Mahathir’s remarks cause for concern

— Lim Sue Goan
The Malaysian Insider
Jun 22, 2012

JUNE 22 — Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has made many shocking statements after leaving office. In January 2010, he claimed that the 9/11 terrorist attacks were staged by the US government.

In a recent speech, he openly criticised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s liberalisation policy. He said that the government was too soft in handling the Bersih rally and warned that too much freedom risked stirring an ethnic hornet’s nest. He later implied that he was not impressed by the government’s gesture to revive a Chinese independent school in Kuantan, believing that the vernacular school system has divided the country.

We should not overly discuss Mahathir’s remarks since he is no longer in office. However, it is worrying that his remarks might trigger the nerves of the party’s hawks and conservatives, resulting in more obstacles to the work of reviving the Chinese independent school in Kuantan.

During his administration, Mahathir adopted the authoritative style of leadership, which led to many disgraceful events, including Operation Lalang, suspension of judges and the movement to save government enterprises. Therefore, it has been expected that he would not agree with Najib’s transformation plans. However, Najib is the prime minister candidate of his choice. He did not severely criticise Najib like how he did Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Has he lost control recently?

Mahathir is opposed to openness and liberalisation. It shows that he has fallen behind the times. Democratisation is now a general trend, something which can’t by stopped by individuals, political parties or even governments.

He said that racial confrontation has become more intense nowadays and changes brought by liberalisation could inflame Malays. He wants to make liberalisation the scapegoat. Inharmonious racial relations are a result of racial politics, which has reduced mutual trust among the people. And he cannot not shirk the responsibility.

There are racial problems in the US and other democratic countries, too. However, black slavery might not have been overthrown without the help of democracy and the country might be facing a more serious racial problem today. A democratic system allows the Americans to openly debate, fight and resolve sensitive issues, preventing contradictions from turning into conflicts.

Therefore, liberalisation is not the cause of racial polarisation. Without liberalisation, the country would not be able to retain talents and attract foreign investment, causing the economy to shrink. The country will fail to move forward and the people will turn conservative and extreme.

Similarly, vernacular schools are not the obstacles of communication among young people. Instead, it is politics that has caused mistrust among them.

Vernacular schools show the country’s advantage of diversity. If mother-tongue education is suppressed for so-called national unity, it is actually just turning the clock back.

Najib’s transformation plans are heading in the right direction. The country will never get rid of the middle-income trap without liberalisation. The BN and Umno might not be able to keep power in the next general election without democratisation.

Even Myanmar has announced a second round of reforms to attract foreign investment. We have no reason to continue implementing a protection policy.

However, some people, particularly people living in remote areas, still believe in Mahathir, while the conservatives and hawks who have kept quiet “for the sake of the overall situation” might also have received orders.

Hopefully, all these are just unfounded speculation and the country will not stop its pace of transformation. Otherwise, we might fall into troubled times even before the election is scheduled. —

  1. #1 by sotong on Friday, 22 June 2012 - 4:30 pm

    ” vernacular school system has divided the country”.

    It is his bad leadership, gross mismanagement, divisive politics of race and religion, corruption and etc. that divided the people and caused enormous permanent damage to the country.

    He and BN lost the plot long ago…..our country has yet to start the process of recovery and reconciliation.

  2. #2 by Bigjoe on Friday, 22 June 2012 - 4:35 pm

    Mahathir is a HATE-merchant. In fact he created an entire political industry around hate-centred product. Haters will always hate – there is no surprise here why he is at it again and will always do. The answer to hate sellers is to make them unimportant – those that get them to talk whether intentionally or otherwise are just as guilty as the hate sellers themselves, just make up your mind that anything he says is not worth your attention and it will all go away..

  3. #3 by Godfather on Friday, 22 June 2012 - 5:02 pm

    … kept this specimen alive so that we can be tortured by his senseless remarks. Why oh why oh why must the country suffer this way ?

  4. #4 by yhsiew on Friday, 22 June 2012 - 5:25 pm

    ///Mahathir is opposed to openness and liberalisation.///

    It is because he wants to continue riding on the gravy train.

  5. #5 by dagen wanna "ABU" on Friday, 22 June 2012 - 6:25 pm

    CrazyO’Mamak is at it again. Never mind. He is doing us a great favour. He did the same during sleepyhead’s time didnt he. Let him go on. He is only hastening umno’s slide down the hill.

  6. #6 by a g on Friday, 22 June 2012 - 6:47 pm

    TDM: “Why I am here today? Well, you see, that guy…err…apa nama…err… Ali is not free today.., so, that’s why I am here !”

  7. #7 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Friday, 22 June 2012 - 8:34 pm

    This Old man, he plays one…

    Leave him to his games.

