The Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia


August 6, 2013

MY COMMENT: Most of us made a lot of unkind comments about Tun dinAbdullah Ahmad Badawi when he was Prime Minister (2004-2009). I too have been very critical. In fact, I rejoiced when UMNO-BN under his leadership lost two third majority in the 2008 General Elections. But none is more severe than Mahathir’s bitter attacks on his anointed successor. Why? Because Mahathir believed that Badawi was destroying his legacy. The Awakening provides us with a number of articles, looking dispassionately at various aspects of his administration.  I look forward to reading this book.–Din Merican

The Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia

http://www.malaysiakini.com

Badawi ed Bridget Welsh

“Can you imagine if I had succumbed to Mahathir’s continued pressure to spend when the deficit was already so high, how would Malaysia have weathered the oil and financial crisis which subsequently came up in 2008. If we had not been prudent then, and continued to spend, I can tell you we would be bankrupt by now…Mahathir is set in his ways. And he believes that his way is the only way. When I tried to do things differently, he believed that I was doing things wrongly.  But that is Mahathir…The rest are all examples of what is the core issue – Mahathir’s inability to accept any other view(s) except his own.”–Abdullah Badawi, Former Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Regarded as “Mr Clean”, he was Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s handpicked successor. But then their relationship turned sour. This was blamed on Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s ambitious son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin ( now a Minister in Najib’s Cabinet) and his band of advisers, known then as the “Fourth-Floor boys”.abdullah ahmad badawi 020209 03Fearful that his legacy was being undermined, a bitter Mahathir then embarked on the warpath, firing a battery of criticisms against Abdullah, whom he deemed as an incompetent leader.And in the aftermath of the 2008 general election, which witnessed the once impregnable BN fortress crack, Mahathir was determined to bring the curtain down on Abdullah’s political career.In an interview contained in a new book, “Awakening, the Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia“, the former Premier launched a vitriolic salvo at his predecessor, describing the octogenarian as a man of contradictions.

Among others, Abdullah also said if he had followed Mahathir’s will with regard to the latter’s pet projects such as the RM14.5 billion double tracking railway project, the nation would have gone bankrupt.

“Can you imagine if I had succumbed to Mahathir’s continued pressure to spend when the deficit was already so high, how would Malaysia have weathered the oil and financial crisis which subsequently came up in 2008.
If we had not been prudent then, and continued to spend, I can tell you we would be bankrupt by now,” he said in an interview, which was published in the book that is slated to be launched later this month.

“I didn’t like what Mahathir did. I gave Mahathir the opportunity to give me his views. I went to see him but he chose to be public in his attacks against me and my administration,” he added.

Abdullah said he tried to explain about the critical deficit but Mahathir insisted that Malaysia should continue its spending then. He attributed the continuous rocky relationship with Mahathir to the latter’s hardheadedness.

“Mahathir is set in his ways. And he believes that his way is the only way. When I tried to do things differently, he believed that I was doing things wrongly. But that is Mahathir…The rest are all examples of what is the core issue – Mahathir’s inability to accept any other views except his own,” he said.

Mahathir blamed for BN’s electoral debacle

Elaborating on his predecessor, who was prime minister for 22 years, Abdullah called Mahathir a man of contradictions.

the-man-behind-perkasa1“Mahathir is a man of many contradictions. When we did well in 2004, he said such a strong mandate was not good for the country.When we did not do well in 2008, he heaped all the blame on me. He is doing it even today. (But) let him (say what he wants),” said Abdullah, who is fondly known as Pak Lah.

Despite Mahathir’s blame, Abdullah said his predecessor cannot absolve himself from BN’s worst showing in history.

“Mahathir cannot deny that he contributed to the erosion of BN’s support in the 2008 general election  through his open and unwarranted criticisms and attacks.

“Calling my administration, which included a majority of people from his own Cabinet, as a ‘half-past six government’ and accusing us of corruption and all kind of things,” he said. Abdullah added he would never do the same to his successor Najib Abdul Razak.

The book is a collection of articles about Abdullah’s era, published by Strategic Information and Research Development Centre and edited by Bridget Welsh and James Chin.

22 thoughts on “The Awakening: The Abdullah Badawi Years in Malaysia

  1. Good for Badawi for saying this out loud — that Mahathir thinks his way is the only way. Even today Mahathir causes far more problems for Najib than he does for the opposition. And just wait — he will cause problems for the next Prime Minister as well.
    ________________
    Ambassador Malott,

    Tun Abdullah Badawi will turn out to be better than the incumbent Prime Minister. His religious upbringing taught him to be civil and polite. He had guts to take on Mahathir. I had a brief chat with him on July 18 at the ASLI-CPPS Asean Leadership.I informed Tun Jeane Abdullah that Badawi and I go back long ways to 1958 when we both were studying in Penang. –Din Merican

  2. What good timing “Mr Clean”. Party elections are around the corner. I have always admired him.When he had no position in UMNO I met him at his favorite capati restuarant near coliseum theatre, only in his capal and oh what a pleasant personality.

    Please hurry the book launch as we need to nail this Kerala man before he does more damage.

    My prayer: Hope your son in law also comes out along your line of thinking.This could be payback time the fourth floor as well – not that I admire the incumbent.

  3. I believe Tun Badawi help to advance further inroads towards a ‘two-party’ political system as well as more open dissensions by not using the ISA as frequent as his predecessor. This is where I think his religious beliefs and sense of fair play comes forth.

