Mahathir–The Game Changer for Bersih 4?

September 1, 2015

Malaysia: Mahathir–The Game Changer for Bersih 4?

by Scott Ng

mahathirbersih-4The Game Changer for Bersih 4 or a Free Rider?

Mahathir Mohamad’s presence at last weekend’s Bersih rally marked a watershed moment in Malaysian politics. Perhaps it was not the watershed moment Bersih was looking for, but it was of singular significance nonetheless, considering the less than illustrious history Mahathir has had with street demonstrations, something many felt compelled to point out.

Up till that point, Bersih 4 had been impressive, but lacking the needed impact to turn heads in Putrajaya. The crowds were well-disciplined and jovial, everything was proceeding as planned, but there was no spark to ignite the moment, unlike previous Bersih rallies, where turmoil defined the protests as some of the most significant in Malaysian history.

There was also the matter of the crowd’s racial composition, as the low Malay turnout led to government mouthpieces spinning Bersih 4 into a Chinese-DAP movement as opposed to a truly Malaysian one. The full spectrum of Malaysian colour needed to be on its most extravagant display, but it fell short and Najib celebrated another victory as media headlines painted the day’s procession as a largely tame event.

Then the rumblings started. Mahathir will be at Bersih. Tun M is coming. He’s coming when we need him. And sure enough, Mahathir appeared out of the blue, causing a media frenzy that shot Bersih back into significance. Although he left as quickly as he came, he had ignited a spark for Bersih. Immediately, Najib’s damage control team went into overdrive. They accused Mahathir of being a hypocrite and traitor, having betrayed Umno by having the sheer, unmitigated gall to step foot among the rabble rousers. How dare he consort with the enemy, they screamed.

Mahathir would make his intentions known the next day as once again, word spread of his impending arrival at the rally, this time accompanied by photos of him and his wife making their way to the crowds along with former law minister Zaid Ibrahim. And sure enough, he came and delivered a speech from the steps of Central Market.

In his speech, Mahathir made four very bold statements that may lay the foundations for future protests. One, he emphasised that he was at the rally for the people, placing importance on people power in the effort to oust Najib. Two, he announced that all UMNO MPs had been bribed by Najib, along with all of Umno’s division chiefs. Three, he proclaimed again that Najib’s RM2.6 billion did not come from the Arabs, but from 1MDB. Four, he told everyone to keep demonstrating, saying it was one of the last resorts in their attempt to be rid of Najib.

Mahathir’s presence changed the perception that Bersih 4 was a “Chinese thing” and legitimised Bersih and all future rallies as avenues to oust Najib, regardless of the intentions or agendas of the organisers. As an elder statesman, his words carry more weight than the voice of the multitudes, especially to the Malays.

Bersih 4.0 in Jalan Tun Perak

Despite all this, some, including some people in Bersih, felt that it was an apt time to make Mahathir account for his past sins. Yes, his sins are numerous, and yes, there are people who cannot forgive him. He paved the way for Najib to act the way he does.

You can hate him all you want, you can criticise and you can mock, but do not pretend that you did not need him. He came when you needed him the most, deeply aware that some people in the crowd despised him.

Some have called this Mahathir’s repentance. Perhaps it really is his repentance for hand picking what many consider to be the worst Prime Minister in Malaysian history. Perhaps removing Najib is the last goal he needs to achieve so that he may rest a little easier when he goes off for his long sleep. If the old man wants to repent, who are we to stop him or mock him?

Mahathir changed the game for Bersih and the people. He repainted the battle lines as no longer being a case of “DAP/the Opposition against UMNO,” but a case of “The rakyat versus Najib.” Whatever you think of him, Mahathir came through for the people last weekend. Perhaps we should be focusing on that a little more.

22 thoughts on “Mahathir–The Game Changer for Bersih 4?

  1. You will be hearing from me in Phnom Penh. I will be monitoring and writing about developments from a distance. Stay tuned. Be relentless in your pursuit for Bersih’s Five Demands and the removal of Najib as Prime Minister. In the meantime, please comment on Scott Ng’s take on Mahathir and Bersih 4. Over to CLF, Orang Malaya, Tok Cik, Conrad .

