Najib-Mahathir Pact: Return of Mahathirism

May 30, 2012

Najib-Mahathir Pact: Return of Mahathirism

by Nawawi Mohamad and Wong Choon Mei

Former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has been praised by many, especially UMNO members and other apple polishers. He has been praised for the privatization of Malaysia, his Vision 2020, his political maneuvers and economic policies, but none of these have made Malaysia a great nation.

Instead, as a result of Mahathir’s ham-fisted policies, Malaysia has been downgraded and perceived to be trolling at the lowest levels with other rogue regimes such as Zimbabwe and Myanmar. Even Vietnam has caught up, while Indonesia has left us far behind.

No wonder the 86-year-old Mahathir is trying to salvage his legacy, but even his best-seller biography A Doctor in the House won’t make him popular again. In the eyes of his countrymen, whatever that Mahathir has done, planned, implemented and envisioned, has failed miserably.

Not tough enough! More clampdowns needed!

To Mahathir, it may well seem that his plans have suddenly gone into disarray right in front of his own eyes. He can’t accept that it could be him at fault and instead is blaming his successors for not clamping down harder on the people.

And this is why the political temperature in the country has shot up of late with police brutality becoming the norm in policing techniques and everyday life.

Mahathir is still very powerful, bolstered by the enormous wealth accumulated by his sons, cronies and family during his 22-year rule from 1981 to 2003. He knows he has made many mistakes but won’t admit it and this is why current premier Najib Razak is scrambling to please him.

Without Mahathir, Najib would be kicked out as the UMNO President and thereby the country’s PM almost immediately. Without an electoral  mandate of his own and facing serious infighting from within his own UMNO party, Najib knows his limitations.

This is why the 58-year-old has U-turned on all his earlier grandiose promises of reform, although critics may also be right in their view that Najib was never really serious about bringing much-need change to Malaysia either.

Wants to be THE BOSS once again

As every facet of Malaysia goes down one by one, Mahathir remains in a state of denial. Publicly, he says he can’t bear to see Malaysia sliding within his own life time and he can’t do anything about it. But don’t rush to empathize, one might be mistaken.

Critics say he does not care that much about Malaysia at all. Mahathir is only interested in his own legacy, which has crumbled, and of course to see his son Mukhriz made the Mentri Besar or chief minister of Kedah before being catapulted into the PM’s chair when it is time for Najib to step down.

Najib may have taken over from Abdullah Badawi but there is no doubt he indirectly inherited the mountain of socio-economic problems dogging Malaysia from Mahathir. It is Mahathir who led Malaysia into huge debt as the great majority of his mega projects were implemented on borrowed money.

National oil firm PETRONAS was milked dry to bail out the firms controlled by his cronies and sons whenever these projects turned sour as they invariably did. With such rampant corruption and mismanagement, plus a policy priority to enrich the elite leaders in UMNO, the privatization of Malaysia became dysfunctional without any proper business management practices. This in effect made Malaysia incompetent and uncompetitive.

Now, Mahathir wants to wear his ‘economic top dog’ hat again. It is clear he still wants to call the shots. Just days ago, he told a foreign news interview that a Greek pullout from the Euro Zone, plus even a China economic slowdown, could not affect Malaysia.

But who is he kidding? Central Bank Negara chief Zeti Aziz has admitted that it would be “unimaginable” if Greece failed to stay on the Euro course for financial reform. Trade-dependent Malaysia would surely be hit one way or another by the ensuing global ripple and the more so when its National Debt is now at RM560 billion and growing.

So why did Mahathir try to gloss over the possibility of financial catastrophe but minced no words when he talked about Najib’s “weak” position. The older man readily said that despite being able to escape the effects of an external economic meltdown, Najib should defer holding the 13th general election till later this year.

“Being weak, he has to respond to the criticisms. But when you are faced with this problem anything you do is not enough… maybe sometime in the next five months before the end of the year,” Mahathir told Bloomberg, referring to the best timing for the GE-13.

Personal stake in GE-13

Indeed, in GE-13, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim and his Pakatan Rakyat coalition are rated to have an even chance of wresting the federal government – the first-ever regime change in Malaysia since the British colonizers left in 1957.

