Wrong to admire Hang Tuah, says Mahathir

January 31, 2012

Wrong to admire Hang Tuah, says Mahathir

by Aidila Razak@www.malaysiakini.com (01-30-12)

Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today dipped his toe in the ongoing debate over Hang Tuah’s existence by saying it is wrong to admire the Malay historical leader.

Answering a question from the floor during the Razak Lecture Series, he said Hang Tuah is “too loyal” and was described as having done things that was “not admirable at all”.

“Here is a man so servile, so very obedient, so loyal and willing to kill his friend knowing that (Hang Jebat) was condemned to death for something he did not do.

“To kill his fellow Hang is not something admirable at all,” Mahathir told an audience of about 300 in Putrajaya.

Hang Tuah is often used as a symbol of servitude and loyalty for Malays, and his story is often invoked in call for support for local leaders.

On the question of the warrior’s existence, Mahathir said that “there must be some truth in the story” although not everything can be believed.

He said parts of the Hikayat Hang Tuah, like how Hang Tuah defeated everyone in the world, including Turkey, without even remembering how he got there does not gel with reality. “Much of this is fiction,” he said. In response, moderator Razali Ismail said that if the British can believe in the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table then Malaysians should be able to believe in Hang Tuah.

The controversy broke when historian Khoo Kay Khim earlier this month disputed Hang Tuah’s existence. Mahathir was speaking on leadership at the second instalment of talks organised by the Razak School of Government.

In his lecture, Malaysia’s fourth premier said that as difficult as it may be, society must be careful of the leaders they elect as it is difficult to get rid of leaders once they enter office.

“Even in a democracy, (an elected leader) may have powerful instruments to influence public thinking so the majority select him, when you know the majority was hoodwinked by the incumbent,” he said.

Leadership ‘musical chairs’

All the same, he said, society should also know to give leaders time to learn the job before ousting them, or it will be a case of leadership “musical chairs”. He said first-term leaders often cannot implement policies before it is time to worry about re-election, especially under the Westminister system where snap polls can be called after three years.

“There is no perfect leader in the world, no matter how good he is, he will do bad things.Please excuse the bad things and focus on the good things,” said Mahathir, who was PM for over two decades.

14 thoughts on “Wrong to admire Hang Tuah, says Mahathir

  1. Yes, here Mahathir is right. We need more Hang Jebat types around these days, if we are to bring about change. Our former Prime Minister was a political Hang Jebat in 1960s. He challenged the then existing order under Tunku Abdul Rahman. For being “disloyal” and challenging the status quo, he was sacked by UMNO in 1969, only to be readmitted together with other Young UMNO turks by the Late Tun Abdul Razak a few years later.

    Unfortunately, when he became Prime Minister in July, 1981, Mahathir no longer tolerated Hang Jebat types. In stead he created a lot of Hang Tuahs, men and women who are fiercely loyal and obedient to him. As a result, we became a bunch of conformists and yes men. Under his long administration, few dared to speak and that climate of fear persists to this day. We became, and still are, a dumb nation. Aren’t we all Hang Tuahs of sorts? It is, therefore, rather ironic that he should now tell us it is wrong to admire Hang Tuah.I find it hard to reconcile his words with his actions.–Din Merican

  2. Dato, why are you giving this senile Oscar winning exPM space here? He created the Hang Tuah and Jebat characters to suit his need. He created Jebat to ascend the throne, once on the throne he entertained Hang Tuah type unbridled loyalty to him. The less we hear from him the better. My blood pressure rises by 15 points each time I see news or coverage of him.
    Stay cool, my man. –Din Merican

  3. I never admire Hang Tuah. First, he’s like a typical UMNO foot soldier and second, I never believed he existed. The Malays are being taught to be like Hang Tuah. Don’t criticize the leaders and don’t criticize the Sultan. Always do as told and don’t dare question it. That’s why we have a lot of zombies in the country.

    Dr M is a man of contradictions. A hypocrite really. Today he is saying it’s wrong to admire Hang Tuah, but don’t be surprise if tomorrow he comes out and say Hang Tuah should be a role model to the Malays. Sometimes I wonder whether he really knows what he is talking about.

  4. The modus operandi of Hang Mahathir, first get other people to make stupid comments, distort history and confuse Malaysians. And then come in as the “wise man ” to clarify and correct them.

    So it is not surprising that he uses people like KKK et.al . KKK is so caught up the attention he is receiving in the MSM, he got the year of founding of the University of Malays wrong !

    But then is it typical of a Mahathirite? Mahathir is the “Dear Leader” type– Kim Jong -Il.

