Malaysia: Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is a Statesman and a Patriot


July 11, 2017

COMMENT: As I see it, there are two sides of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. He is a technocrat-manager, and he is also a politician. It is easy to get your wires crossed when you judge him. I experienced this cognitive dissonance every time I commented on him, and painfully too. As a person, the Tun is gentle, kind and considerate. As a politico, he can be as tough and unbending as a nail of reinforced steel.

Image result for tun dr mahathir

Tun Dr. Mahathir –Technocrat-Manager and Politician and Prime Minister

I am familiar with the man as a technocrat-manager because I had the privilege of working for him directly in 1970s.  I also had worked for Tun Ghazalie Shafie (Wisma Putra), Tun Ismail Bin Mohamed Ali (Bank Negara Malaysia and later when he became successor to Tun Tan), and Tun Tan Siew Sin and Tunku Ahmad Yahaya (Sime Darby Group ) in 1960s-1990s.

What do these outstanding personalities have in common? To me, they were thoroughly professional, smart, decisive and demanding bosses who did not suffer fools easily. More importantly, they judged me for my work and fidelity to the institution, not for my loyalty to them, or capacity to flatter them. In fact, I was afraid to even compliment them for fear of being misconstrued. Of course, they all had their strengths and failings, but there was no doubt in my mind that they were patriots who served Malaysia with distinction. They led by example, and had a great impact on my professional career.

Then there is Tun Dr.Mahathir, the politician, the Senator, Member of Parliament (Kubang Pasu) and Prime Minister of Malaysia (for 22 odd years). I knew him when I was growing up in Alor Setar, Kedah too. But I have great difficulty in understanding his decisions and actions, although I understood and accepted his Vision 2020,  Look East Policy and other economic and social policies.

Up to a point, I was even willing to accept his rationale for wanting power. I remember him saying that he needed the power to get things done. Indeed, he got the power he wanted and he certainly got things done. Look around and you can see for yourself his many accomplishments. He has left an indelible mark on our national landscape.

I know that Prime Minister Najib Razak is trying to erase them.  I heard from my friends when my wife Dr. Kamsiah and I visited Langkawi recently that Najib’s cronies were trying to eliminate some landmarks of the Mahathir era in Kuah. How  low and immature one can get.

Unfortunately, the Tun had too much power. With unchecked powers, he systematically brought all institutions of governance under the control of a powerful Executive Branch, a legacy he left to the present Prime Minister Najib Razak to fully exploit.  Now, it is next to impossible to replace the incumbent Prime Minister for corruption and abuses of power. Even national elections can be rigged.

Image result for Tom Plate's Conversations with Mahathir

 I can change my mind too. When Tun Dr. Mahathir put his Deputy Prime Minister Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim in jail on trumped up charges of sodomy in 1998, I had a change of heart and  became critical of his political leadership.  I even wrote what I thought of Tun Dr. Mahathir the Politician in Tom Plate’s book’s Conversations with Mahathir Mohamad. I have remained steadfast to my views on the Political Mahathir.

But I will never stoop so low as to condemn our Fourth Prime Minister and deny him his place in our national history. He is a truly outstanding statesmen and role model for Malaysians of my generation, especially those from Kedah.  He belongs with Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, a fellow Kedahan, in my pantheon of heroes. –Din Merican

Malaysia: Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is a Statesman and a Patriot

by Rais Hussin@www.malaysiakini.com

It was John Maynard Keynes who said: “When the facts change, I change my view”. The philosophy served him well.

Image result for john maynard keynes the economic consequences of the peace

Keynes could see ahead of time. When France and its allies punished Germany with reparations after World War I, Keynes knew that Germany would rise again to seek its revenge. He even wrote The Economic Consequences of the Peace [The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919) is a book written and published by John Maynard Keynes.[1] Keynes attended the Paris Peace Conference, 1919 as a delegate of the British Treasury and argued for a much more generous peace. It was a best-seller throughout the world and was critical in establishing a general opinion that the Versailles Treaty was a “Carthaginian peace“. It helped to consolidate American public opinion against the treaty and involvement in the League of Nations. The perception by much of the British public that Germany had been treated unfairly in turn was a crucial factor in public support for appeasement. The success of the book established Keynes’ reputation as a leading economist especially on the left. When Keynes was a key player in establishing the Bretton Woods system in 1944, he remembered the lessons from Versailles as well as the Great Depression. The Marshall Plan, after the Second World War, was a similar system to that proposed by Keynes in The Economic Consequences of the Peace.–wikipedia]

True enough, within a short generation of 20 years after the conclusion of the Versailles Treaty in 1919, Nazi was led by Hitler, wrecking damage on the whole of Europe. Did Keynes insist on more revenge against Germany? No. True to form when the facts change, he changed his opinion.

