Dear Dr. Mahathir Mohamad


January 31, 2012

Open Letter to Dr Mahathir Mohamad

by Mohd Ikhram Merican

January 30, 2012
Dear Tun Dr M,

Many years ago, in 1986 or ‘87, I can’t remember the exact year, I had the pleasure of meeting you in a private family dinner. You were the guest of honour and I was a very young boy, excited to be in the vicinity of your towering presence. I had many things I wanted to say to you and when I walked up to where you were seated I could only manage one rhetorical question.

You were very kind. Although in the midst of conversation with my uncles, you stopped and gave me, a little boy, a few minutes of your time. I spoke to the prime minister. It was my two minutes of fame.

For the better part of my life you have been the Prime Minister of Malaysia. In all those years, I saw you as the best Prime Minister Malaysia has ever had. Sadly, I’m not so sure anymore. I don’t despise you or loathe you but I question your rationale for a good many things.

There are so many issues that I would like to raise with you. It is near impossible to cover everything here but let me start with your latest blog post titled “Kaitan Bangsa Dengan Bisnes”. The Malaysian Insider reported this with the headline, “Dr M: Scrapping race-based policies will lead to chaos.”

I find it hard to believe that scrapping race-based policies will lead to chaos. The status quo is more detrimental to the country in the long run. The existing race-based policies have done little to improve the plight of the Malays. In fact it has created a class divide between the Malay haves and have-nots. This WILL split the Malays because severe class inequalities have caused revolutions, even in singular nations.

You believe not everyone has equal capabilities and some people must be given special consideration in business and other areas based on their race. This is an argument that neither makes sense nor justifies special considerations. Let me elaborate. Would you allow an aspiring surgeon to become one via special considerations, even if he is inherently bad at it? And would you trust your life under the knife with this person? This is what you propose.

Allow me to provide a further example. UiTM was founded in 1956 (as Dewan Latihan Rida) to facilitate the creation of Bumiputera professionals. Fifty-six years later, it ranks among the last in the QS World University Rankings. While it is the largest university in Malaysia, and has admittedly created many graduates, it has done little to create world-class professionals.

The IITs of India were created with similar ideals to UiTM. The first IIT was conceived in 1950, a mere six years before UiTM. In the same QS World University Rankings, IIT Delhi ranks in the top 200. The IITs are internationally recognised for engineering and technology with entrance exams that are so tough, candidates use Ivy League universities as a fall back in case they don’t make the cut. Bill Gates has been quoted as saying: “And it’s hard to think of anything like IIT anywhere in the world. It is a very unique institution.”

This happens when you pursue meritocracy. In your blog post you ask if it is true that race consideration in business vis-a-vis the NEP has stifled economic growth. My answer is, yes it has. The NEP’s original intention was noble but it has become a tool to justify and facilitate nepotism, cronyism and, contrary to its original purpose, inequality. The nation’s resources have been unscrupulously plundered to benefit cronies NOT the common man, be he Bumiputera or not. Yes, we’ve had a good run under your stewardship but our fundamentals have been hindering us from the type of progress that Singapore enjoys. In short, a system that does not promote and reward performance is inherently flawed. If you need proof, look at Malaysia Airlines.

I quote the book “Winning in Asia” by Peter J. Williamson (Harvard Business Press):

“Those Bumiputera companies with a continued reliance on preferential treatment and local connections and without a broader set of competitive advantages have been unable to successfully expand internationally. To grow, they have therefore diversified across industries within their home country, often resulting in a loss of focus and an inability to build deep operational competence in particular businesses.”

And so again, yes, the NEP has stifled economic growth. You say that when the distribution of wealth is disparate between the races, there is a high probability of enmity between the poorer and richer races. After 40 years of implementation, and devoid of significant success, don’t you think there is a serious problem with the NEP as a tool to bridge the economic gap? Furthermore, the Malays, Chinese, and Indians have not been at each other’s throats during this period. In fact, it is the ruling coalition that regularly stokes racial fire. The race card has been played to the hilt and it is now a misnomer for economic and social stability. I wish you had more faith in us and our ability to co-exist.

Progress is hindered by fear. It is the fear of change, fear of each other, fear of betrayal, fear of riots, fear of racial tension and fear of so many other things that keep us from progressing. Amplifying our fears by attributing wrong causes to effects is not going to help with nation building. I believe that the socio-economic divide can be closed through prudent management of the economy, a world-class education system, observance of the Rule of Law, and nation-building policies. I ask that you use your influence to condemn corruption, nepotism and cronyism. This is the real problem that undermines Malaysia and stifles its growth. — malaysia-today.net

33 thoughts on “Dear Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

  1. “I ask that you use your influence to condemn corruption, nepotism and cronyism. This is the real problem that undermines Malaysia and stifles its growth”–Ikram Merican.

