MALAYSIA: Mr. Prime Minister, At 93, you have made history. So, it is time to rise above politics. Be a Statesman

February 17,2019

MALAYSIA: Mr. Prime Minister, At 93, you have made history. So, it is time to rise above politics. Be a Statesman

Opinion  |by  Francis Paul Siah


COMMENT | At least, two English dailies have carried editorials on the ills plaguing Pakatan Harapan in recent days. This is not surprising at all. It is a given that all is not well in the nine-month-old Harapan government.

Some of my fellow Malaysiakini columnists have also waded into the issue and with good reasons too. I can agree with some of their pointers.

The parties at the centre of the storm are none other than Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his fledging Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu).

I am also guilty of criticising Mahathir over the past month. There were two issues I took exception to. The first was his decision to bar Israeli athletes from entering the country which ended their participation in the World Para-Swimming Championships originally scheduled to be held in Kuching this coming July.

The second was Bersatu’s intention to set up a chapter in Sabah, reneging on its pact before GE14 with Parti Warisan to not do so.

Yes, I am really disappointed with Tun Mahathir on these two fronts and I stand in total disagreement with him on these issues.

If public feedback on the social media can be taken as a yardstick, there is one which I would feedback to our Prime Minister, to inform him sincerely that his decision to bar the Israeli swimmers has triggered an international outcry. That decision has given Mahathir and Malaysia a bad Image.

My posting entitled ‘Sorry, Dr M, you don’t speak for Sarawak this time’ in the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) blog attracted a total of 31,755 unique visitors in a single day last January 28.

That was the highest number of visitors to our little NGO blog over the past eight months. Visitors were not only Malaysians but came from the US, Australia, other Asian nations, the UK and other European countries.

This is honest feedback to our Prime Minister. Many do not understand his strong anti-Semitic stand nor his inability to separate race,religion, politics from sports.

To speak from the heart, I feel bad for having to critique our Prime Minister at times and actually feel sorry for him. It’s not nice to speak unkindly of a man his age, no matter his wrongs, and especially so when I’m much younger than him. Guess we are only fallible humans.

This week, I sent this message to my WhatsApp list of friends: “I have been criticising Dr M in recent days so much so that I feel malu having to keep on hammering the grand old man. I am thinking of penning another piece to be titled ‘If I were Dr Mahathir today at 94 …’. Tell me what would you do if you were in his shoes at 94 today?”

Here are some of their responses. Let them be feedback to our Prime Minister for what they are worth.

Be a statesman

  • Tun Mahathir should forget politics. He is not seeking re-election. Concentrate on running the country and turn the economy around. At 94, time is not on his side. So, better hurry. When he is gone, nobody will remember him or his legacy. But the country must be in good hands. Be a statesman, not a politician. Act on a bold vision that the nation will rise to eschew narrow racial politics.
  • Malaysia will be in trouble if Mahathir harbours these three myths:
  • 1. I set the direction, my son will carry on; 2 The Malays are incorrigible ; but I must save them at whatever cost; and  3. Islam  and Muslims/Malays mustremain dominant in Malaysia forever.
  • First of all, I sympathise with Mahathir that he is running a Harapan government that is weak and saddled with a huge debt from the previous regime.
  • These cannot be resolved in three years. Meantime, the people, rural folk, in particular, are suffering from the high cost of living. Unemployment is a serious threat from belt-tightening. During the three years of rough journey to reform the sociopolitical imbroglio, whoever is the PM has to persuade the people to swallow their bitter medicine that will do good later. So you need to wish that Dr M is blessed with good health to continue what he set out to do for the sake of the nation.
  • Mahathir has to concede that Malaysia is in a dire state of decline in living standards. He has to move quickly to arrest that. This is a monumental challenge for any leader and it is incumbent upon Mahathir, as the Pprime minister, to do the job.
  • Put Najib behind bars first. Then bring in the rule of law […] if I were him.
  • Tun Mahathir is an extraordinary man. Not many will live up to 94. If I were him, I would take a break and relax.. I bet he is not aware there is a more beautiful and wholesome life out there, away from power and politics.
  • You should be awarded the “Nobel P***k Prize” for badgering Dr Mahathir. I like him. He is doing his best for the country. Please accord him more respect.

No more pussyfooting

So what is my own take “if I were Dr Mahathir today”? The first thing I would do is to stay far, far away from politics, resign as Bersatu chairperson and allow Muhyiddin Yassin and Mukhriz Mahathir to run the show.

I would not worry about my son’s ascension on the political hierarchy. I should know that the Mahathir name alone would carry my next few generations very well and ensure a bright future for them.