    This is what my wife Dr. Kamsiah wrote in response to Mr. Ng’s article and I quote her :

    “He is a typical political opportunist. He would use any opportunity to bring Najib down. He forgot, maybe deliberate on his part, that Bersih 4.0 is more than just Najib. There are 5 other demands which relate to governance , corruption, free and fair elections economic reforms and the right to dissent which he rejected. In fact he is anti-Bersih because supporting it would negate his legacy.”(Kamsiah Haider). Thanks for your support and best wishes.–Din Merican

  2. Scott Ng & his readers should note the BIG CAVEAT mahathir made on his presence at Bersih4 – that he did NOT care about any of the demands made by Bersih4 and all he is interested in is the removal of Najib as the PM for the REAL reasons ONLY known to himself. He said he did NOT support Bersih4. So, he did hijack the Bersih4 from the DAP and the other Opposition parties, with the noted exception of PAS. A game-changer for Bersih4 with Mahathir’s presence??? Yes, of course, he changed it to his special purpose – he is one smart mamak to whom I take off my hat. Note too that Mahathir wants the BN/UMNO to continue ruling the country after removing Najib as the PM – the so-called unity government is too far from his mind and ‘SAVE MALAYSIA’ he will, but in his ‘my way’ style which has NOT changed and never will. Don’t be fooled…….

  3. That what Mahathir did was patriotic cannot be denied although he is clearly scheming to turn on Bersih once he beats Najib. He made an important difference although I would not say yet its game changer.. It all depends if they can spin it in the heartland, whether GBH can take advantage of it with all the prominents Malays together to convince enough to vote them. If they can garner say 40% of the rural vote and PAS and Umno cooperation is scandalized enough, then there is a chance.. a very good chance..

  4. I think the rakyat also realize he opprtunist. However, we also uses him to shield us from Zahid ever critic on betrayal of Chinese. With Tun Dr Mahathir, people like Tunku Aziz, Zahid and others cannot blame Bersih on the Chinese because Tun Dr Mahathir an Ultra Malay was there to show support. So, I welcome Tun’s visit.

    In addition, we also welcome some Sultan condemnation on UMNO.


  5. Bernie Sanders, running for Democratic Party nominee for President of USA says this:

    “The only way we bring about real change in this country which represents the needs of the middle class and working families is when millions of people stand up and say “Enough is enough!” … unless millions of people say … this country belongs to us, our Government must represent all of us ….. ”

    “At the end of the day, they may have the money but we have the people and if the people stand together, we can win.”

  6. Che Det was shut off and desparately needed a forum to pursue his agenda. Bersih 4 became his victim. He said he didnt agree with Bersih 4 and the 5 items on Bersih 4 agenda, yet he used Bersih 4 as a platform to go after Jibby and used the excuse ‘for the rakyat’. Since when has Che Det been for the rakyat?

    He was solely responsible for creating the present situation we have now. He set up the system such as no election for President of UMNO and he consolidated power in the PM thereby neutralizing the Judiciary, Royalty and the Legislative. Both Pak Lah and Jibby were his selection and both had disappointed him. Thus he’s on the warpath dead set in removing Pak Lah and Jibby. It was easier to remove Pak Lah as Che Det still had a lot of followers but find it difficult to dislodge Jibby as ‘lu tolong gus, gua tolong lu, berapa lu mau’ has been effectively used by Jibby.

    So Che Det is a real opportunist here under the guise of ‘for the rakyat’ and sad to say that many Malaysians still consider him the savior. True when he says Melayu lekas lupa and he knows and exploited it to its fullest. Malaysia wouldnt be in this situation if Che Det didnt manipulate the system.

  7. .In politics there r no permanent allies and enemies.
    .Siti hasmah hv given this hint”People Power”
    .will someone talk to PAS and any other party to put away their differences and approach this like mahathir?i.e.for the PEOPLE.
    .next date cloud be 16 Sept.

  8. The datin is absolutely right. Mahathir is part of, if not the very source of the problems we now face. And therefore he is not and cannot be the solution.

    Look at what Mahathir wants — Najib to go but UMNO to retain power.
    So who will take over — Muhyiddin? Zahid? Same poison new bottle.
    Or Ku Li — who has proven time and again that he is missing the vital pair just below the waist? If Ku Li cannot even take on a thief, what chance has he in defending the country’s interest internationally against far greater powers?

    I am not sure which saddens me more — the fact that we allowed Mahathir to destroy state institutions and subvert our collective will, or that so many of us now see him as some sort of savior with the panacea to make everything right again.