    How can he do it? He is the founder of CNC. On th contrary, you should ask him to declare his assets or the MACC to investigate.–Din Merican

  2. Al Kutty to declare his assets? That’s like asking Lenin to embrace Islam. This Kerala cloth merchant will fight tooth and nail to remain above the law. His perceived invincibility is the thing that’s keeping him in the news and under our skin.

  3. “untk anak melayu yang kurang bersaing dengan bangsa lain”

    Both this man and this person who dare put this comment up are the very reason malays have failed. God give me the patience to handle this pathetic mindset that has caused failure after failure after failure of the malays.

    Don’t any one dare ask me “why I am so angry” This i spersonal now. If this is how the malays think we are DOOMED, DOOMED.

    Good on you ELITIST melayu IKHRAM. I love this kind of elitist. Smart, clever, intelligent and questioning. Don’t ever stop qurestioning and demanding for better.

  4. The two NEPs are UMNO’s carte blanche. What is next? If a were a ‘tuan putih’ in the old days, I would have said, ” . . . Scrapping race-based policies will lead to chaos.” Chaos in this case and time, means UMNO losing control.

  5. Pls go into youtube and watch the controversial yet illuminating series of documentary on :Race & Intelligence: Science Last taboo. It would do M’sians good to watch it.

  6. How dare he even speak for us anymore. Go away and leave us alone. Leave the malays alone . You have done enough Dr. Mahathir.

  7. The author obviously is unable to see the big picture. UITM was established to educate the under privileged Bumiputeras so that it would be able to compete with the other races in Malaysia. It was not created to rival other universities. To this date, it has been very successful in creating successful Bumiputeras. Many of these Bumiputeras initially did their diploma education at ITM but eventually obtained degrees from reknowned universities. These graduates whose parents were farmers, fishermen, labourer, odd job workers, are now doing very well in their profession as engineers, architects, lawyers, doctors and CEOs.

    Do you know the criteria of the QS World University Rankings? Amongst others, it also include the percentage of foreign student enrolment and the size of the universities endowment funds . Criteria which are NOT FAIR to a special objective university like UITM.

    Please read the many proud achievements of UITM in their website which arguably some are world-class. Don’t look at the university from your jaundiced elitist view.

    Not many people are privileged to have wealthy parents and grandparents like yours.

    But UITM and its predecessors Maktab Latihan RIDA and ITM have successfully created towering Bumiputeras today which they could have otherwise not given the educational opportunities went on to become farmers and fishermen like their fathers or grandfathers.

  8. The media is at fault and so are bloggers. Together they breathe life into the old man. The less said about it the better. When Pakatan takes over the hope is that they bring these criminals to court. Anwar Ibrahim must never make secret deals with any of them. Period. You guys let him take the bully pulpit. It is time to stop.

  9. How dare he even speak for us anymore. Go away and leave us alone. Leave the malays alone . You have done enough Dr. Mahathir.

    Kathy – January 31, 2012 at 9:58 am
    —————————-

    Why are we even giving the space to him?? Of course, it comes with comments written by others.

  10. “I find it hard to believe that scrapping race-based policies will lead to chaos. The status quo is more detrimental to the country in the long run.”

    Lead to chaos? Of course it you instigate and provoke and stage the unrest. So he is right. You gotta give him that. The man was at the helm, pulling all the strings and calling the shots for more than two decades, he knows what he is talking about.

    Short run, long run? What does it matter? In the long run we are all dead.

  11. The man deserves the worst expletives you could think for destroying our core values as Malaysians. He took away our self respect. He singlehandedly created a rich capitalist Malay class where none existed and call it a success. That is overeaching. We have stability on account of the larger middle class but only among the Malays. The others see a deterioration in the size of the middle class.

  12. And it is not so much that he created a rich capitalist class among the Malays but the way he did it. It is undisguised crony capitalism pure and simple.

  13. You are right Mr Bean.

    However I am thinking if any one of his cronies read this blog and hopefully some enlightened being from Umno read this blog they will know how much damage he has done to us Malaysians and what we think of him. ( not that he doesnt know by now)

  14. You don’t think they know that Kathy?? Of course they know what they are doing. They are pretending not to know what is happening so they could go on blissfully doing what they have been doing for decades i.e. helping themselves to the spoils of office while the rest of us could only watch. None of them needs any enlightenment. Are you kiddin’ me??

