Should Mahathir go now? Certainly not!

April 12, 2019

Should Mahathir go now? Certainly not!

Opinion  |  Mariam Mokhtar

Published:  |  Modified:


COMMENT | Let’s be clear about one thing. The only thing I share with Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is our initials – MM. That is all. I have been his critic for decades and was persuaded, just a few months before GE-14, to support/endorse Mahathir by two of his former critics, Zunar and Hishammuddin Rais.

Today, there are calls for Mahathir to step down. No! He should not.

The most dangerous political scandal, since GE-14, is finally cracking open like a ripe durian. It is an attempt to bring down Mahathir, his cabinet and Pakatan Harapan.

Mahathir said Malaysia’s withdrawal from the Rome Statute was not because the international treaty was bad, but the confusion created by “one particular person who wants to be free to beat up people”.

He added, “I find that this particular attempt to get the rulers involved so that they can get leverage, and even trying to get the rulers to sign some order against me.”

You may have missed the bit about “getting the rulers to sign some order,” because most of us would have been fixated on the “one particular person”.

Can you imagine the dangers brought about by a power vacuum after Mahathir’s removal? Think Iraq or Libya.

Guess who has been whipping up anti-Harapan sentiments, and re-engineered his image on social media.

Guess who despises Mahathir, because he is the only one with the guts to stand up against them.

Their fatal attraction has been festering for 26 years. How can the rakyat act against people whose business interests are so powerful that they swamp the small-time trader? How can the nation be protected against powerful people who forge long-term business deals with foreigners?

Guess why the ulama have an intense dislike of Mahathir. He dares to scold them and tell them to understand their religion better, instead of confusing their flock with their own warped interpretations.

Guess who else abhors Mahathir. The civil servants who benefited from Najib’s largesse, some elite Malays who are crippled by their crab mentality, and the insecure Malays with their siege mentality. These form a volatile mixture.

Mahathir has started the job of cleaning up Malaysia, and he should continue. Moreover, he has to sort out the mess that lies between Putrajaya and that “red dot” across the Causeway.

Only Mahathir has the guts and political will to do this, but ironically, many Malays, on whom he has showered the most help, are among the most fractious, most fragile and most flippant. This is part of his unfinished business, and to ask Mahathir to leave now would be premature.

The Mahathir of today is not the Mahathir of the past. There are flashes of his former self, but by and large, he has most probably realised his mistakes and acknowledged that he needs to correct them before he retires for good.

Mahathir may be dictatorial, in that he brooks no dissent, but he is not a dictator. Mahathir and Harapan were democratically elected. There was no North Korean type of election, with only one candidate.

The Mahathir of today is a “milder” version of his former self. In the “golden age” of Mahathir, newspapers would be in fear of having to stop publication, and people would be locked up under the ISA. He compromised many institutions. He was the architect of Project IC. Having previously been accused of interference, he is now reluctant to be seen as a meddler, or tyrant.

Some of you may have the experience of buying a house, but when you moved in and found that the inside was full of old junk, the floorboards rotten, the roof leaking? You cannot put your own furniture in it, nor decorate it, until the repairs have been completed.

Malaysia is like this old house. Team Mahathir has moved into government and found 61 years of rot. Until most things are fixed, they cannot fully initiate the reforms.

Last year, soon after he was made PM, Mahathir knew who he wanted for attorney-general, and who should helm the key ministries. He has acknowledged that some ministers are disappointing, and he has ordered them to improve their act. Does he have enough capable people to make sweeping changes to his cabinet?

It seems to have taken a long time, but disgraced, former PM Najib Abdul Razak, Rosmah Mansor, Zahid Hamidi, Abdul Azeez Rahim, Isa Samad and Muhammad Shafee Abdullah are being investigated. The rest are being processed. Their time will come.

The waters around Putrajaya are still choppy. Until Najib has been punished for his crimes against the people of Malaysia, we cannot rest; therefore, now is not the time to change leaders.

