September 22, 2016
The mysterious (0r Delirious?)Dr. Mahathir
by Mariam Mokhtar
Fighting Against All Odds to Undo the Done
Do you blame the former Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, for Malaysia’s perilous state? Have you always wanted to know why he did what he did, and why he is desperate to get rid of Najib Abdul Razak?
If you are, and would like to question him, here is your chance. There is one proviso. You have to be in London, on Wednesday, when Mahathir will appear at the Senate House, The University of London. Places are limited, and on a ‘first come, first served’ basis.
The first question is: Why is Mahathir appearing on a stage in London, having a cosy chat with Wan Saiful Wan Jan, the Ideas chairperson. Information is limited. Why London?
One activist said, “Mahathir is desperate. No one is listening to him in Malaysia, so he’s had to cast his net further afield. The Malaysian activists in London may listen.”
His colleague disagreed. “He’s got his own PR team, and the activists are the least of his concerns.Many UMNO Baru leaders will be in town to enrol their children in university. I foresee several secret meetings over the coming days. Also, some UMNO Baru bigwigs, who were at the UN meeting, in New York, will travel home via London. This Wednesday talk is just a smokescreen.”
Another Malaysian said, “I want nothing to do with that man. He destroyed Malaysia, and taught Najib all he needed to know about clinging to power. Let him rot!”
A doctor, who was denied a scholarship and now practices abroad, said, “I demand that he apologises for the harm he caused Malaysia. The racism. The bumiputraism. The cronyism, and the other-isms.I had to leave Malaysia, and be separated from my family. My parents mortgaged their house, begged from others to educate me. I cannot forgive Mahathir, but if he wants us to consider giving his Citizens’ Declaration a chance, then he must consider making a public apology.”
So if you are in the audience, what would you ask? The list is long. Where would you start?
As a Sabahan, you probably want to know why he authorised Project IC, also known as Project M (M for Mahathir). The answer is obvious. Power. He will neither admit that, nor will he agree that Sabah should secede.
So how would you restructure your question? The migrant communities outnumber the locals. Sabah’s racial and religious demographics have been altered by Project IC. If you consider him responsible, then what do you think he can do to put things right? Mahathir cannot even elevate his son to a position of power.
The nation is polarised. You could ask why Mahathir is starting another race-based party, but the answer is obvious, isn’t it? What would you want him to say?
Did you believe him when he said that that he is worried about Malaysia? Why does he want to get rid of Najib, but not Umno Baru? Umno Baru is as much of the problem as Najib.
Why did he allow many of the things which caused Malaysia to fall apart, like allegedly giving the best concessions to his closest allies? They benefited from their friendship with Mahathir. For years, the rakyat and the opposition complained about many underhand practices, but Mahathir did not agree, until a year ago.
Worried about his legacy?
Was Mahathir’s keenness to oust Najib precipitated by his son Mukhriz’s loss of power in Kedah? Was Mahathir worried about his legacy?
Why did he tell people that he was not responsible for the detentions during Operation Lalang, the other Internal Security Act (ISA) detentions or Project IC? What sort of leader is unaware of what goes on during his watch? Convenient explanation, just another excuse, or finding a scapegoat?
Mahathir failed to clearly state that he was in Malaysia on the day of the Memali massacre. His Deputy at the time, Musa Hitam, took the blame, but more shocking was the silence of Mahathir’s coterie.
They could read and understand a calendar, yet, when asked, “Was Mahathir in Malaysia for Memali? Did he order the attack?”, they simply smiled and hid the truth, along with Mahathir. Why? Did they fear him?
Those who are worried by the rising religious intolerance may wish to know why Mahathir curbed the power of the royals, but did not curb the power of the religious men.
He allowed the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) to become the alleged ravening beast that it is today. A beast that forces Malaysians to live in a climate of fear. He declared Malaysia an Islamic state, knowing full well it is a secular state and Islam is its official religion.
Whilst Mahathir is in England, he might as well go to The University of Oxford, and have a chat with other influential Malaysians. So, why do you think Mahathir is in London?