    But he is no angel when it comes to cronyism and non performance. At best he is an administrator not a architect / builder of the country.
    _________
    Tun Abdullah made dissent possible by giving people like me on this blog space to criticise his policies. Imagine what would have happened if Mahathir were stil the Prime Minister. Dissent will not be tolerated. Najib also allowed democracy to grow to extent that UMNO right wingers are now not happy with him.–Din Merican

  4. I remember that many, many Malaysians were happy (even full of ecstasy) when Dr Machiavelli gave up the post of PM of Malaysia.

    But, AAB still under-performed as PM of Malaysia.
    Still, he’s better than the current 1PM who is taking us on the road to national financial ruin and has set a precedent of blatant, unashamed and budget-busting vote-buying.

  5. The title of the book speaks volumes.

    For the nation it was an awakening from a nightmare after 22 years of semi-despotic rule, and then, during Badawi’s moments of wakefulness, it sputtered along on semi-autopilot mode, a condition it has not recovered from since. Was that what the editors had in mind?

    I thought a more apt title would be the Caliph and the Control Freak.

  6. Salam, let’s hope Pak Lah’s `Awakening’ collaborated with SIRDC and none other than Bridget Welsh and James Chin will send the control-freak unrepentant former PM MM to a far-flung brontosaurville never to appear on Malaysian political radar.
    But KJ is a rookie Minister and MM’s son is MB of Kedah.
    Talk about being in the right place and who-and-who in UMNO!
    Can’t wait for October 5, 2013. It will be hotter than the last GE13.
    Let us see whose prayers are answered and who will be licking their wounds.
    KJ must be more than ferocious and unscrupulous because its a war of the titians’ proxies in the making.
    The UMNO Youth contest will be the main event rather than the (plausible) tussle for UMNO’s Presidency.

  7. I have respect for Pak Lah. He made not be as good as I had wished, but he did things that many would ignore and never thought off. Yes he did help to bring about the near two party system we now have. That’s my take on him.
    I heard a story that Al Kutty was pissed off because Pak Lah stopped his bid, under someone elses name, to open a second casino in Pahang! Slot machines were bought and croupiers were employed, but it never took off.

  8. Can one say in all honesty that the former PM (Mahathir) will be remembered as a decent man who put service to his country …and to all its citizens before his own self interest?

  9. Badawi should have done this long time ago.to keep that Mamak rascal quiet. That Mamak has no standing in Malaysian society anymore. Bye-Bye Mamak!

  10. The “Awakening” at last from Pak Lah while Tun Mahathir is still alive & kicking and able to respond if he wishes. As expected, Pak Lah was criticised when he was the PM but now some feel he would have been a better PM than the present one. We usually only appreciate something after it is no more in being.

  11. Tony ,

    The former Prime minister remembered as a ” decent man”? Hmmm … please lah , don’t make my toes laugh .. laughing toes cause pain in old age lah.

    Anyway, i am sure Badawi’s book will sell better then that traitor’s book!

  12. From all over the internet, comments are all for “The Awakening” to be launched early so that; all can buy and read what a former PM has to finally say about his wicked predecessor. Guess it will sell like bombs in contrast to ‘Doctor in the house’ which is nothing but selective distortions and deliberate ‘truth’ left-outs. I sincerely doubt the mamak’s book have sold more than 2,000 copies.

  13. “We usually only appreciate something after it is no more in being.” – aliefalfa

    The same can’t be said of TDM.

  14. ” “I didn’t like what Mahathir did. I gave Mahathir the opportunity to give me his views. I went to see him but he chose to be public in his attacks against me and my administration,” he added.”

    And why didn’t you go public on your criticisms of TDM then, Pak Lah?

  15. I had strongly believed that Tun Badawi is a good leader. He was brave enough to make changes where the previous leaders had failed. The changes were relevant with the changing times. Unfortunately, he did not receive the support of Umno leaders still bonded to Tun Mahathir. The few who were with him remained tight lipped fearing for their own political future.

    Unfortunately, the public was easily influenced by all that were said and written.The rumour mongering machine was extremely active.

    The people who benefitted most from all this was the opposition. This so called righteous opposition members never were brave enough to defend Tun Badawi.
    They realized that his fall was going to be their gain.

    Tun Badawi, will go down in history, as the greatest reformer of Malaysia, I am sure the future generation will recognize them, then.

  16. He had his chance and remember nobody becomes PM overnight!
    His will and mind power gave way…he should be firm but he was still thinking like a deputy PM… thats it. His faults anyway and he lost a chance of a lifetime to correct his Master FIRMLY…had he had the courage ….who knows Mahathir would be a pussy cat ..

  17. SILENT IS GOLDEN – Its a quality of a man who has been brought up with solid Islamic foundation where diplomacy, courtesy, wisdom, tolerance and above all the faith in Allah s.w.t., are part of the life that AAB has. “The Awakening” will also be a wake-up call to those who are still confused of what really happens and who to believe in our Malaysia political scenario. It will give an insight to those who really wants to know more and at the same time depicts the craft sculptured by a man like TDM to meet his ambitious plan. Well done TUN ABDULLAH AHMAD BADAWI.

  18. “And why didn’t you go public on your criticisms of TDM then, Pak Lah?” – @Mazlan Manaf at 6:19am. Well, that clearly showed the high ethical quality stuff that Pak Lah was made of – always respectful of his elders & predecessor, he engaged TDM privately but why go public now & not then? TDM must have been too much for him now & to remain silent would have been irresponsible on his part and the UMNO election is very near – very convenient & timely for the book editors as well to increase sales.

  19. You sell your soul to the devil before you sell your race, pseudo Malay play the racist card to get on in UMNO, the woes of Malaysia.

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