… so how come he didn’t understand airport currency regulations when he was caught bringing in hard cash, lots of it,  into Australia?

Adds blog reader Sam who spotted this report:

If you had observed during the weeks and days leading to the Umno General Assembly and elections, Dr M continued to push delegates not to elect leaders who have a very poor command of English. From nowhere, a deputy president aspirant, Mat Taib, comes out defending that he has an immaculate command of the English Language.

Mahathir was quoted in Malaysiakini as saying:

“One of the candidates couldn’t write in English, he couldn’t speak English and therefore (that was why) he did something wrong in Australia because he could not understand English. My choice is Muhyiddin (Yassin).”

This excerpt from The Star

Published: Saturday March 21, 2009 MYT 7:58:00 PM
‘I can speak in English,’ says Muhammad Taib
By ROYCE CHEAH

KUALA LUMPUR: Umno deputy-president candidate, Senator Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, is aware that there are people talking about his apparent lack of fluency in English.

In answering questions at the Umno overseas club leadership course yesterday, he not only took a swipe at his critics but also proceeded to list his achievements to prove that he had a good grasp of the language.

The question posed to him by one of the students was that Muhammad’s credibility was doubtful considering he was not fluent in English.

“I am aware that there are people talking about it. But this is just a script that normally comes out and it will change when someone supports a certain party.”

Muhammad said that he was the only Malay who graduated from Universiti Malaya with a first class honours in History in 1979.

“All my previous exams were also conducted in English – the London Cambridge Examinations and the Malaysian Cambridge Examinations.”

Muhammad added that when he was the Selangor Mentri Besar, he had managed to produce dozens of millionaires and was also responsible for bringing in investments from Taiwan, Korea and California.

“The thing is, I am only the Rural and Regional Development Minister now which is why you would only be reading small stories about me.

“Try and give me the International Trade and Industries Ministry and you’ll see,” he quipped.