  5. Many Malaysians think Mahathir is a Liar, Intimidator of voters, Threatener of other races, ? Radavan Karadic and a Corrupt leader.
    Mahathir & his families have amassed billions.
    If Mahathir really loves the Malays, he should give 80% of his & families’ wealth to the poor Malays. Talking is cheap
    If I made RM1 billion from govt contracts & concessions, I WOULD GIVE AWAY THE 80%

    Mohammad said he rode on the Winged Horse, Buraq and flew from Mecca to Jerusalem and then to Heaven to discuss with God, Moses, Jesus, St John and other Prophets
    Is this FACT or MYTH?
    Can Mahathir enlighten us on this???

  6. Din
    Whay are we still pandering to the inanities of this crazy old man? I believe you once told me you will not be posting anything about TDM! why two consecutive postings? You still have a soft spot for him because of old family ties at the Maha Klinik?
    Get your facts right. My late mom did not work in Maha Klinik. Hey Bro. I have the right to change my mind. If you do not like it, do not read it. If you do not have anything to write about, don’t just write for the sake of writing.–Din Merican

  7. “Even in a democracy, (an elected leader) may have powerful instruments to influence public thinking so the majority select him, when you know the majority was hoodwinked by the incumbent,” he [Mahathir] said.

    hmmm. Here we have it from the horse’s mouth. He was the expert who manipulated the MSM and used every instrument of power, legal and illegal, so that he could be re-elected for 20 years. He is the one who created this monster which civil society is now trying to slay.

    And he has the cheek to say, “hoodwinked by the incumbent”… which was he himself… for how many election cycles? *!@#

    All I can say to him now is, why don’t you spend the rest of your years in pursuit of the task to create a strong, functioning, two party political system with a level playing field in all aspects. If you do that then you may still have a chance to go down in history as a statesman.

    I don’t have much hopes though considering his support of the likes of Perkasa, etc. (which of course we all know is just one the latest tools of the master hoodwinker…)

  8. didi,
    we should start a campaign ‘Love Malaysia’ ! to save the country from disaster. 2.8 million Rela members, perkasa getting its own Rela platoon and training them in the use of arms is a very telling. they are going to protect putrid jaya at all cost.

    Rosmah will love Najib to death.
    all fans of mahathir will love him to death.

    our problem would be how to retrieve malaysia from the cesspool of corruption/mismanagement. the biggest problem would rehabilitate the civil service/institutions, if at all it is possible?

  9. Of course, for the past few centuries people have changed by not Admiring Hang Tuah, but hero-worshipped Hang Jebat instead. B/coz people do learn from lessons of history.
    Hang Tuah said : ” Buat Baik Berpada-pada, buat Jahat, Jangan Sekali ” ( Do good to all eternity, Do Bad Never…)

    Said Hang Jebat : ” Buat Baik Berpada-pada, Buat Jahat, Jahat Sekali” !
    ( Yes, do Good to all eternity, But when enough is enough, Do the worst.! )

    So we think Dr Mahathir is ‘flip-flopping here’. When he first took the Honourable Office, he did not particularly like people of Hang Jebat’s standing, the real good Calibered Bumiputras, professionals with skills & Intergrity trained in Universities esp from Western Universities – His famous quip ” Orang Cerdik Pandai Lawan Tawkey…”

    The vicious campaign in UMNO maligned them by name-calling the Good breed as the ” Neo-colonialists “. brainwashed or indoctrinated by the West.
    So there started the catalyst for change within UMNO ranks and the Kampung-educated were handpicked by Dr Mahathir so that they hero=worshipped him. Hence, we observe those picked by him are real ‘Goons’, like YBs & YABs in the various states like Toyo, ISA candidate, or the Tanjung Rambutan-flur (TR in Perak), who were all Mentris Besar-kepala, AND, the BN lost five states in the last Election.

    Our Aussie friend said not without justification : First World Iconic Structures, but run by Third World Mentality….

  10. Sorry, i missed the Critical point :

    At that time of Dr Mahathir’s reign of twenty-two years, Dr Mahathir Admired the Hang Tuan Mentality…..

  11. Menurut Andaya (2002), Hang Tuah, Hang Jebat dan Hang Kasturi adalah pemimpin ulung kaum Orang Asli. Kekuasaan Orang Asli dalam pemerintahan Melaka serta kerajaan-kerajaan melayu yang lain mengalami kemerosotan dengan kematian ketiga-tiga tokoh ini. Pendapat ini dipetik dari Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula, Macmillan, London 1906 karangan Skeat, W.William and C.O. Blagden.

    Andaya juga memetik pendapat Juli Edo, seorang ahli antropologi dari etnik Semai yang mengatakan bahawa Hang Tuah dan Hang Jebat adalah Orang Asli. Hang Tuah ialah Orang Jakun (Winstedt, 1935). Hang Tuah dan keluarganya berpindah ke Hulu Perak selepas kematian Hang Jebat.

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