It certainly did not go unnoticed when Mahathir came out strongly to back Najib for ordering the most violent police crackdown on civilians ever during the April 28, 2012, BERSIH 3.0 rally for free and fair elections.

Not only did Mahathir stoutly defend the use of brute force on peaceful marchers, he also accused the BERSIH organizers of conspiring with Anwar and Pakatan to topple the BN government with a Tahrir Square or Arab Spring-type of people’s uprising. No one was surprised when Najib promptly echoed Mahathir’s words.

The older man then followed up by warning that if Pakatan won GE-13, there would be “unceasing violence”.  His political posturing and maneuvering was roundly condemned and his motives slammed as being evil and “dangerous”.

 “What is evident is that Mahathir has a personal stake in the outcome in the next general elections as to cause him to do his utmost, including concocting lies and falsehoods that BERSIH 3.0 was a ‘warm-up’ by Pakatan Rakyat for violent demonstrations to reject the results of the next elections if the Opposition should fail it or that the Malays will lose political power in their own country if UMNO is defeated,” said DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang.

“Could it be that it has sunk in on him after the BERSIH 3.0 rally that UMNO and Barisan Nasional can be voted out of power in Putrajaya in the next general election, and this meant that the long list of financial scandals and abuses of power in his 22 years as Prime Minister could finally be the subject of a full inquiry and he is doing his utmost to prevent the full story of his 22-year premiership from being told?

Mahathir now the de-facto PM

For sure, Mahathir is worried sick for himself and his family. A look as to how Indonesia resolved the corruption of former president Suharto and the fabulous wealth accumulated by his family would indeed spark the chills for Mahathir. Not only would wealth be impounded, jail terms, lengthy court trials and total disgrace are on the cards.

But Mahathir is either made of sterner stuff or believes that his luck has far from run out. Instead of planning or negotiating for the best exit, he is now trying hard to promote his son Mukhriz (right) as the next Kedah chief minister, while making statement and offering unsolicited advice as if he were still the PM.

The drama and Mahathir’s outspoken comments of the past few days have not been lost on other UMNO leaders, nor on their Pakatan rivals.

“There is obviously a huge split in UMNO and they are not able to come to terms. Otherwise there is no reason for Mahathir to publicly advise Najib to delay GE-13. He could have just made a phone call. Mahathir wants UMNO to know that if Najib delays GE-13 to September or even to 2013, Najib still has his support,” PKR vice president Tian Chua told Malaysia Chronicle.

“Yes, Dr M is terrified of losing GE-13 but before that is the UMNO party elections. He and Najib will go all out to ensure their men win and the rest will be sidelined. The Badawi faction, the Tengku Razaleigh faction and even Muhyiddin Yassin (the current Deputy Prime Minister) will find themselves marginalized. This looks like the deal Dr M has struck with Najib. Mahathir will be the de-facto PM, Najib will just provide the facade. He and Rosmah will go on official overseas functions and walkabouts. But the serious social and economic policies will go back to the Mahathir table. Yes, Mahathirism is back and we have to be very careful and on guard.”

Not enough to stop the exodus into Pakatan

The UMNO party polls is slated for December 2012, while speculation is rife that GE-13 will now be in September or even next year and not mid-June or July as previously touted.

A grand BN rally due to take place on June 17 had been expected to provide Najib the platform to declare a July ballot but after the massive fallout from his mishandling of BERSIH 3.0 and Mahathir’s inability to regain public popularity and respect, chances are higher for GE-13 to take place later this year or early next year. BN’s mandate to rule expires in March 2013.

Meanwhile, the expected exodus of UMNO-BN members and civil servants to the Pakatan has moved into higher gear, with the latest snare being the former Solicitor-General Yusof Zainal Abiden, UIA Professor Aziz Bari and Brigadier-General Abdul Hadi Abdul Khattab, who all joined Anwar’s PKR, while former Bukit Aman CID chief Fauzi Shaari joined PAS.