  15. I feel funny – ‘anak Melayu kurang bersaing dengan orang lain . . .’ This get to suggest that Melayus should compete AGAINST others in business, particularly the Chinese.

    I really wonder wonder who put this poison in Mahathir’s mind – not forgetting also Ibrahim Ali.

    This is put in such a way that suggests the enemy of the Melayus are the Chinese in Malaysia – this is another colonial legacy where international trade was discouraged because the Westerners had already locked it tight.

    Does it also mean that it is alright to collaborate with foreigners [OF ALL SHADES] and compete against the Chinese eventhough they are also Malaysian?

    This could be another sign of UMNO’s hidden ‘rearguard’ function for western powers. Is Malaysia really independent as regards to getting its right prerogative as a state or there is still unfinished business? Or there is a little extra-terresterial being controlling from within UMNO.

    Shoud not we [all RACES] unite and try to cooperate, and conqueor the world instead only Malaysia? Malaysia is relatively small country, and what is there to fight over? If the anak Melayus are encouraged to think only of within Malaysia, and not the rest of the world, Malaysia is in big trouble.

    We should fight for, and not fight over Malaysia.

    The Malaysian economy will become a bubble if all the anak Melayus rely solely on home ground which is very influenced by politics. But then, this would be how UMNO controls the Melayus. Is it not?

  16. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed gave him an ultimatum in 1998, a day before his sacking as the deputy prime minister.

    According to Anwar, the former prime minister told him to voluntarily step down as DPM and in return, he would receive some form of monetary compensation, but if he did not comply with this, charges would be framed against him
    http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/dr-m-threatened-me-before-sacking-says-anwar

  17. “In your blog post you ask if it is true that race consideration in business vis-a-vis the NEP has stifled economic growth.”

    Consider “Is it true that race consideration in business in NEP (and many other past Dasar) has benefited the poor Malays more than the selected rich & powerful Malays”

    Let us have proud civil servants not civil lords.

  18. As a leading Korean Businrssman once said to me in private, the NEP mayn not be good for the Malaysian Economy but a good economy will be very good for the NEP.

  19. Din
    Mohd Ikhram Merican (not related to you I hope or is he within the Merican clan?) open letter will fall on deaf ears.
    So whats new about TDM? We have known for years the agenda of TDM, that is, to play the political strings while his BN-UMNO cronies clear the treasury. From day one that has been his motif and grand design. And we have ALL been taken for a long long ride!
    If at all, we should have a Royal Commission to investigate all the policy actions the led to the pillaging of the tax-payers monies by TDM and ALL his cronies. All the contracts signed signed during his period of stewardship should be voided. ALL the cronies should be directed to return the stolen monies or put away for the rest of their blighted lifes!
    Can ALL the Ministers who also served under also come clean and explain all their riches, including the PMs who followed him to the highest office?
    Its time for change and the next GE should be telling!!!

  20. Father of hate, racism and hypocrisy. I wish he’d just keep quiet and do things most retirees do. But I guess that’s asking to much.

  21. “So whats new about TDM?” si rusa.

    I’ll quote from Din’s favorite humanist friend Desiderius Erasmus, from ” In Praise of Folly.”:

    “A most ungrateful generation of men that, when they are wholly given up
    to my party, are yet publicly ashamed of the name, as taking it for a
    reproach; for which cause, since in truth they are ‘morotatoi’, fools,
    and yet would appear to the world to be wise men and Thales, we’ll even
    call them ‘morosophous’, wise fools.”

    In other words, UMNO baru, lama dan selama-lama nya, is in deep trouble.

  22. ” . . . Do you know the criteria of the QS World University Rankings? Amongst others, it also include the percentage of foreign student enrolment and the size of the universities endowment funds . Criteria which are NOT FAIR to a special objective university like UiTM . . . ” by Tun Sri Lanang.

    Of course, by Malaysian standards, UiTM stands tall and may be No.1 too if the main criteria is students’ cultural similarity. But is this good enough for today’s world?

  23. Tun Sri Lanang,

    actually the article is more about what the pro-malay/NEP action did not achieve and the reasons for failing. the good author has a world view but yours is limited to malaysia. the good malaysian universities did create many outstanding persons including the bloghost himself but only before our mahamadman screwed it up.

    why did you stop short of naming some towering infernos of UiTM?

    what is about all the others who were excluded from this programme and had no financial help to go to university/technical school?

  24. Dear reader,
    1) Do you think that those UMNO putras including Cronies that were fed and raised on Mahatirism policies and spoon-fed from cradle to grave for over 30 years would want to drop their crutches and embrace meritocracy ?
    They will shout “ketuanan melayu” rights and defend this free handouts to the death after having tasted the good life without having to sweat for it!

