KUALA LUMPUR: Former premier Mahathir Mohamad yesterday persisted in claims that the Sept 11 attacks were staged, suggesting that the collapse of the World Trade Center was the result of controlled demolition.
His latest posting on his widely read blog cites conspiracy theorists' claims that the twin towers had collapsed in 'too clean' a manner.
'The collapse of the two towers was typical of demolition of skyscrapers by experts in America,' he wrote.
Tun Dr Mahathir also claimed to have met a janitor who worked in the twin towers. The man, he wrote, had said there were explosions that appeared to be unrelated to the plane crash.
The remarks came right after he said on Wednesday in a speech that the Sept 11 attacks were staged as an excuse to 'mount attacks on the Muslim world', adding that 'if they can make Avatar, they can make anything'.
The remarks have drawn sharp criticism from analysts, opposition politicians and netizens alike. They could not come at a worse time, said Dr Ibrahim Suffian, director of Merdeka Centre, an independent pollster.
Noting that they would not help the country's image in a time of religious tension, Dr Ibrahim said Dr Mahathir should have known the difference between the fiction of the movie Avatar and the reality of the attack.
'Conspiracy theories aside, people actually died in that suicide attack. Dr Mahathir's statement is disrespectful to the victims for it to be described that way, with reference to a Hollywood movie,' he said.
The statement also drew criticism from opposition politician Lim Kit Siang, who said that Dr Mahathir would have created 'an international incident' between Malaysia and the United States if he was still the prime minister.
The former premier's statement also sparked strong reactions from netizens, with many slamming him for his statements on their blogs and on Twitter.
Malaysian Assembly of Mosque Youth (Pemuda Masjid) de facto leader Mohd Nawar Ariffin took a more neutral stance, saying that more discussions should be held on the former premier's allegations.
The US Embassy has not commented on the matter.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
[An example of people choosing to believe what they want to believe. Dr M and the Iranian President should form a club. They are two of a kind.]