Remember Dr M Bakri Musa, the surgeon who practises in Califormia, and noted by KTemoc as an admirer of old school leaders like Tun Razak and Ku Li. I blogged on one of his articles which wasn’t flattering for AAB in Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Revisited.
Well, here’s what he has to say of the meeting between Dr Mahathir and AAB, again none too flattering for the PM. In fact Dr Bakri termed AAB’s performance as pathetic:
Abdullah's performance after (and also presumably during) his one-on-one meeting with his predecessor was pathetic. If Abdullah cannot stand up to Mahathir, how on earth can we expect Abdullah to look after the nation's interests in even tougher negotiations with foreign leaders?
Mahathir effectively reduced Abdullah to an errand schoolboy guilty of being delinquent in his homework and now has to write down a hundred times, "I must pay attention to my work and not doze off!"
According to Abdullah, Mahathir did most of the talking. Abdullah by his own admission was too polite to interfere. Touching! According to Mahathir (and Abdullah corroborated this), he brought up the very same issues he had been harping on for the past few months.
Abdullah does not need to listen to the details again; presumably he had heard them before and would by now be ready with the answers and rebuttals. Malaysians and the world have certainly heard Mahathir's litany of complaints. What he and we needed were answers. Yet there was the sorry sight of Abdullah pleading for more time! If Abdullah does not get it by now, he never will.
What Abdullah should have done when Mahathir began to repeat what he had said many times before was to stop him cold and assert, "With due respect Tun, I have heard them all before, and many times over. Let me address them one by one!" With that, effectively take over the meeting. Then we would know who was in charge!
After the meeting, Abdullah should have called for a press conference and publicly invited Mahathir to join in. That of course would take confidence and leadership, the very qualities so clearly lacking with Abdullah.
Instead it was Mahathir who gave not one but two press conferences to let the public know what transpired between them. Abdullah was reduced to whining and complaining that Mahathir was spewing ‘venom’. He took solace behind the protective but ineffectual barks of his ministers and spinmeisters.
Abdullah forgot that the issues Mahathir raised are also very much in the public mind. He owes Malaysians, not just Mahathir, an explanation. Whining, maintaining an ‘elegance silence’, or asking his surrogates to answer for him merely exposes Abdullah lack of engagement. What we have in Abdullah is not a chief executive but a pseudo sultan, and not a very regal one at that. Malaysia already has nine sultans; it does not need a tenth.
During this past Ramadan, Abdullah was busy being an imam, dispensing homilies and delivering sermons. Again, Malaysia has no shortage of imams and khatibs, what it needs desperately is a chief executive.
Hmmm, very harsh analysis but I have to say, very true. But perhaps as suggested by Dr Bakri, AAB wasn’t able to address Dr Mahathir’s queries (which everyone in Malaysia knows because Dr Mahathir has asked them openly so often), - perhaps his (AAB) reason was the most obvious but unmentionable.