Associated Press
Published: June 26, 2008
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia: Former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad denied Thursday that he sent judges and other civil servants to a camp to indoctrinate them with government propaganda.
High Court Judge Ian Chin claimed earlier this month that Mahathir had threatened judges and sent them to so-called boot camps to make sure they acted in the government's favor.
The accusations were a fresh blow to the country's judiciary, already tainted with allegations that judicial appointments were brokered by a senior lawyer with top connections during Mahathir's tenure, which ended in 2003.
"The boot camp was not a boot camp at all. It was a ... course which had been attended by thousands of civil servants, business executives and politicians without any complaints," Mahathir said.
He slammed Chin, alleging the judge had made the accusations to cover up his own wrongdoing and get in the good books of the current administration.
Mahathir is at loggerheads with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi's government, accusing it of corruption, inefficiency and weakness. He has demanded Abdullah's resignation.
Chin "tries to divert attention to me, knowing of course that I'm not the favorite of the present government, that anyone who says anything against me would become very popular with the government," Mahathir said.
Chin was not immediately available for comment.
Mahathir, who resigned as prime minister after 22 years in power, has repeatedly rejected accusations that he influenced judges' decisions and appointments, saying he would be willing to testify in court.
A panel set up by the government to probe possible judicial corruption said last month it believed that prominent judicial and government figures — including Mahathir — may have been involved in a conspiracy several years ago to manipulate the appointment of top judges.
Mahathir has had many run-ins with the government since he handed the reins to Abdullah, his hand-picked successor.
After Abdullah canceled several of Mahathir's grand projects, Mahathir began attacking Abdullah. Mahathir called for Abdullah to step down after the ruling coalition suffered heavy losses in March general elections. .... international herald tribune