    We need to vote BN out at the earliest opportunity and we need the heartland votes to do it.

  9. As a fellow old FREE who admired your footballing and hockey days for PFS, I always felt your writings are very succinct and very fair. Yes, Dr M may have done some things he has cause to regret for, but as you said, his attendances at the Bersih rallies could have been his repentance, and yet somehow it gave it the credence and lifted the spirits of the Rakyat. For that, I am willing to forgive him and wish him long life. Long may he continue to spur the rakyat on, for whatever reason, for it gave the Bersih 4 life and impetus.

  10. Phua,
    Sander reminds me of Miliband but hey hey hey, didn’t Miliband fail to win the election? Now it seems that Corbyn may win the Labour (UK) leadership. Not sure Labout (UK) will go far with Corbyn’s leadership. Likewise for Sander. The best man for Democrats shall be Al Gore.

    Poh Hwa,
    You may forgive him but you shall no forget what he had done. Seriously there is one leader that Americans especially the blacks should forgive and forget shall be George Wallace. Wonder Malott would agree with me

    Madhater is no George Wallace

    ku Li has chosen not to run for election in GE14. Ah so

    Guys and gals,
    Introducing George Wallace interview by Larry King

  11. ”BERSIH is 4 ALL”, …and ALL, including Mahathir, are welcomed, as long as their presence and speeches are peaceful and non-violent, act or speak, legally within the constitution, even with provocations and instigations.

    Mahathir has probably done it, hijacking the platform for his own ambitions and profits-But if it is for his personal or the people, that will be for the Rakyat to judge, based on his past records and what he had said. For him saying one thing is often doing another or the opposites.

    For the people, ‘’BERSIH is 4 Free, Fair and Clean Election and Government.’’
    and stay focused.

    If the platform, to some extent, had been hijacked and misused, BERSIH Chairman and Committee need to Explain and Clarify, and Reaffirm its Objective Clearly.

  12. Once we, or Bersih 4 or 5 or 6, compromise on Mahathir we lose all moral justification to demand Najib’s removal.

    Mahathir should be told in no uncertain terms that he hijacked Bersih 4 for his own personal agenda. He said so very clearly. He was not supporting Bersih, (in any numerical hue), and whether he supported any body or anything else was besides the point.

    You do not attend a wedding and then tell the wedding couple they should not get married. That was what the old fox did.

  13. In this ever-increasing gloom an evil man like Al Kutty makes a difference. Love or loath the guy we, the harbingers of change, welcome his presence. Beggars don’t have a choice.

  14. Of course, Octo was shut off, O.M.!
    Each UMNOb division chief was bought off with RM 5 mil. minimum.
    So are most the Goon M.P.’s. Cash is King, what.

    What ‘platform’ could anyOne take under the circumstances? The Bully Pulpits are far in between and mostly located in the birthplace of UMNO Ori. The best a conniving, shrewd schemer like him, can do is to ‘hijack’ an audience of a couple of hundred thousands – who share a smidgen of his views.. Conditional support is better than zero support. Short term gain, does not necessarily obviate long term goals. Bersih’s Goals are Ideals – not necessarily Hardcore Instruments of Realpolitik.

    Octo, after all, still highly regarded among many middle class folk – mainly for his strength of character and stalwart dedication to his manipulative principles – even when detrimental to themselves. That is the true sign of a Leader – not the cowering, conflicted, despicable, corrupt, spineless fake we have now. Hitler and Stalin at their peak, were compared with Genghis Khan and Alexander the Great , weren’t they?

    Politics is the Art of appearing Purposeful, Relevant, Righteous, Appropriate and Brave, and nothing else. Jibros handlers have none of these.

  15. “If the old man wants to repent, who are we to stop him or mock him?” Scott Ng.

    Mr. Ng might be high on some weed. He chose to visualize that Dr. M has repented while Dr. M said nothing in that effect. Being presence in Bersih calling for Najib’s ouster, which is not an official Bersih’s demand, is not a repent.

    This is what would be a repent from Dr. M:
    “I regret for advising Agong to start the process of sacking 6 supreme court judges in 1988. I had destroyed Malaysia’s institutions so that the three branches of government can hardly check on each others. I finally realize at the age of 90 that none of the three branches of government can be allowed to be toppled and made subservient to the others.”