    2) Do you think the ruling UMNO led gomen will graciously hand over the power to rule the country if they lost the next GE? They will do whatever it takes to prevent this fr happening as they know their can of worms is so huge and foul smelling that losing Putrajaya will put them to shame and destroy their dignity and maruah.

    -Have you seen the goodie$ that DS Najib has been lately handing out left,right and centre without any thought to the budget deficit to win votes ?
    -Didn’t you hear our 1Malaysia PM that UMNO led gomen will defend Putrajaya to the hilt – going as far as seeking the help from Silat associations and recently RELA to be their first line of defence (with cousin Hisapmuddin arming the latter with guns and ammo !!!). It is as if our Polis Di Raja which is responsible for this duty has been castrated to become wimps.

    We Malaysians are living in dangerous times, and forsee that trouble is looming beyond the horizon. Pray that God almighty will show his hand to help Malaysians to ride out this storm.

  25. None of them needs any enlightenment. Are you kiddin’ me??

    Mr Bean – January 31, 2012 at 10:39 am

    LOL. Do I exasperate you Mr Bean? I live in hope you know!

    We Malaysians are living in dangerous times, and forsee that trouble is looming beyond the horizon.
    orang kampung – January 31, 2012 at 6:09 pm

    mmm, sounds ominous!

  26. “All the contracts signed signed during his period of stewardship should be voided. ALL the cronies should be directed to return the stolen monies or put away for the rest of their blighted lifes! Can ALL the Ministers who also served under also come clean and explain all their riches ….”

    Void contracts that don’t fit in with your views? On one hand you want the return to the rule of law; on the other hand you want contracts negotiated, signed, sealed and delivered according to law be voided because you don’t like it? Have you got anything at all between your ears?
    ____________
    Hang Mongkut Bean, this Si Rusa guy contradicts himself. Usually he wants to have his cake and eat it as well. Good you gave a shake down.–Din Merican

  27. But UITM and its predecessors Maktab Latihan RIDA and ITM have successfully created towering Bumiputeras- Tun Sri Lanang

    You mean IBRAHIM ALI one of them, towering Bumiputera.

    If he is also one of them towering product of UiTM, then my toilet bowl is definitely taller than him.

  28. Kutty Supremo LOVES people to attack and criticise him.

    WHY?

    It will give him a good excuse to stay in the media limelight.

    The more people show disgust and hatred to him, the more he enjoys it. He will vomit more garbage so that people will notice him more.

    Imagine nobody, media and bloggers don’t give an inch of space to what he says ? He will go insane. He cannot come out of the past when he had everybody listening to him for 22 years. He still wants that to last forever. The media and bloggers and commenters of blogs are obliging him.

  29. Hang Mongkut Bean, this Si Rusa guy contradicts himself. Usually he wants to have his cake and eat it as well. Good you gave a shake down.–Din Merican

    Contracts don’t become void because you say so. Contracts are void ab initio, for example, if they are against public policy like contracting to have someone killed. The are voidable if they fall foul of the rules regarding contract formation etc. If this pinhead thinks a different government is NOT bound by the contracts entered into by the incumbent government, then it is time he goes and check himself in a mental ward. And make sure it is the nearest to his home because he could never find his way back to begin with. With a little electricity to the head, he thinks he could fly.

  30. Mahathir s/o Iskandar Kutty was vilified by his malay peers with ejekan India balek kampung that his hatred of Malays can be seen today. Mahathir has made the Chinese billionaires by giving them monopoly licenses for sugar, gambling, 84 special draws, sports betting, casinos, IPP, Wimax, allows chinese to mine sand to sell to singapore, clear natives owned virgin forest like IOI, give 80 billion Johor project to Lim, give Bestarinet billion project to Chinese Yeoh etc..give Airasia to fellow Indian Tony Fernandes for 1 ringgit make maybank bankrupt by giving 11 billion ringgit loans to his son and sharil shamsuddin loans..just watch just like bank bumi, maybank will go bankrupt.

    All the UMNO presidents have been guilty of following his examples. But enough is enough.

    The Malays can see through the charade thanks to Forbes who have exposed the evil Chinese capitalist such as Robert Kuok. A chinese who live Macau who never bother to vote in UMNO year after year.

    A Royal Commission of Inquiry must be held to ascertain how the Chinese and Indians are able to milk billions of Malay wealth after independence.

    Corrupt UMNO leaders who connive with the capitalists must be exposed.

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