Malaysia Chronicle

Howard Zinn- You Can’t be Neutral on a Moving Train

Asia’s March to Modernity-Kishore Mahbubani

Amartya Sen–Development as Freedom

25 thoughts on “Najib-Mahathir Pact: Return of Mahathirism

  1. Malay votes and those from Sabah and Sarawak are vital if UMNO-BN wants to win GE-13. Najib must make a deal with the “Devil” so to speak because all said and done, Mahathir is held high by a majority of Malays. His team of strategists and spinners are hard at work and Pakatan Rakyat should never estimate what they are up against. This is a massive political iceberg that is difficult to dislodge from the Malay psyche. –Din Merican

  2. ” … Mahathir is held high by a majority of Malays. His team if strategists and spinners are hard at work .. “. – host.

    Even his roti shops in the Pavilion in Bukit Bintang and Empire in Subang Jaya are busy spinning yarns with dough. Don’t know about those roti shops in Langkawi though.

    But i don’t think the Malay support that he used to have is with him anymore . Malays are beginning to realise that he is a thief and a lair . His fundamentals are similar to Tunku Aziz’s – it is all about their pride and ego and never about Malaysia and Malaysians.

    The day of reckoning is near and this will be reflected on that day if there is no cheating.

  3. ,,,Mahathir is held high by a majority of Malays… maybe UMNO Malays or Malays who support UMNO, but certainly not the majority of Malays. Mahathir is more visible now,in particular the MSM, due to Najib’s own weakness ( due in large part to the Altantuya/scorpene STING ). Even old sleepy-head had the balls to shut out Mahathir during his time as PM !!

  4. While it’s obvious that a form of Octoism is being practiced by Jibs Sdn Bhd., i would like to explain why Jibboism is much more dangerous. The former was/is an autocrat who never minces around issues – no matter how ridiculous. He was consistent in methodology, cynicism and sophistry. He may have been narcissistic, megalomanic and self serving, but wielded power according to his hubris of being the most ‘intelligent’ kutty-mamak in the Universe. Proactive, in many ways. Even though the action leaves much to be desired. Perverse without pretending to be otherwise. For that, i ‘admire’ him.

    I can’t say the same for Jibs, who does not have Octo’s will nor the innate smarts. He plagiarizes unconscionably, bends to which ever direction the wind blows, utilizes puerile intimidation or bullying tactics and lacks astrong moral compass. His Narcissism (main personality trait) is without any redeeming virtue. His ‘schadenfreude’ (pleasure at the misfortune of others, especially if inflicted by himself or his spouse), is par none. His dependence on ‘image building’ and ‘economic prowess’ of key advisers is an indicator of magical thinking and immaturity. He is nothing but an adolescent acne-wracked schoolyard bully, who uses brawn instead of brain (which being ‘entitled’ causes has atrophied). His charm is superficial, and does not garner respect. A Man of Straw, who dances too near a roaring flame of his making.

  5. If there were a ‘Grinch’ like character in malaysian poltics then ol’ madir is the rightful person to be accorded the title… He is grumpy , snobish and above all , greedy… When GhANDI minted together that sacred words ‘ the world is able to fullfil all of our needs but not greed’ into a meaningful sentence , Satan appeared before him and spoke about the coming of a man out of mother India who will in due time take the ancient kingdom of Malaya by storm and there onwards rule with an iron fist.. Ghandi was disheartened knowing that one day his countryman would be the source of destruction to a faraway place , a place where sacred cows would one day be sheltered in luxurious condos… He grieved : , How could this despicable INDIAN bring about total chaos to a place so affectionate to Hindus most revered animal…

  6. Danil, the despicable Indian from Kerala is able to do what he has done because of the spell he cast on Umno and its members. They have not yet recover from the aftereffects. It will take another Indian to nullify this maniac. No Malays can do so. And that Indian, incidentally, is a female – Ambiga.

  7. This mamak kutty can not let uno loose GE13, he has far too much interest in the country to allow that to happen. The jibby co. will team with who ever that can help him stay in power, or he may be sent to some jail somewhere for the “good” he has committed.

  8. Bean,

    Brig-Gen Hadi Khattab is a former Air Force officer attached to the logistics department of Air Headquarters, Mindef. He was dismissed some years ago for work-related problems. However, his mistakes were never proven. He’s definitely much junior than me.

