Twins of evil

by Mariam Mokhtar
Feb 12, 2013

He was a Machiavellian ruler who is alleged to have corrupted his way to the top, and became Malaysia’s longest serving prime minister, but will the historians have to revise Malaysian history?

Some argue that former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, who ruled Malaysia with an iron fist for 22 years, should be remembered as a visionary leader and a tireless administrator. Others disagree and call him a ruthless dictator who silenced his critics and allowed corruption, cronyism and nepotism to flourish.

Today, Mahathir is as divisive as ever and despite being retired, has managed to upstage the current Prime Minister, Najib Abdul Razak, many times during the latter’s tenure.

Najib could have ordered an investigation based on Mahathir’s own admission about the influx of illegal immigrants being given citizenship provided they voted for the ruling party; but Najib is more scared of Mahathir. If Najib had not been weighted down by so much baggage, he could have silenced Mahathir once and for all.

Many Malaysian housewives are familiar with the ‘Buku 555′; the four inches by three inches notebook in which they would record purchases from their travelling grocer. Mahathir is alleged to have a ‘Buku 555′, which is worth its weight in gold; it allegedly lists the wrongdoings of his cabinet ministers and cronies.

Few ministers would dare act honourably, fearful of the release of potentially explosive material which could end their political careers and jeopardise their ill-gotten fortunes.

Four decades ago, Mahathir used the Malays to further his own political ambitions. He and others realised that the Malays were in deep trouble. So, out came the economic policies which were supposed to help them but which only benefitted his close allies and family members.

Now, Mahathir is again using the backwardness of the Malays to urge them to vote for BN. He used emotive language such as “The British managed to conquer Malaya without losing a single soldier,” and that the Malay rulers had a hand in this.

If Mahathir’s memory was not so bad, he would have remembered his history lessons and known that the foreign invading forces had superior firepower. Perhaps the Malay rulers wanted to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. It is disingenuous and disrespectful of Mahathir to blame the Malay rulers in this flippant manner.

A few hundred years earlier, at the invasion of Malacca in 1511, the certain traders valued their trading rights more than their honour and betrayed the Malacca sultan, thus forcing him and his sons to retreat into the jungles and flee to Perak, Johor and Sumatra.

Last week, Mahathir accused the Malays of relinquishing their economic power to non-Malays. He said, “We let immigrants take over because we do not want to work and do not want to learn to do new things… we prefer to fish and plant padi.” Ironically, most of the immigrants were brought in by Mahathir in his ‘Project M’.

Dependence culture

It was Umno which created this dependence culture and it was Umno’s affirmative action economic policies which made the Malay less competitive. Umno sold them the idea that the Malays were the greatest and they believed that they could achieve success, without hard work.

Today, Najib has carried this trend of affirmative action further, by giving them cash. When will the Malay become independent of government handouts?

Perhaps, Mahathir’s most despicable act is the call for the constitution to be amended, so that Bersih co-chairperson S Ambiga can be stripped of her citizenship. She did not admit hundreds of thousands of foreigners to our shores. Mahathir did.

Umno does not respect diversity nor does it encourage fairness. It has reduced Malaysian politics to salacious entertainment.

Najib has appeared on television in Chinese New Year adverts dressed in Chinese costume and beating drums. In a radio advertisement, he speaks Mandarin with his son. This induced many to switch off their radios.

At Thaipusam, why did Najib not carry a kavadi and get pierced? Is the Indian vote not important? Did Najib think that doling out packets of rice to the Indians was sufficient? At Christmas, why did Najib not don a Father Christmas costume and dole out his BR1M vouchers from his sack of goodies?

It is time Najib stopped treating politics as a reality television show. If he wanted to get the public on his side, he should get a firm grip on his leadership, and punish the people who are responsible for police brutality, corruption and abuse of power.

Instead, he protects those who are guilty. No one has been made accountable, no one has been sacked, and no one has been shamed.