  8. #8 by good coolie on Friday, 22 June 2012 - 8:58 pm

    I wish Dr. Mahatir had taken the other turn in life and had practised medicine rather than politics.

  9. #9 by sheriff singh on Saturday, 23 June 2012 - 12:04 am

    ” …vernacular school system has divided the country..”

    Was this matter part of the ‘Social Contract’ and if so, isn’t Mahathir now rocking the boat? Is the existence of vernacular schools permitted under the Constitution and if so, wouldn’t Mahathir be challenging the provisions of the Constitution?

    ”During his administration, Mahathir adopted the authoritative style of leadership, which led to many disgraceful events, including Operation Lalang, suspension of judges and the movement to save government enterprises.”

    Mahathir has claimed that it was the Police who advised and wanted Operation Lallang. He acceded to their request as the Police ‘had guns’ (or something like that). So who was ‘authoritarian’, Mahathir or the Police? Certainly Mahathir condoned it as it was to his advantage.

    ‘He said that the government was too soft in handling the Bersih rally…’

    This reinforces the view that Mahathir was indeed the authoritarian leader as he was and should be held responsible for many things. He was in charge and in control all the time, nobody else.

    ‘Mahathir is opposed to openness and liberalisation.’

    He has always been so, even during his 22 years in office, if one were to analyse his ‘rule’ deeply.

    Now out of office, he just can’t stand what is going on currently and is irritated by them so he voices out his frustrations almost everyday now. He wishes to be in charge again.

  10. #10 by Taxidriver on Saturday, 23 June 2012 - 1:45 am

    He is drooling to become the prime minister again to lay a solid foundation for his son to be future pm. He is having sleepless nights because of fear that a new govt. will ‘dig’ into past wrongdoings. But he cannot escape for long as the saying goes ” what is done during night time will be seen when day comes” There is a price to pay for everything one does.

  11. #11 by Taxidriver on Saturday, 23 June 2012 - 1:57 am

    Everyone can see his influence is dwindling but he himself cannot. Someone better remind him of his defeat in the kubang pasu UMNO B branch elections. Also, during one meeting shoes were thrown at him by his own party members! Yet he is shamelessly talking like he is UMNO B’s number 1 man.

  12. #12 by monsterball on Saturday, 23 June 2012 - 4:29 am

    Mahathir love dirty politics.
    Let him keep talking through his butt.
    What is important is that the voters know who he is and all his talks cannot get voters…especially Muslims.. to support his party.
    He is a gone case with a big mouth.
    The fact that he is still talking and not retiring shows how desperate he is to talk anything to help Najib and his sons.

  13. #13 by Sallang on Saturday, 23 June 2012 - 9:51 am

    ” …vernacular school system has divided the country..”

    What ‘bull shit’ only the rural Malays will believe him.
    However, it is not wrong to say that those who attended Private Chinese High Schools,are prepared to further their studies in Spore,(Johoreans & Malaccans) or Taiwan, because the government will not allocate places for them in local colleges or universities.
    It is the government who practices, Divide to Rule, not vernacular school system that divide the country.
    When PR takes over, do track down ALL who had attended BTN courses, because these are the people who will cause divisions, and bring down PR rule.

  14. #14 by on cheng on Saturday, 23 June 2012 - 3:06 pm

    This old man had lost his sense !!
    It should be that the Rakyat be firm with the Govt n politician, if they do, n talk nonsense, kick them out by ballot box !!!
    May consider charge him under sedition act !!

  15. #15 by Loh on Saturday, 23 June 2012 - 10:02 pm

    ///He said that racial confrontation has become more intense nowadays and changes brought by liberalisation could inflame Malays. He wants to make liberalisation the scapegoat. Inharmonious racial relations are a result of racial politics, which has reduced mutual trust among the people. And he cannot not shirk the responsibility.///–the author

    Mamakthir is proud of the fact that he has made Malaysia thoroughly racially polarized, and he tries now to ensure that no changes would ever be made to make Malaysia 1Malaysia. That was why he criticized 1Malaysia even without knowing that Najib utilized the slogan 1Malaysia for winning non-Malay votes and nothing else. Mamakthir utilized the same tactic of lip-services such as vision 2020 but because he was over protective of his pet project to keep racial animosity active in the country that he feared momentarily that Najib was bent on reform.