After Second World War, Keynes was among the few to insist that Germany has to be integrated into Europe to keep the whole region safe.

Statesmanship is about peering into the future. Under Dr Mahathir Mohamad, well before Malaysia knew what was Vision 2020, he had spoken at the Malaysian Business Council in 1990 on the importance of creating a country that was morally and economically strong.

In contrast, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has run the ship aground with allegedly the brazen RM44 billion mismanagement, of which the likes of Khairul Azwan, the Umno Youth vice-chief, is still in denial. It is as if 1MDB is “Pi Mai Pi Mai Tang Tu” (Come and go, come and go, and it’s OK too).

Well, too bad for Najib. Mahathir did not earn his “Tunship” by sheer ingratiation. If he did, the award would have been withdrawn given the government’s accusations that he has sold the country down the river with a wave and a bye.

Between 1981 and 2002, a full 22 years, Malaysia was the only one to have grown by leaps and bounds. Even at the height of the Asian financial crisis in 1999, Malaysia never so much as ask for a single dollar from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Yet, had IMF come into the picture, the bumiputera economic program, right down to how the government payroll would be spent, would come under the scrutiny of IMF.

Almost overnight, the sovereignty and independence of Malaysia were saved, which is more than any Malaysians can ask for from their leader.

In contrast, at the height of the Global Economic Recession in 2009, what Najib did was well-nigh irresponsible. Instead of building our country’s human capital, allegedly some RM44 billion or more, were borrowed and squandered, saddling Malaysia with even more debt.

Khairul Azwan–The Super Ampu Najib character

Khairul Azwan (photo), being a junior politician, some believe juvenile too, can only claim that Mahathir is not worthy of the title of being called a statesman. If not Mahathir, then who?

‘Upset Mahathir can support Anwar again’

Khairul Azwan is upset that Mahathir can support Anwar Ibrahim again. Well, when the facts change, Mahathir’s opinion too. And the facts that have changed are these: Najib has allegedly mismanaged the funds that were leveraged on the name of 1MDB, and avoided coming head to head with Mahathir for a public debate. If there is nothing to hide, Najib must debate with Mahathir.

In avoiding the need to face Mahathir head on, the likes of Khairul Azwan have had to step to the fore to defend the Prime Minister. But how can Khairul Azwan even suit the role granted that most Malaysian had never heard of his name until today?

Is he crying out to attract attention? Like he did when he lodged a police report against three impeccable “Tan Sris” that include Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Abdul Gani Patail and Abu Kassim Mohamed for attention. And attention he got when he was instantaneously rewarded with a senatorship by Najib.

Is he now crying for attention so that he will be given a parliamentary or state seats to contest? Is he eyeing a ministerial position or who knows, the coveted Menteri Besar post of Perak? Khairul Azwan knows loyalty to Najib has instant rewards or remuneration.

He had experienced it first-hand. Time to accentuate his loyalty to Najib for instant rewards while negating the interest of the people or the nation?


RAIS HUSSIN is a supreme council member of Parti Peribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu). He also heads the Policy and Strategy Bureau of Bersatu.

15 thoughts on “Malaysia: Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is a Statesman and a Patriot

  1. I don’t know. I still reserve my judgement until Mahathir becomes the 7th pm. That’s when we’ll really see if the “facts” we knew of him change or not. If they do change, (and I hope so of course), I’ll change my opinion then.

    Not many people are given a 2nd chance to redeem themselves at the age of 92. I advice him not to blow it just as he blew away 92 candles a couple of days ago.