When Mahathir said that BN had to win a two-thirds majority in GE13, he was issuing a warning to Najib and to the greater public, especially the Malays. Najib had the audacity to remind the opposition not to create chaos should it lose the general election and yet, at press conferences, when he was asked if BN would agree to a smooth transition of power to the winner, Najib would not comment. He would just walk out and abruptly terminate the session.

Whatever the outcome of GE13, Mahathir already has a musical named after him, ‘Tun Mahathir’. Dance routines and songs depict his life from his childhood to his premiership; though it is more of a fairy tale than a musical. None of the corruption, cronyism and nepotism which flourished under his rule, are featured.

According to the Petronas blurb, the Twin Towers which dominate the KL skyline are supposed to symbolise modernity and a progressive nation. They are supposed to be the brainchild and inspiration of Mahathir and T Ananda Krishnan. The outline of the towers resembles the letter ‘M’ for Malaysia.

Who knows, one day, some sycophant might say that the ‘M’ stands for Mahathir and they will be renamed the Mahathir Towers.

How awful it would be if, every time we see the twin towers, we were reminded only of the twin evils of corruption and cronyism.


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.

  1. #1 by yhsiew on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 6:27 pm

    ///If Najib had not been weighted down by so much baggage, he could have silenced Mahathir once and for all.///

    This is Najib’s famous motto, “I help you, you help me”. If I do not hold you responsible for your misdeeds, you too, must not hold me responsible for my misdeeds.

  2. #2 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 7:04 pm

    Mahathir tokkok again.

    Why does it take him 30 years to realise and to plan a stategy for Bumiputra participation in Petronas? Why only now after all the protests from Bumi chambers of Commerce!

    Plain stupidity and incompetence. The entire Petronas Board sounds fishy and finding for excuses. They should be sacked.

    Why foreigners and not Malaysians? Why not transfer of technology and equity participATION with foreign expertise to gain advanced skills.

    You don’t have to be a rocket scientist – more like an idiot – to know such basics for the good of Malaysia!

    UMNO politicians tokkok clever. Real work don’t know!

    • #3 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 7:55 pm

      Only those few get to become leader of a country. Most are just ordinary people. Is it easy for you to ask your child to do something ?

  3. #4 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 7:15 pm

    Kudos to ice cream seller for a well -written piece. Actually, you should give up selling ice cream and continue your writing career. I think it is time Mahathir gives up his writing and speaking and take over selling ice cream and breadmaking. At least that way, we know he will be contributing positively to the national GDP.

  4. #5 by ENDANGERED HORNBILL on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 7:20 pm

    I have re-read Mandela vs Mahathir.
    Mahathir should read this and then weep buckets if he has any conscience. 22+ years of nonsense from this ex-PM.

    And he has the cheek to even compare and criticise LKY, whose fa*t he is not worthy to smell.

  5. #6 by gofortruth on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 7:26 pm

    Early Selangor Poll?
    That would do BN a big favor to unleash their “phantom” voters at full force, no?
    Pakatan Rakyat scoring own goal, no?

  6. #7 by SENGLANG on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 8:31 pm

    BN has lost its political senses by now. BN leaders have got it all wrong in the eye of the voters. The main cause it simply they have to accept the rule of common sense. They use sweet sticks and at the same time they also use threat to confront with the voters. Why many Malaysian wants is simple indeed and they all know but just refuse and chose to bury their head in sand. They refuse to accept the reality may be simply after 50 over years of rule, they still think they can be indispensable.

    MCA latest threat was that Pakatan more friendly to middle east and less on China thus the relationship with China will deteriorated if Pakatan enter Putra Jaya. It seems that MCA has nothing to offer now.

  7. #8 by Ray9393 on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 9:12 pm

    Already 50 over years under BN and where are we heading? In other sensible country, this government would have been changed many times if there are worthy opposition parties. Now, with such a strong and capable opposition, why not change now. This is it, if we truly love Malaysia.

