Mariam Mokhtar | August 16, 2013
Mahathir fed the Malays a false premise that Malaysia was their land and that the world owed them a living.
The political analysts who postulate that former PM Dr Mahathir Mohamad prevented reform within Umno Baru are wrong; Mahathir is the major obstacle for any meaningful reform in Malaysia, not just for Umno Baru.
Like it or not, we are all Mahathir’s children – that man and his policies have affected all of us, in one way or another, in the same manner the behaviour of an errant and irresponsible father, will impact on his children.
Mahathir’s existing policies make non-Malays despise many Malays, because the Malays are reticent about speaking up against the injustices and attacks against other religions and cultures.
Mahathir’s policies make Malays arrogant and so they demand that those who refuse to bow to Malay needs and Muslim doctrine, should leave the country or have their citizenship revoked.
Mahathir’s racist policies may unite all in Umno Baru, but it is the nation which is left divided. Mahathir may not be in government, but his henchmen ensure that his legacy is preserved and that his family dictatorship continues with his son, Mukhriz.
Mahathir is like the prime minister for life, who refuses to leave office with dignity. His supporters are so deferent to him, that they treat him like a de-facto monarch.
The impact of the Iranian revolution in the late 70s also marked a turning point in our history. In 1979, Ayatollah Khomeini swept into Iran and the Iranians embraced him having suffered years of oppression at the hands of the corrupt Shah of Iran, a puppet of America.
The resurgence of Islam throughout the world, may have energised PAS but it was Mahathir who felt threatened. He had to make Umno Baru more Islamic than PAS, in an attempt to entice the Malays who had drifted to PAS.
Mahathir fed the Malays a false premise that Malaysia was their land and that the world owed them a living. He tinkered with the education system, so that Malays became uncompetitive.
To proceed unhindered, Mahathir removed the controls which should have prevented corruption. With his men in the judiciary, the police, the civil service and the media, these institutions voiced only his thoughts and suppressed all other opinions.
Mahathir’s closest allies are beholden to him. He gave them an economic leg-up and like the transformation which Cinderella underwent, they became billionaires overnight. Why bite the hand that feeds them? Reform is the last thing on their minds.
A confused sore loser
Further down the Umno Baru pecking order, the party member or politician may not realise that he is part of a slick well-organised syndicate, run along the lines of the mafia.
One who is loyal to the party will be amply rewarded, but one who decides to opt out of the “family” is sought-out and destroyed.
As long as he is loyal to the party, he will be afforded protection and riches, as well as power. With this in mind, why would Umno Baru politicians and active supporters desire reform?
With apologies to American Express cards, the Umno Baru slogan might as well have been “Making the Impossible, Possible”. How else would a TNB meter-reader become a Cabinet minister? How else would a son of a minister have a special role in the Tourism Ministry? How else would members of this elite club get away with crimes ranging from financial mismanagement, abuse of taxpayers’ money, sexism, racism, nepotism, cronyism, extremism, murder and money-laundering?
Would a CEO of a public listed company dare to admit that it is his prerogative to say when he will retire?
All these injustices happen because the rakyat are compliant. Mahathir triumphs because few dare oppose him.
In the past few days, Mahathir said that in a mature democracy, losers should accept defeat and wait for the next election to try again.
For a start, Malaysia is not a mature democracy. In fact, it is not a democracy. Elections are rigged. Leaders refuse to leave willingly. The will of the people is not respected. He should have also said that in a mature democracy, the ruling party does not cheat in the elections.
Mahathir is a sore-loser. When he lost to a PAS candidate in 1969, he blamed the Chinese for switching allegiance from Umno to PAS. Did he have a hand in instigating the race-riots of 13 May? By the end of the year, he was sacked from the Umno Supreme Council and expelled from Umno. He then wrote his racist book, “The Malay Dilemma”.
When Mahathir and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah locked horns in an Umno election in 1987, Umno was declared an illegal organisation following litigation. Mahathir acted with venom when he won by a tiny margin; he purged people from his ministry, he stripped the judiciary of its independence, he ordered a crackdown on his detractors. Mahathir does not accept defeat willingly.
At a press conference organised after the Perdana Global Peace Foundation conference on the Palestinian cause, Mahathir said the rakyat had to pay for the price of freedom with an increase in gun crime and shootings.
Is Mahathir a little confused? He equates freedom with an increase in shooting. Does he think the Palestinians, who are being shot at and who do some of the shooting, have much freedom?
260,000 hardcore criminals, 250,000 Shiites
For those who are unaware, the Emergency Ordinance (EO) is similar to the Internal Security Act (ISA) and people can be detained without trial.
Suaram once claimed that the EO can be ‘10 times worse than the infamous ISA…’. The police use it to detain or restrict the movements of communists and suspected criminals, when the lack of evidence means it is difficult to convict them.
Is Mahathir trying to scare the rakyat into demanding a return of the EO? Does he know something we don’t?
Will Opposition politicians and activists be conveniently arrested and silenced? Are these ploys to install his son as prime minister?
When Hishammuddin Hussein was the Home Minister, he claimed that the public only perceived a rise in crime. Within weeks of becoming Home Minister the new man on the job, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, had uncovered 260,000 hardcore criminals.
Either Hishammuddin was sleeping on the job or Zahid has really tackled his work with utmost dedication.
As we approach the Umno Baru conference, crime has escalated and we are told that Malaysia has 260,000 hardcore criminals and 250,000 Shiites.
Are these numbers used by Mahathir in his attempt to convince the Umno Baru delegates that Najib is a failure so that Mahathir’s men will be chosen to replace him?
When asked for his views about the Shiites in Malaysia, Mahathir said that there were “better ways to deal with them”.
Has he forgotten how he once dealt with a group of Muslims in Memali, in Kedah? Innocent villagers were killed because he did not know of a better way to approach them.
The MCA is now obsolete, the Indians have all but rejected the MIC, so when will Malays seriously think about their future and reject Umno Baru, the party that is Mahathir’s creation?
Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.