  2. DDM you and I talked about Che Det many times and while I accept his thinking about moving Malaysia forward through development and modernization, I still cannot agree with the way he did things to achieve his goals i.e. Making the civil service kow tow to the political masters and reducing all the other apparatus of government subservient to BN and him. He has completely took over the powers of governing and check and balances from the Judiciary, Malay Rulers and Parliament. Its was what Mahathir wants Mahathir gets, no two way about it. He has crippled the Malay Rulers and made the Judiciary a rubber stamp and for a while no judge dared rule against the government. Later on cases were decided even before going to trial.

    His idea on enriching a few Malays with the hope of them uplifting other Malays falls short as the cronies began to get greedy and more interested in accumulation of personal wealth instead of developing others. Then theres the issue of giving all the projects to these selected cronies that they are overwhelmed and over extended themselves causing problems during the financial crisis.

    Che Det also raided all the Tabungs and cash rich GLC’s and made them into welfare organizations, employing the unemployed and unemployable resulting in mediocre performance, one example is MAS.

    It is difficult to judge him on the success of development and modernization since there was no other PM to compare with for 22 years. Furthermore the world was moving forward with science and technology and I am sure regardless of who was the PM Malaysia would have moved forward.

    As a statesman he put Malaysia on the map but for all the wrong reasons, like Buy British Last, South South, and anti Western rhetorics. He was crazy for power and did away with three Dy PM resulting in a power vacuum when it came time for him to retire.

    • Well said. But what is left unsaid is a leader who got his way through bastardising the original provisions of the Federal Constitution to suit his agendas and, most of all, determinedly dividing the people of a country into two unequal halfs can never be called a statesman and a patriot! What Mahathir had done for the physical development of Malaysia pales in comparison to the holistic destruction of a harmonious and united nation with divisive mantras. In most matters, social or otherwise, Mahathir remains the root cause of Malaysia’s problems today, even with the appointments of his successors! The truth is, on the contrary, it can be said the regressive nature of the current problems and racial bickerings today and in the foreseeable future are all attributable to this short-sighted leader but non-statesman.

  3. Mahathir ultimately is a patriot but a technocratic he is not. A real technocrat would have understood “the ends rarely justify the means” which at the core is how things ended up this way. A real technocrat would have understood the difference between affirmative action and entitlement which is what NEP is. A technocrat would have understood secularity need to be defended and article 122a broke the wall of defense.

    No Mahathir is no technocrat, neither is Najib and most of UMNO. Even KJ does not understand, defending 1MDB means UMNO will never change, means if Malays truly want to remove culture of corruption and abuse of power, UMNO must not only be removed, it must die.

  4. Are we to expect to elect a saint as a leader? I remember Barbra Streisand asked that question when questioned of her support for Bill Clinton. But as a leader of the country, the country was in a better shape when his (BC’s) terms ended. The same with the Tunku. The country he left us with was in a better shape for his successors to improve upon. That being said, I cannot get rid of the view that the inherent collective mindset of my own people – gullible to anything suggestive of “ketuanan” be it Malay race or now Islam. Jakim is acting more like a colonial office of yesteryears but who among us is calling it to stop dictating our own internal private communion with our maker? Back to the issue at hand, I am for the Tunku’s secularism and the separation of mosque (church) and the state, a perspective Mahathir gradually reversed by championing Malaysia being similar to “jaguh kampong” among the third world countries and the routes journeyed were increasing Islamization and Malay-ness of the country. The dominant trend in Malaysia’s cultural milieau now is worrisome, to say the least.

  5. Orang malaya,
    It’s in line of the trickle down economies which were the norms of the day. Remember Ronald Reagan. Of course, it doesn’t work

  6. As far as Governance & reigning over the nation, he was like a kid who wanted all the toys…. no one else , so he grabbed all the ‘toys’ (read powers….) = agreed OM , he put Malaysia on the world mappp …..

    Anything , as in all things , that which goes up must come down…..

  7. We’ve had the RAHMAN Prophesy, now for the MAHATHIR Prophesy?

    M = Mahathir
    A = Anwar
    H = ?
    A = ?
    ____________
    The next one is Hadi. And God Bless and then Help Malaysia because idiots will be running the country.–Din Merican

  8. Quote:- “Are we to expect to elect a saint as a leader?”

    No. Saints are not elected. They are beatified, meaning, to proclaim (a deceased person) to be one of the blessed and thus worthy of public religious veneration.