Nor is it the time to have two leaders; a functioning PM and a PM-in-waiting. There is nothing more destructive than to pit two men against one another, with daily comparisons of their performance, as if it were a tennis match.

We would like to move forward, as a nation, to repair race relations, increase integration and improve the economy. We are sick and tired of the three “Rs” of race, religion and royalty. They are a distraction, especially when there are more important matters.

Mahathir must resolve the Malay dilemma. He should think long-term, and not opt for short term gains. He should break that impasse.

MARIAM MOKHTAR is a defender of the truth, the admiral-general of the Green Bean Army and president of the Perak Liberation Organisation (PLO). Blog, Twitter.

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


26 thoughts on “Should Mahathir go now? Certainly not!

  1. //Mahathir must resolve the Malay dilemma.
    Tun Dr has already decided how he wanted to resolve the issue this time around. It is exactly what he has mentioned in his book. He coined the term. Reid Commission would be an open secret. What else is there to resolve? MM too has decided to layu together. Nonetheless, what is flawed in MM’s argument is that DSAI, being promised by Tun Dr to lead next, could not be a leader who could hold PH together. What is flawed is that MM think Tun Dr would not do more harm. .. Bonfire of vanities is next to come to Malaysia. Enjoy your vice while you still can, rakan-rakan. FOMO second caste, learn to how to enjoy JOMO… Whether we like it or not, that is our future. If Tun Dr would not want that, MM would not even need to write above piece.

  2. Well written. The truth hurt certain fools, whoever read this article will strongly understand this is the need of the Malaysian. Let the fools fool themselves, eventually they will drag/tag along with us. TM do what you need to do we are waiting anxiously to ripe what you sow. Be strong we are with you.

    • @Lian, in my belief, reap what you sow cuts both ways. I support Tun Dr in doing the right thing. Allowing us to read the content of Reid Commission is an important thing he must do today. Blessings to Tun Dr in his long rule if he could retire with this note.




  4. 1. PPBM should only present one candidate for MB Johor who has the support of the majority of the ADUNs in the Johor State assembly.

  5. Aisay.. ramai drama kings/queens and capital shouters kat sini nowadays.. Frightening, ya? Besides being rude, aggressive and soft in the head.

    Perhaps MM of all stripes should look at the whole spectrum of today’s Octo’ism, before pronouncing and making judgment calls on this and that. Too many lack critical thinking or triadic thinking (see here: nowadays. Anyway when it comes to Regicide, i’ll vouch for it over Genocide.

    Btw, the poor broken nosed N.S. prince was beaten up about 10 years, not 2 years ago. Besides remember those curious P. Rawa incidents? KleptoMo and his geng wouldn’t or couldn’t deal with it – thus enabling more triadic horse-camel manure to be spilled on the Royal Institutions. So besides cleaning Klepto’s Crimes of Commission, Octo has to clean out his Crimes of Omission.

    Otoh, i favor a ‘Democratic’ Constitutional Monarchy..

  6. Sultanate and Sultans is anachronism in this modern age. They should keep away from dabbling in politics and enjoy the privy purse which run into millions of rakyat money. Is that that difficult?

  7. Yes, if Mahathir continues to say one thing and doing another.

    No,if he starts doing the things he says subject to Observing and acting diligently and strictly with or on :
    a)the separation of the powers of Executive , Judiciary and the Administrative.
    b) the constituted positions of the Race, Religion and the Royalty.
    c) the Democratic Monarchy Parliamentary Constitution Rules Supreme.
    e) all persons, regardless of their beliefs or otherwise, are equal before the Rule of Law.

  8. Very well written article by Miriam M. I have always been ambivalent with Mahathir, the individual and as Prime Minister.I would not have believed myself that I will ever write to support Mahathir. I am one of those who left Malaysia because of Mahathir and subsequent deterioration of Malaysia because of him. Like him or hate him, he walks his own path, rightly or wrongly. There are areas that I admire him and hatred on other aspects on how he get it done. After seeing the damage done by Najib, ex-Mahathir detractors are glad to see him back. He is on the right track with the royals and his current stand against them is correct and honorable. Who else in the Malaysian political scene have the “cojones” to stand up against them.