    The founders of Malaysia considered that Article 153 would protect Malays, and they considered Article 160 would serve the purpose. Unluckily for them, because Article 153 did not get a review in 1972, Article 160 has ample time to bring up a group of constitutional Malays. Najib even declared a person from Sabah whose racial origin was unknown as Malay. Thus Malays, constitutional or neo-constitutional are brought in to share Malay’s special position. If the founders sincerely believed Malays had no fight for non-Malays, Malays could not compete with Indians. Indian Muslims calling themselves Malays are included as UMNO members. If these Mamaks only utilized their own personal resources, it was difficult for Malays to compete with mamaks. With political powers under Mamaks, what chance have Malays. Now Malays truly have to fear whether they are endangered when the terms now refer to all and sundry so long as they are Muslims. Malays cannot restrict the term that describe their race to the people who they can recognize as Malay, by sight. Have Malay’s rights been protected?

    Mamakthir is aware of the feelings of the true Malays. UMNO Malays in AAB’s constituency for example are furious that Mamaks overpower them. Mamakputra’s words are intended to divert attention.

  16. #16 by Loh on Saturday, 23 June 2012 - 10:14 pm

    ///“If we die without paying out debts our souls will be tortured in the afterlife ” said Najib ostensibly referring to PR’s stand on student loans under the National Higher Education Fund PTPTN.///–MalaysiaInsider

    It is bad to forgive loans taken by students. It creates moral hazards, and students involved might think that together, such as voting for Pakatan now can bring them immediate benefits. In future they could think that together they can always negate on promises.

    It is quite a different matters to help ease the burdens of students in repaying the loans they have taken. But to announce something which Najib seized on, and he has strong arguments on it, is shooting at PR’s own legs. Don’t PR leaders discuss important matters before they are announced?

  17. #17 by yhsiew on Saturday, 23 June 2012 - 11:17 pm

    Sorry to digress.

    Big time racist is giving another racial lecture.

    Muhyiddin urges Malays to unite against threats from within

  18. #18 by Loh on Sunday, 24 June 2012 - 10:41 am

    ///JOHOR BARU June 23 — Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin called on the Malays to rise and unite to defend themselves against threats from certain quarters within their own race.///–MalaysianInsider

    If Muhyiddin meant the certain quarters as constitutional Malays, then he is spot on. But Muhyiddin is an opportunist who depended on constitutional Malay for his position.

  19. #19 by waterfrontcoolie on Sunday, 24 June 2012 - 3:04 pm

    You have someone whose EGO was hurt long ago, with that impaired feeling, he had to prove that the world had cheated him of being recognised as a Statesman. One way of doing this is to distort where he could, the real state of affairs by having ‘Negotiated Tenders’ where he could hide everything except the conclusions. Sad to say, the results had proven him, that he could not simply create DNA by choice! DNA takes time to nuture and sowed; with all his Mega projects proved to be Major Failures, the last thing he has is to create fears which of course have been implanted the day he was in power! Good and Respectable Leaders create Confidence to the people; Only Attila, Hitler and Stalin created fears and chaos to enslave their people.

  20. #20 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Sunday, 24 June 2012 - 7:12 pm

    Mahathir, what a loaf of nonsense!

  21. #21 by good coolie on Monday, 25 June 2012 - 12:53 am

    Build the good doctor a fine statue of himself, put it in the middle of a fountain in the middle of Putra Jaya, and forget about him!

  22. #22 by rockdaboat on Monday, 25 June 2012 - 1:03 am

    I don’t understand why people should be worried by some utterance from a senile old cock.

  23. #23 by Loh on Monday, 25 June 2012 - 9:49 am

    rockdaboat :
    I don’t understand why people should be worried by some utterance from a senile old cock.

    It is because Najib takes his utterance to heart, and Perkasa members jump at his suggestions.

  24. #24 by Taxidriver on Monday, 25 June 2012 - 11:28 am

    ” During my 22 years as PM, rakyat of all races were united. They were happy with the way I govern. If not for me, where got PTT ( petronas twin towers ) ? Where got NS Highway, where got Proton Saga ? But after I retired to give other people a chance, we have all sorts of nonsense-Reformasi lah, Bersih lah, Lynas lah …….. When I was PM, Malaysia was respected by foreign countries ( disegani oleh negara asing ). Of course, many western countries were jealous of our success. Now you look at UMNO ( B ). To get elected, you need to have a lot of money to buy votes. This trend is very unhealthy. Bright and capable who don’t have that kind of money don’t stand a chance. That’s why we see only half-past6 leading the party. All these started when AAB took over from me. Fortunately I am retired now, otherwise I also cannot win election because I have no money to give. My only source of income comes from my Japanese roti in Pulau Langkawi. That’s why I keep reminding the people especially the Malays to vote for UMNO candidates who are not corrupt. They must unite or they lose power and become hamba instead of TUAN. Then I sure die,die in jail lah ” – TJ Press ( Tanjong Rambutan Press ) interview with Dr. Mamakuty

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