    I know what you mean of course, i.e., we should not expect perfection from our PMs. BTW, even Saints were not perfect, just imbued with perceived holiness, which, it seems, the latter of which many of our politicians also aspire to acquire.

    I would rather classify our PMs, so far, with more mundane attributes, as follows:

    Tungku = Earth = as in down-to-earth; live-and-let-live;

    Razak = Gold-plated = a shining exterior hiding some base metal beneath;

    Hussein Onn = Water = malleable, seeking out equilibrium and consensus;

    Mahathir = Fire = self-explanatory;

    Badawi = Wood = a log waiting to be shaped by others;

    Najib = ? (I leave this delicious morsel for you guys)

  9. This article appeared in Malaysia Chronicle today. A reader who goes by the name Owen Jones commented that “….TDM will succeed if he uses integrity, honesty and credibility as his platform….”.

    In my humble opinion, I believe humility is another element that will also help TDM tremendously.

    What I know about TDM is nothing to boast of, but enough to say that he was a leader with courageous – and at times, outrageous – ideas. The ideas that pushed the country to where it was before “…. his rationale for wanting power….” was overwhelmed by his appetite for power.

    In the end, he succumbed to the various schemes by those around him who feared having Anwar to succeed TDM as the PM.

    TDM was surrounded by people whom he trusted when he should have people with precisely the elements mentioned by Owen Jones to provide professional views from another angle and to monitor the implementation of his ideas and approvals.

  10. Since there is much rancor over the terms ‘Statesman’ and ‘Patriot’ among Malusians, we should at the very least, use the Bayesian probability with regards to this anomaly. Dissociative cognizance is not allowed, except at the Quantum level.

    My intensive research reveals the ratio of Octo’s Patriotism vs Statesmanship to be 1.618 – the Golden ratio. Since this is no longer ‘subjective’, i believe that at the age of 92 makes him ‘overripe’ to become the PM again – no matter his ‘utility’ in garnering the ‘useful idiot’ vote for the Oppo. I have no objection to putrefying stench in the interim, but to live through it in perpetuity is morally reprehensible and unsustainable.

    Therefore, i would support Muhyi as the ‘interim’ PM, provided he does it only for one term. Anyone above his/her mid sixties should ride into the sunset as we really need some fresh blood before we exsanguinate from corruption, nepotism, cronyism, apartheid, poor education and so on..

    Malusia is certainly no bastion of celestial tranquility – and many of those blokes in the Oppo are just as dastardly hopeless as those deranged imbeciles in PASUMNOb.

    Any questions about my mundane remarks should be addressed to Schrodinger’s Cat, who is both alive and dead at the same time.

  11. When Nations grow Old. The Arts grow Cold
    And Commerce settles on every Tree
    And the Poor & the Old can live upon Gold
    For all are Born Poor. Aged Sixty three.
    – William Blake (1757 – 1827)

    Malaysia could be said to be Sixty today.
    Malaysia was poor. Tun M was poor.
    Commerce does settle on every Tree.
    the Poor & the Old does live upon Gold.
    Yet, some in this nation no longer remembers the cost of bread.
    Hopefully Tun M still remembers that today, as he suggested he should be Malaysia’s aspiring PM for the next generation.

    The Nation grew a bit older whenever ‘Melayu Takkan Hilang Di Dunia’ has been incited. Mainland Chinese talked about such thing since the days of Mozi.
    That is very old, so old that we have tried to forget who those Mozi are, but still could not, every time Beijing incite hatred towards the Japanese. The same otherwise.

  12. // “When the facts change, I change my view”
    One fact did change. Tun M’s age limit and his desire to keep his good name provide possibilities to propel him to do things differently. We need to spell it out clearly what Bersatu must do, just as we spell out clearly what DAP/Keadilan must do. Personally, I hope Marina Mahathir joins Bersatu, and becomes more popular than his brother. I know who Marina is from her writings. But, for his brother, I only know him as Tun M’s son. There is no reason for me to believe most Malaysians would not think otherwise.

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