    Mahathir should continue his work and if it takes longer, Anwar should be the first one to welcome Mahathir’s extended tenure. The longer Mahathir stays as PM, the less garbage is left behind for Anwar.

    • Interesting perspective that withdrawing from the Roman Statute commitment is a “right” and “honorable” act to stand against the “royals”. Interesting perspective on what you might have against the royals. Interesting perspective that Roman Statute is not a good thing. Interesting perspective that what Tun Dr has acted on the Roman Statute is on the right track, when not commiting to the Roman Statute is exactly what 1PM’s administration has decided to do all the time. I only wonder what has Tun Dr done in the past to make you leave the first time? Perhaps, at the same time, what has DSAI done or not done for you to suggest that Tun Dr should break his own promise to pass the seat to DSAI in two years time. Breaking promise is a right thing to do? You must elaborate and share more.

    • Hey , but then, the future generations are looking beyond Anwar, because most of them are rogue leaders of Umnob or ex-Umnob .

      They are the consequences of the largely self-serving Mahathirism culture MACCP and leaving behind leaders of no substantive quality. These will be the messy , bigger mess that makes it even more difficult to resolve for the future .

      The people don’t want them to stay anytime longer than necessary.

      They ,both the people, and Mahathir-Anwar, be reminded vigorously, that M-A are there as Transitions.

      The people need and want the country ” to start on clean slate” soonest.

    • Future generation has only 1 princess. She has rejected her own father’s work.
      Others.. I don’t know who they are. Perhaps you do. I don’t. For my second caste generation, there is a Tony Pua. But, he disappeared from public eyes since May 2018, even though he is supposed to be one MP who represents the most rakyat. I have a thing for @NatTan. But, fortune is not on his side. For Malaysia Minister Saifuddin.. yes! But, he is no KJ. And, KJ is no princess. He divides as much as he unites. What kind of mythical next generation beyond DSAI are we talking about.. I don’t know. It is fair to say, compared to Tun Dr, we are all next generations. I want to be wrong. But, just like the sad case of after Tun Perak, there was none worth mentioning. We are looking at a scenario of after Tun Dr, there is none. Bonfire of vanities is real.

  9. TM must stay on to clean up the Country. The Rakyat will support you. Their voices Wii drown your adversaries and pave the way for you to do what is necessary for our Beautiful Country.

    • Yes, Tun Dr must really work on cleaning up the nation. Clock is ticking. Else, let others do the job. Unarchive Reid Commission and let all rakyat read it today. It is a fair and responsible thing to do. It is a prudent act to tell the nation that today’s Malay dilemma is no longer Malay against Chinese, but rather it is a much more complicated picture of Malays against Malays today, and Malays need to do the right thing today, so that this Tanah Melayu no longer needs to layu. Melayu has turned topsy turvy. It has caused all the Welayu state that we see today. This simple statement could be done today, and could be completed before the two year promise. It doesn’t take forever. If it is the latter, why not let others do it?

  10. MM has had many years to clean up the mess and if he has not completed the job, he should try completing it. Mess is like a rolling stone. The more you roll the more mess you accumulate. Different times require different leaders – Tunku then and Mahathir now. Look at his personality. Though he is 93 MM looks healthy and immaculate with a sharp mind to boot. His cutting barbs laced with wit and humour belies his age. But his message is always blunt and direct. No one should fool around with him and this applies to laymen, lawmen and royalty. He will be appreciated even more than now when he is gone. May God bless this near righteous man.

  11. As i said, a lot of you folks commenting have no idea what it’s like to be in your 9th plus decade of life still plugging on thru’ all the physical and mental decrepitude, – the trials and tribulations that afflicts. Maximum biological age even with the best epigenetics is about 115 years, but not for those with previous cardiac morbidity.

