by Stephen Yaman
At a recent tea time session with the Lembah Pantai Retirees Club, Tun Mahathir said, “Actually this is my fault. I am not good at choosing my own replacement…” In fact, he should have stayed retired and keep his mouth shut because the more he talks the more headaches Prime Minister (PM) Najib has to face.
While he was talking about restoring “unity” in UMNO, restore Barisan National (BN) so that they can form a stronger government, he said that he made a mistake and tried to topple the person he chose. He just contradicted himself on unity within UMNO and BN because all these should have been over and done with when Najib became President of UMNO and PM. I thought I saw them on TV and in all the newspapers shaking hands, even at the PM’s last Hari Raya open house. How can UMNO have unity when a former PM talks like that?
As Lim Kit Siang said, “Mahathir is a PM with a mind of his own. He is capable of doing great good but he is also capable of great evil. He can believe that he is right while the whole world is wrong, and he does what it takes to change it. Well, if you are right, then, fine. But if you are wrong, then you can cause great evil. There is nothing to act as a brake”.
There were too many scandals during the time of Mahathir – BMF, EPF, UMBC, the cooperatives, Operasi Lalang, sending of school administrators and principals to Chinese schools who were not well verse in Mandarin, attack on the judiciary, the election commission, the Parliament, et cetera.
In the 1982 election, Mahathir made many promises to the people and people wanted to believe him. He won. By 1986, people could see that his promises had not been fulfilled, and would not be fulfilled. There were disappointments everywhere even within UMNO.
During his time as PM, Mahathir had the authoritarian style of his own and in 22 years he would have done all he wanted to do as PM otherwise he should not have resigned at all. Do we still need any more of him or his comments and opinions? That is what the people of Kedah seem to imply when they refused to elect him back as chairman of the division in his home state.
In 2003, Mahathir shocked Malaysia and the whole world when he made the announcement that he would step down as UMNO President and PM at the UMNO general assembly. The delegates even pleaded with him to stay on until the OIC meeting. Now he is saying that he made a wrong choice and it is his fault. Anyway, does it matter anymore? Unlike former PM and senior statesman Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Mahathir likes to open his mouth as if the PM of the day does not matter.
The last time Mahathir spoke he cautioned the people about giving the opposition a five year trial mandate to rule the country, saying it was a dangerous move because many things can be destroyed. After the 2008 general election, PR rule in Penang, Kedah and Selangor seem to be very favorable, only BN seems to disagree. So, for Mahathir, who will the opposition rule be dangerous to?
PM Najib recently called for BN parties to together erect a “political barrier” to foul the attempt by the opposition pact to capture Putrajaya in the coming PRU13. And then, Mahathir warned that the country may never see a BN government again if Pakatan Rakyat (PR) is voted into Putrajaya… and it is true!
If PR can show the people that they can make great strides we have so far seen in Penang and Selangor, why do the people need BN again for?
Malaysians should just take a look at our neighbor, Singapore which was a part of Malaysia from 1963 until they pulled out from Malaysia in 1965 – they have no foreign debts, achieved S$1 equals RM2.50, PM yearly salary is US$1.7 million (compared to US President earning US$400,000 per annum), excellent HDB housing, good road system, good public transportation system, top 5 countries in the world on corruption index, etc..
So, where do we stand? The people expect BN to do what is right, and BN cannot keep warming the Putrajaya seats forever!
With the opposition now more organized than it was before, will the people give PM Najib another five years, or will the voters give what Mahathir called “a five years trial period” to the opposition Pakatan Rakyat? The answer will soon be known after the PRU 13. -The Rocket