by Mariam Mokhtar
Jan 14, 2013
Oh, to be a fly-on-the-wall in the home of former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad when he witnessed the outpouring of support for the KL112 rally – dubbed the People’s Uprising Rally, last Saturday.
Did his purse his lips, clench his fists and tighten his resolve to remove the weaklings in Umno? His greatest fear is that the truth will emerge, his legacy is exposed as a sham and his dynasty is castrated.
Last Saturday, about 35km away from the Merdeka Stadium, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak attended a meet-the-people rally organised by the Malaysian Indian Progressive Front (IPF), and Bernama said he was “impressed by the strong support of the IPF”. Around 15,000 people had assembled in the sleepy town of Semenyih to welcome Najib.
The PM should have known that the IPF event would have been overshadowed by KL112 and that no amount of negative spin by the mainstream English and Malay newspapers would detract from the implications of KL112.
Was this a deliberate ploy by people in Najib’s camp to undermine him? Is Najib being prepared for the big push?
The adviser(s) couldn’t have chosen a more apt location. According to Wikipedia, the town’s name is derived from ‘Sembunyi’, a word in the Negri Sembilan dialect which means ‘hide or hidden’.
The irony of Najib hiding in Semenyih couldn’t be more damaging. Malaysians know that in the past, Najib is usually found overseas whenever there is any whiff of trouble or conflict.
Like a long-playing record, Najib again reeled-off the usual promises to the predominantly Indian crowd; that he would improve Tamil schools, resolve citizenship issues, provide loans for Indians to set up businesses, get more Indians in education and the civil service.
He wanted their support in GE13 so that he could double his efforts to help them in his ‘1Malaysia’ vision. Apparently, 55 years is not sufficient to make any headway.
Najib being set up
Najib is being set up and we will probably witness his downfall. More importantly, we are seeing the unravelling of Mahathir’s work and the dismantling of his policies.
Does it matter when some people observed that there was a predominantly Malay crowd in the KL112 rally and wondered where the non-Malays were? Does everything boil down to race? Isn’t it more important that Malaysians walked with one shared purpose? Mahathir tried to divide the races, but last Saturday’s event proved him wrong.
For over 22 years, Mahathir ruled with an iron fist. He still rules the country, by proxy. During his tenure, he raised his profile and declared himself a champion of the Malays. He may have had a war of words with the west and fought economic battles with them, using trade as his weapon.
He brought the non-Malays to their knees and humiliated them with his bumiputera policies. He even forced the royal households to beg for his mercy, though none of them would like to admit it today.
When Mahathir watched the KL112 scenes unfold, he must have realised that his days are numbered; all because of Najib’s weakness.
Najib thought he could give the rakyat what they wanted, but it was too little, too late. He started off by talking about reform, but by merely paying lip service to reform without any real evidence of real reforms, Najib was the instrument of his own downfall.
He placed emphasis on sloganeering, but members of his own cabinet must have had difficulty remembering the various acronyms which crop up at an alarming rate.
When ‘1Malaysia’ took on a life of its own, it invaded every facet of our life. There was ‘1This’ and ‘1That’ or ‘1Whatever’. It made little impact on the lives of the rakyat, and people started to mock the ‘1Malaysia’ concept. He damaged his reputation further by admitting that when he first started the ‘1Malaysia’ slogan, he did not have a fixed strategy in mind.
Najib tried to be a man of the people with his ‘1Malaysia’ concept, but the response of his deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, offended many Malaysians. Did others in his cabinet secretly oppose the ‘1Malaysia’ concept, whilst seeming to play along?
He became the darling of the UN by being the “1ModerateMuslim” when he denounced extremism, despite failing to control extremists in Malaysia.
He told us to tighten our belts just before going on a spending spree for the government and his wife (FLOM). His wife talks about giving the people a chance to sample croissants, when they have difficulty putting rice on the table.
Why did Najib return hurriedly from holiday in Europe, after his audience with the Pope? Had he heard rumours that his deputy was conspiring with others in Malaysia? The strain is beginning to show, not just in Najib but in Umno, too.
Wary and weary of turncoats
Umno may have enlisted the help of so-called respected citizens, to denounce the recent KL112 rally; people like Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim, or Dr Chandra Muzaffar. These men once danced with the opposition but now sing praises for Umno. The rakyat are wary and weary of turncoats. These experts claimed that KL112 is a charade and a mockery of democracy. They are out of touch with the feelings on the ground.
Umno, which stands for United Malay National Organisation, is far from united. The cracks are beginning to show and MPs are becoming afraid, not just for their political futures but also for their freedom. Those who have aligned themselves with Mahathir are rejoicing at the prospect of holding the reins of power after Najib is toppled. That joy will be short-lived.
Najib has one staunch supporter, Rosmah Mansor; her ambition is uncontrolled, she is the stronger partner and is determined to stick with Najib because she has so much to lose. She is the driving force behind him.
Last week, Muhyiddin said that Malaysia does not need change, thus mirroring Mahathir’s sentiments of previous weeks. Muhyiddin said, “We have a good government and a good economy, so why do we need a change?”
Despite the recent exposes of high level corruption, Najib and the various agencies tasked to deal with these issues have done nothing.
So, they should not be shocked by events in Ayer Tawar in Perak, where people whose lives are allegedly blighted by corruption, have started to take the law into their own hands.
The rakyat sees that the government does not enforce the laws, but blatantly breaks them. The government and its agents act like thugs.
Ironically, the resistance to change, of Mahathir and Muhyiddin, is the driving force behind the people’s uprising which demands the fall of the Umno dictatorship at GE13.
MARIAM MOKHTAR is a non-conformist traditionalist from Perak, a bucket chemist and an armchair eco-warrior. In ‘real-speak’, this translates into that she comes from Ipoh, values change but respects culture, is a petroleum chemist and also an environmental pollution-control scientist.