June 22, 2018
Din Merican on Dr. Mahathir Mohamad (in 2015)
This was what in I wrote in 2015 (below). Today, he is back in power as our 7th Prime Minister after defeating his mentee, Najib Razak, in the May 9, 2018 General Election. That is remarkable achievement for Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. He will no doubt use his power to get things done. But I trust Tun will have also learned lessons from his first premiership. More than anything else, I want him to succeed to make the new Malaysia. For his own sake, for Malaysia’s sake and for History.–Din Merican
Din Merican : Mahathir learning his Lessons the Hard Way!
COMMENT: Tun Dr. Mahathir is learning his lessons the hard way. I recall some years ago at a luncheon speech he gave at a function organised by MIGHT (a government unit in the Prime Minister’s Department) which he created to spearhead technology and innovation, he said that he needed power because he wanted to get things done. Indeed, he got a lot of things done.
By sheer determination and ruthlessness, he broke barriers along the way to become the most powerful Prime Minister in our country’s history. He was the top honcho who could not be questioned or challenged. Woe betide those who dare. Anwar Ibrahim can attest to that fact.
The good Bomoh, as his close associates would label him, knew it all. He had a cure for everything from pins and paper clips to The Malay Dilemma and Vision 2020. As a man in a hurry, he would not tolerate contrarian or dissenting views. He had no time for small talk. You were for or against him.
How was he able to cling to power for 22+ years? He achieved his goal by amending the constitution to create a powerful Executive Branch, subjugating all institutions of governance including Parliament, the Judiciary and the civil service and creating a culture of fear and intimidation. He answered to no one. Malaysia was his fiefdom.
Recall Ops Lalang (1987), the indignities suffered by Lord President Tun Salleh Abas (1988) and the removal of Tun Musa Hitam and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. He also created UMNO Baru with a powerful UMNO President who could not be challenged so that he could remain in power for as long as he pleased.
Today, at 90 years, he is a tragic figure seeking to remain relevant and yet trapped in a system of his own making. There is nothing he can do now. His fight to remove Najib Razak from office has failed because his erstwhile mentee has the power while he is just an ordinary citizen like you and I acting singlehandedly without much influence on the course of Malaysian politics. We can make all the noises we want–we must continue to do that– but we must accept the reality that unless UMNO acts, Prime Minister Najib remains in power.
Our options are limited. Even a smoking gun like the rm2.6 billion scandal can be brushed aside by the new Attorney-General, Apandi Ali and others. Yes, indeed, what goes around comes around. Power is not permanent, and usually it comes at a price. Allow me to quote William Shakespeare.–Din Merican
They That Have Power to Hurt and Will Do None
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
That do not do the thing they most do show,
Who, moving others, are themselves as stone,
Unmoved, cold, and to temptation slow,
They rightly do inherit heaven’s graces
And husband Nature’s riches from expense:
They are the lords and owners of their faces,
Others but stewards of their excellence.
The summer’s flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed out braves his dignity:
For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.