September 16, 2015
COMMENT: Tun Dr. Mahathir is learning his lessons the hard way. I recall some years ago at a luncheon speech he gave at a function organised by MIGHT (a government unit in the Prime Minister’s Department) which he created to spearhead technology and innovation, he said that he needed power because he wanted to get things done. Indeed, he got a lot of things done.
By sheer determination and ruthlessness, he broke barriers along the way to become the most powerful Prime Minister in our country’s history. He was the top honcho who could not be questioned or challenged. Woe betide those who dare. Anwar Ibrahim can attest to that fact.
The good Bomoh, as his close associates would label him, knew it all. He had a cure for everything from pins and paper clips to The Malay Dilemma and Vision 2020. As a man in a hurry, he would not tolerate contrarian or dissenting views. He had no time for small talk. You were for or against him.
How was he able to cling to power for 22+ years? He achieved his goal by amending the constitution to create a powerful Executive Branch, subjugating all institutions of governance including Parliament, the Judiciary and the civil service and creating a culture of fear and intimidation. He answered to no one. Malaysia was his fiefdom.
Recall Ops Lalang (1987), the indignities suffered by Lord President Tun Salleh Abas (1988) and the removal of Tun Musa Hitam and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. He also created UMNO Baru with a powerful UMNO President who could not be challenged so that he could remain in power for as long as he pleased.
Today, at 90 years, he is a tragic figure seeking to remain relevant and yet trapped in a system of his own making. There is nothing he can do now. His fight to remove Najib Razak from office has failed because his erstwhile mentee has the power while he is just an ordinary citizen like you and I acting singlehandedly without much influence on the course of Malaysian politics. We can make all the noises we want–we must continue to do that– but we must accept the reality that unless UMNO acts, Prime Minister Najib remains in power.
Our options are limited. Even a smoking gun like the rm2.6 billion scandal can be brushed aside by the new Attorney-General, Apandi Ali and others. Yes, indeed, what goes around comes around. Power is not permanent, and usually it comes at a price. Allow me to quote William Shakespeare.–Din Merican
They That Have Power to Hurt and Will Do None
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
THEY that have power to hurt and will do none,
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow,
They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces
And husband Nature’s riches from expense:
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed out braves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
Message to the Mahathirs–what goes around comes around
by Tajuddin Rosli
(Tun) Mahathir Mohamad is at his wits’ end. He appears to have played all his aces but nothing seems to move Prime Minister Najib Razak. Even members of UMNO have started to desert him. This is all eating into his ego.
Mahathir’s special appearance at the Bersih rally was the act of a politically desperate man whose ambition of seeing his son become Prime Minister was fast vanishing. Previously, he referred to Bersih demonstrators as mules and fools. He even said the Malays were stupid for joining the rallies. It now looks like the Malays have become intelligent enough not to turn up in huge numbers for Bersih 4.0 and Mahathir has become stupid for being among the demonstrators.
Is this a case of what goes around comes around?Members of the Mahathir family are resorting to all sorts of ploys to stay relevant. In 2009, Mukhriz Mahathir said that constitutionally, a non-Malay or non-Bumiputera could become Prime Minister and that the Malays should not have a problem with that if the chosen person was a true leader and could take care of the interests of everyone. While it was definitely a commendable stand, did Mukhriz really mean it?
Consider Mukhriz’s statement in the light of his father’s continuing attempt to scare the Malays into thinking they would lose power if the Opposition were to form the government. The former Prime Minister has also claimed that nothing good would come from Chinese dominance in politics and the economy. Are father and son playing good cop and bad cop as they fumble about to stay relevant?
Marina Mahathir, one of Malaysia’s most prominent human rights activists, has never questioned her father’s dictatorship, but is now talking about Najib’s alleged crimes. She should dig deep into the history books and read about the formation of UMNO Baru. She should also study how it came to be that such immense power has come to be vested in the UMNO President.
Recently, Dr Siti Hasmah voiced her concerns over the current political scenario. It was probably the first time that she talked politics. As a concerned mother, she definitely could not remain silent in the face of the threat Mukhriz is facing in his political career.
I have two questions for the Mahathir family. How does it feel to be helpless against the government? How does it feel to be ridiculed and mocked by the same party that once empowered you? What you’re feeling is exactly how the entire nation felt when Mahathir ruled the country for 22 years with an iron fist.
Welcome to our world.
Tajuddin Rosli is a FMT reader.