    Now, Dr. M is embarking the process of toppling the head of executive branch via protest because he thinks “that is the last resort of the people”. He did not choose constitutional means to replace head of executive branch. He did whatever he got a chance to do. A de javu. Did he repent?

    What we need is Dr. Kamsiah’s sharp observation including detecting hidden cavities in our teeth.

  16. I have a mixed feeling about Tun M’s presence, not just once but twice at that, at BERSIH 4.0 rally, Dato… No doubt it brought much attention for the rally but to be fair the success of the rally was already evident even without his presence. I feel he had merely “hijacked” the rally to try and unseat PM Najib and having been drowned out by the noise and the vuvuzuelas he could not make his messages heard the first round.

    Thus he made a second trip back to the rally the next day… at 4.30pm at Pasar Seni and I actually heard this rumour as early as 10.00am so I supposed back then it wasn’t a rumour because I was even told there will be an interview in the train with Channel News Asia and then at a specific Indian Mamak restaurant where several reporters have been invited with TV cameras etc…. so the old fox set it all up…

    Tun M also said he is not there to support BERSIH 4.0 but he was there to join others who are asking questions about Najib’s RM2.6 billion donation and want answers like the rest. But hey, this isn’t one of BERSIH’s 5 demands…

    So when Maria Chin Abdullah was asked if BERSIH would allow Tun to speak at the grand finale before the 12.00 midnight – she was quick to respond – ONLY IF HE WEARS THE BERSIH T-SHIRT! and I think she knew exactly what the old fox was up to…

    To me Tun M’s presence shifted the attention to the RM2.6 billion question and UMNO internal squabble… this has not been fair to BERSIH organizers who actually had wanted the focus on fair and clean elections, freedom of speech, eradicate corruption, governance and transformation of election laws etc…

  17. As usual CLF has the right of it, which truthfully I find vexing since it renders all my points moot. Shiou too manages to make some valid points but like BERSIH is devoid of any sense of realpolitik.

    I’m kind of ambivalent about this but this points more to my scepticism about oppo politics more than anything else. Mahathir sexed up the event no doubt about it. His voice carries weight amongst the hoi polloi of the Malay polity who are desperate for some sort of firm leadership.

    What I’m seeing is a coalescing of middle ground elite Malays around the Old Fox, which may herald a more sustained attack Najib from his enemies within.

    Concepts like hypocrisy, repentance or change is not productive when discussing someone like Mahathir. He is an Übermensch as far as Malaysian politics is concerned and petty UMNO minds or idealistic BERSIH minds cannot even fathom the poisoned chalice he offers Malaysians.

    What does not kill you make you stronger and ain’t that the truth when it comes to this man and his policies.

  18. Malaysian’s also MUDAH LUPA – bukan Melayu aja.

    Lets list out some of this scums deeds during his 22 years as prime minister just to remind ourselves :

    1. Who screwed and corrupted the Malaysian Judiciary?

    Answer : This Kutty fella lah.

    2. Who caused the jailing of Anwar Ibrahim on trumped up charges ?

    Answer : This Kutty fella lah.

    3. Who wasted billions of ringgit of Malaysian people’s funds on aventurist policies like the Proton Project and dabbling in the Money market and the tin market ?

    Answer : This kutty fella lah.

    4. Who’s son spent billions to buy 20% of San Miguel Corporation of the Philippines ?

    Answer : This Kutty fella’s son lah.

    5. Who screwed up Perwaja and Malaysia Airlines ?

    Answer : This Kutty fella lah.

    6. Petron Corporation of the Philippines is a subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation. Now guess who controls Petron Malaysia ?

    Answer : This Kutty fella’s family lah.

    7. Who introduced Malay and Islamic supremacy policies which has screwed up the very foundation and the very social fabric of this nation ?

    Answer : This Kutty fella lah.

    8. Who’s policies has succeeded in alienating the Sarawakians and Sabahans ?

    Answer : This Kutty fella lah.

    9. Who authorised the giving of identity cards to Filipinos, Pakistani’s, Bangladeshi’s etc?

    Answer : This Kutty fella lah.

    And this list can go on and on . It may take me 22 years to complete this list – that is as long as his 22 year rule. So lets not allow this scum to continue insulting our commonsense !

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.