    Put yourself in the shoes of his spouse and family. Yes, they understand the need for him to ‘clean’ up for the ‘country’s’ sake and his wonky legacy. Is it anybody’s else’s fault that there seems to no capable, honest or competent successor? At this moment – he ain’t doing very well – in most part because he lacks a strong, capable, experienced and focused cabinet – but instead has a compromised, clueless cabinet of clowns. Getting rid of Kleptos was and remains his main focus. The Economy? Siapa tahu? The Royalty – yes, that too, cuz no one else has the cojones.

    Before any of you accuse me of “Ageism” and such, i am certainly not. Senescence is no joke – and someone said: ‘Old Age isn’t for the Faint Hearted..’

    It is really time for Octo to take a break, and Brader to step up the plate and to swing the bat (or Ax). But i guess not many really trust a serial jailbird like him. Just recognize they are all politicians – some better, but most are just unemployable jobless shysters.

    Gerontologists would recognize Octo as being Oldest-Old and should be given succor and ease to rest his weary bones/mind. He can be called for advice and political Machiavellian maneuverings as such – but certainly not executing the Executioners – with a bunch of boneless protoplasmic entities goading him on… Why are so many of you selfish, heartless and confused?

    One more Year – Max, Okay?

  12. This well written piece is about measures in short term.

    Yes, age is a major problem, as crucial as about Trust, Competency, Governance, Transparency; Culture, Conduct and Quality of Leaderships–all of which constituted the overall larger national problem.

    Getting rid of Najib and Umnob are just solving parts of the national problem.

    The future generations are looking beyond Mahathir-Anwar.

    Malaysians are Pitting against Themselves. This had been engineered by those elitist political leaders from Umno since day 1 of the formation of Malaysia, to sustain their power and self-serving interests. Almost everyone of them is a multi-billionaire or millionaire.

    This should have had happened but it did.
    That is why People are looking beyond Mahathir-Anwar, who among others, are also part of the national problem, that had brought the country to this dire state of affairs.

    The Rakyat want and need the country’s leaderships to wilfully and sincerely work and cooperate ” to Start on a Clean Slate”, inconclusively.

    The continued blame game being played out to confuse for political mileage and distractions will ultimately bring Disunity and Disharmony, would never sustain. It soon will backfire because the voters in this high ITC age are much smarter than they think.

    The people will eventually make their stand clear,
    “Don’t let them” !

  13. The Malay Muslims generally try to lead a righteous and pious life. But politicians of their kind do not quite do so. Power and money reduce their piety one notch lower, corrupting their self to some extent though outwardly they may behave generously. It is easy for politicians of all hues to gang up especially when it comes to perks and rewards for themselves. I believe in Tanah Melayu even when you serve one term, the lawmakers are rewarded with pension, perks and privileges for life. In red dot you have to serve two continuous terms to earn them. Lee Kuan Yew was a visionary, Service to the people and nation is fundamental. It is on this basis that he probably made two term service of 8 yrs a minimum requirement for earning pension. It is not as though you lavish yourself with public money even when you under perform or not perform adequately.

  14. This is not how democracy works. The person has not even warmed the seat of leadership and we are all out with our guns trying to make him a lame duck. Politicking and elections ended a year ago. Wait for next elections.

    • Tun’s party do have a lot of poor performers.
      1. White shoe black shoe in education first need to educate himself;
      2. Entreprenuer Minister “flying car” had been travessing the English Channel in the form of Hydrofoils, from the look of the prototype shown in Langkawi. The sniggering publicis is trying to hide their discomfort;
      3. Two Menteri Besars, one negotiating awards instead of the widely acclaimed tener process for a Industrial forest project and the other not respecting the sensitivities of our neighbour;
      4. Has to have better evaluation of theose selected to high offices. If left unattened, will drag down Tun’s Legacy.

  15. This is the best advice for all Malaysian to read and understand the present government is going through. MM is doing a good job but he needs time, please be patient and give him time. We all need a good reform for the on coming generations.

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.