I would also stop meeting former UMNO lawmakers, including those from PAS. I would avoid them like the plague. I should know that when they want to meet me, they expect something. There is nothing such “parasites” could bring to the table to help Harapan improve anything in the country.

I would reshuffle my cabinet. The under-performing ministers should go. Nine months is enough time for them to prove themselves. By now, I should know that some are just not minister-material. A spring cleaning is in order.

I would stop antagonising my Harapan colleagues and start listening to their concerns about accepting ex-UMNO parasites. Saying that they have changed sounds so shallow and feeble. So is telling Shafie Apdal that Bersatu is going to Sabah to help him and Warisan. I should be aware that those statements sounded hollow, childish even.

I would make sure that my promise to Anwar Ibrahim to pass the baton to him two years after Harapan’s victory is fulfilled. No more pussyfooting around on this.My friend is right. Mahathir must stop being a politician. He has to be a statesman.

That is what many would want our current paramount leader to be. Even those of us who have criticised him would badly want him to succeed for the sake of the nation and the people as he enters the final lap of his illustrious political career.

May the One Above continue to bless our dear Dr Mahathir with good health and we all wish him many, many happy years ahead!

FRANCIS PAUL SIAH head the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

7, 2019


12 thoughts on “MALAYSIA: Mr. Prime Minister, At 93, you have made history. So, it is time to rise above politics. Be a Statesman

  1. The “Great Man theory of history” and the “social forces” approach must work in tandem for the sake of the nation. The Great Man must be Mandela-like and put the interests of the nation first, and not the political party or a particular ethnic group first.
    Take into account the social forces (including the forces of globalisation) too. Far-sighted nations of the world are competing for talent – discrimination will continue to make Malaysia lose our talented people. Internal migration and urbanisation – our electoral boundaries must be redrawn to make them more reflective of the shifts in population distribution (and composition). Do we want the forces of conservatism and intolerant religiosity (also anti-science) to be way over-represented in our Parliament ?

    • Tun Dr is no Mandela. He is akin to one who fight for white supremacist in a world with little supremacist ideology. He is one who has entrapped the Melayu into against all and turned them into a people of panhandlers. After Tun Dr, there would be no more. There is no reason to believe history will write well of him. He has already missed his chance to redeem himself. Everything he does and not do is all going to be continuation of Welayu. Melayu has been cursed because of Tun Dr. Face this reality .. then there might still be hope. Else, .. be kiasu. Party like there’s tomorrow. He will dish out wealth to those around him. Curry his favor and you will be blessed in return. That’s what Jho Low did. Is he wrong in a world that cherishes kiasu in a world of perpetual Melayu dilemma.

    • Dr M is the exact opposite of Mandela. One divides the people; the other united his people. One is vindictive and harbours long simmering resentment; the other is forgiving – even to those who threw him in jail.

  2. Mahathir top skill is actually politics and not governance and to be a statesman, you need to be good at governance. To ask Mahathir to give up what he excell at for something he is not good at, it’s not really realistic.

    Seriously, the latest Mahathir blow to Hadi delusion, pretty much confirms he is too far better at politics to really be a statesman

  3. Again he has lost his chance to go down in history as a reformed statesmen. Too bad Malaysia just don’t have an alternative to relay on. And if there is really a God I pray He has mercy on us all.

    • Why should any God has mercy on a people who cherishes kiasu and kiasi? I see no reason, except for one. It is not mercy but something else. But, that is besides the point. Write to your MPs tell them to stop being kiasu and kiasi and understand the meaning of 義. It is jihad. It is truth. It takes sacrifice. Berani kerana benar. Stand up and stop panhandling from gods.

  4. Mahathir, is Machiavellian by nature and sinister by design and in his DNA and genetic persona. Statesman, not in your life.
    Mahathir is a sly multifaced politicians like Medusa or 1 of those hideous multiheaded monster even Alien the movie creature will cringe upon Mahathir’s face.

    Definitely no skills whatsoever other than scheming ability

    Malaysia lost decades of opportunities under Mahathir’s failures as PM4 and now as PM7, more same old shenanigans and plundering towards DYNASTY Mahathir,.

  5. This Fillipino writer must had been dedah Kaw kaw sampai telan bola Mahathir. (Paycheck journalist to the hilt and sucking on Mahathir’s balls)


    If Mahathir is GREAT, my big toes are greater.

    Comparing Ferdinand Marcos is more appropriate than Fidel Ramos and Marcos is a SAINT by comparison.

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