  8. #9 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 13 February 2013 - 11:49 pm

    As Anwar said, the 4th PM had sleepless nights; indeed he had and has with his lalest plead not to change the Gomen in haste? So that all his cronies and family members could enjoy those billions squeezed out of the coffer through the back-door? If indeed, such people will have sleepless nights then, all Malaysians must make sure they do! Through out all these months, not even ONE BN leader has comeout to speak out against the evil of corruption not even those supposedly teaching the salvation of the soul! If UMNO has northing to offer in term of policy, what can you expect from MCA, MIC or GERAKAN? Zero! All we hear is the old record of CSL trying to frighten the Community of PAS practices. The people have heard enough of what PAS could do and they have also decided that they will take their chances with PAS and their partners rather then with UMNO and BN! In spite of all the -GATES inssues, they still pretend as if nothing evil has happened by asking their Toilet Papers not to print them and hoping that the people of Malaysia will for get them after the GE! This is indeed insulting to ALL Malaysians

  9. #10 by Loh on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 1:16 am

    /// Najib had the audacity to remind the opposition not to create chaos should it lose the general election and yet, at press conferences, when he was asked if BN would agree to a smooth transition of power to the winner, Najib would not comment. He would just walk out and abruptly terminate the session.///–the author

    Najib wants the threat of May 13 to remain. He considered a promise of smooth transition would lose votes from useless MCA supporters.

  10. #11 by Noble House on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 3:03 am

    The rots start from the head down as the saying goes. All It takes was one man and 22 years of his rules to destroy everything that was good about the country and left her in ruins for others to pick up the pieces.

    Mahathir handpicked all his lieutenants to helm every institution during his administration. The more tainted they are, the better it was for him to cast his shadow all over them. Musa Hitam tried to be different but failed. DSAI got the worse. Even Ong Tee Kiat got ousted from his chair for trying to come clean in the MCA. That explained why Malaysia is in such a pathetic state today under UMNO/BN continuous rule. This government has lost its credibility and no longer has the legitimacy to rule the country.

  11. #12 by monsterball on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 3:52 am

    I love listening and reading Mariam Mokhtar speeches.
    ‘Semangat 45″ folded…and she stays loyal..fighting for freedom.
    What a fantastic Freedom Fighter she is.
    Concerning Mahathir….he could fool…bluff and con Malaysians…especially the Muslims…in his 22 years…and each year passes on…his twisting…turning…cruel personality…all exposed and each year…voters want to vote BN out.
    He read the signals….and retired.
    Did he really retire??
    To sum up who his Mahathir??….so many labels…so many titles given to him….but best is from ex Chief Judge of Sabah…..saying…..he is the devil reincarnate that Malaysia is unfortunately to have…to hold and to deal with.

  12. #13 by chengho on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 8:10 am

    the political equation will be back to business as usual when Pas members moving to UMNO , and Anwar retire , then only the majority of chinese embrace BN back , we like to play russian roulette

  13. #14 by sotong on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 8:38 am

    One cannot build a nation with racist and discriminating policies for so long and not to expect the permanent, damaging and far reaching consequences on the economy, social cohesion of various races and country.

  14. #15 by Winston on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 8:53 am

    Mariam, don’t be overly worried.
    Come this 13th GE, we will do all that is necessary to ensure that all these Devils will be sent to Hell!
    Where they belong!!

  15. #16 by lee tai king (previously dagen) on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 9:17 am

    Say what you want mariam but I think right now and actually for some time already umno ppl esp those higher up ones are engaged in a battle of MADness – Mutually Assured Destruction. You see, the great mexican stand-off in umno has lost its deterent effect and is no longer working. Jib’s not doing anything to check monsterO’mamak, you said? Dont worry about that. Someone in jib’s gang surely would.

    What we are seeing at the moment really is a battle of DEVIL vs DEVIL.