  9. Listen to Kishore Mahbubani’s interview. This Singapore intellectual deserves to be regarded as the spokesman of the New Asia. I am personally impressed with his views which are critical of the US and Europe. Both the US and Europe have yet to accept that Asia is making unprecedented progress. Old models of international governance must, therefore, be replaced to accommodate the changes that emanating from Asia (China, India and ASEAN).–Din Merican

  10. Pakatan has the election to lose if they keep putting their feet in their mouths. UMNO will set the bait and some stupid Pakatan politicians will rise to the bait and UMNO will execute their bait-and-switch techniques to entrap these clueless Pakatan politicians. As if it’s not enough for punishment, they will shoot themselves in the feet.

  11. He is nothing but an adolescent acne-wracked schoolyard bully, who uses brawn instead of brain (which being ‘entitled’ causes has atrophied). -CLF

    nay, CLF,
    a schoolyard bully depends on his own physical strength but Jibbo primarily depends on mama Rosie and his sidekicks for strength, and naturally the readily available money from the rakyat gives him the backing.
    the apparent stupidity of his followers and voters is the path he walks on to becoming the elected c(p)rime minister of bolehland!!
    he is ACTING like a bully to show his brand of malays that they could act likewise to their ‘inferiors’ future if he wins!
    I’d rather assume that this pathetic being was ragged and bullied in school contrary to HIM bullying anyone. well, you can’t buy everything with money.

    I hope these Schweinehundes will soon be sitting behind swedish curtains.

  12. ” Listen to Kishore Mahbubani’s interview “. – Din

    Yes , an incredible and interesting conversation . The ideas that Kishore shares by answering his host’s questions are so different from the norm but so simple and yet so thought provoking .

    For Kishore to be able to articulate and share his thoughts and ideas with such ease suggests that he has been developing and evolving his ideas for a while . Hence, his book should be a ” must buy ” not just for students of international relations but for all with a need to understand our modern enviroment and the world around this enviroment .

    But i won’t recommend this book to Tun Mahathir nor Tunku Aziz . They are too arrogant, too proud and have too large an ego to benefit from Kishore’s ideas . Tun Mahathir’s and Tunku Aziz’s minds are the size of a pea – to small to appreciate simple but big ideas.

    Kishore shares his thoughts here with humility , simplicity and provokes you to think too. Tun Mahathir and Tunku Aziz only arouse your ire.

  13. Tok Cik, Amin holds the rank of Lt.Gen and not Brig.Gen. Which corner does this maverick of a soldier’s soldier throw his towel to? Don’t tell me. It is PAS.

  14. A point to ponder , General… A Goddess of a human being will anihilate the Grinchy arrogance out of him and bring the mighty Kerelan Kutty down to his knees..

  15. Amin wears a grey ponytail and moustache. Hangs with his boys wing buddies at saujana. Still keeps a keen mind given his military intelligence background.

  16. Amin has a way with women in his early days. Is he still married to the same wife? Even as a captain in the mid 70s, his leadership qualities served him well in love and in war.

  17. You’re talking about Hadi Khattab or Amin Salleh, Bean? Amin left as a Maj-Gen not Lt-Gen. His spots a pony tail with long-flowing grey hair. That’s how he looks today. Occasionally, Amin will appear at our monthly gathering (last Wednesday of the month) at Royal Chulan Hotel in KL, behind LTAT.
    Nostalgia, eh, Tok Cik and Mr. Bean.Try to be more relevant to the topic.–Din Merican

  18. Tun Kutty masih nak jadi,the power behind the throne,of course dia boooleeeeh…………Blahh!!! tapi I prayed hard that dia tak mampus lagi,so that he can see for himself,the crumbling of his aspirations. Maan it would be great if I can hear Allah question him at Padang Mashar nanti.That will make my day forever,coz when it comes my turn,Allah will punished me too for letting sick old man kutty ran this country like he did coz I let him. Ya Allah,what Luck did you give me to be born while Kutty ran this country.
    mea culpa, bro.–Din Merican

  19. Nostalgia, eh, Tok Cik and Mr. Bean.Try to be more relevant to the topic.–Din Merican

    What can be more relevant than three decorated Generals on the back of a kerbau heading into the sunset?? More relevant than a mob of cocksuckers dangling their shrivelled nuts to the tune of a marching song??

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