  16. #17 by Jeffrey on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 9:22 am

    The multiracial/cultural Malaysia that the ‘Machiavellian ruler’ wants and has laid the political economic and socio- cultural foundation for is one where her peoples are divided by ethnic and religious identities’ and boundaries, between “us and them”, between entitlement and privilege of one and disadvantage and detriment of the other….All for what? It is not looking out for interest of all or the country in longer term but for that of self and immediate family members and friends. This whole mind set that he has nurtured and now still defends is out of sync with the values of the developed and globalised world in which diversity fairness and equal opportunities are valued in an individual’s merits and talents, irrespective of boundaries of race colour religious affiliation or political persuasion, in order to bring out the best in all peoples to higher levels of achievements in all fields of human endeavour, without which the country/society instead of progressing to a higher level of organisation will only regress to the backwaters, and eventually flounder as a failed state in which its citizenry are by majority poor, in conflict with one another, and in mental servitude and backwardness.

  17. #18 by Bigjoe on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 9:53 am

    I would not ask Najib to put Kavadi and pierce himself – he may do it – god knows what his private predelictions given he rumours all his career. Now if you say why don’t Najib ask Rosmah to carry the kavadi and pierce herself – that I think goes to what is wrong with Najib-Rosmah team..

  18. #19 by Cinapek on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 10:48 am

    Of late it is increasingly obvious that TDM has upped the ante in his racial rhetoric. Perhaps it is due to the revelations of the Sabah “Project M” or maybe his ground intelligence feedback that BN is in deep trouble in the next GE that prompted his go-for-broke verbal diarrheoa.

    He must have come to the conclusion that the Chinese votes are all but lost. As for the Indian votes, any gains since 2008 are miniscule and would not have any significant impact on the total outcome of the elections. So rather than chasing a lost cause he has decided to use this scenario to BN’s advantage by demonising the non Malays(which is lost already anyway) and hoping this will strike a chord with the Malay fence sitters and hopefully win their votes over to BN.

    His analysis cannot be too far wrong. The EU Commissioner and the Palestinians meeting with PR seem to suggest that they sense already who will be in power after GE13. And Psy’s snub to toss “yee sang” with Najib in Penang seems to confirm this further as obviously Psy must have been advised by someone (Korean Embassy perhaps?) to avoid getting dragged into the loser’s camp.

  19. #20 by Jim55 on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 11:41 am

    Todate, many were told that Christians and Muslims worship only ONE GOD, the same God, the label/name for Him is Allah. But I have known some very enlightened Muslims who meditate and could speak/preach like Buddha. I was once given the privilege to ask them any questions that I have been searching for answers. I politely turned it down. And my enlightened Muslim friend (I am Chinese, non-Christian), told the followers who were there that I was still searching for a God. That hit me on the head! All eyes turned to me. Immediately I asked him “Why are there humans on earth?” He told me “because there is God”. I was impressed. I have been told that God is not visible to the human eye, coz God comes in the form of very bright light, akin to the sun. God accepts many forms of ritual worship. My take is not to condemn any religion coz that’s the design by God, to have various religion for humans to choose. Our afterlife is not as simple as what most people perceived – embrace this religion and you go to heaven or else straight to hell. Not that easy and straight forward. Calling God by any name is merely uttering a label to signify God. God must be in the heart. It is pointless to fight over the label Allah. God will not like it if there is God!

  20. #21 by tuahpekkong on Thursday, 14 February 2013 - 4:11 pm

    It is without doubt that Mahathir had made great contributions to the nation’s progress but I think his misdeeds outweigh his feats. The former PM and the present PM both have plenty of skeletons in the closet but the former is a much more accomplished manipulator. Compared to this more seasoned guru, Najib still has plenty to learn. I wonder if he has the opportunity to refine his tricks now. I think Najib’s courting of the Chinese voters is overdone. Chinese voters know what he is up to. It may be counter-productive. Last minute overtures don’t usually work.

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