General Douglas MacArthur in his farewell speech to a joint US Congressional session in 1951 said the immortalized "… old soldiers never die; they just fade away."
Alas, in Malaysia old politicians obviously haven’t heard of them for they've not only refused to fade away but continue to exert their influence in direct proportion to the period of their so-called retirement.
We of course have our Dr Mahathir whose influence is not only considerable but has already deposed one prime minister, his successor, one personally appointed by him. Dr M's recent ethnocentric politicking has set the current prime minister for a similar fall or, at best for PM Najib, a discrediting of his new 'inclusive' policies. Making Mukhriz a deputy minister is not good enough. But the deposing can of course be averted if Najib pays strict obedience to his ‘advice’.
Dr Mahathir’s advice to Najib is very straightforward, to ensure the old NEP favouring the Malays continues. Najib's 1Malaysia has to be correctly translated into 0.65Malays + 0.35Nons, or f* else!
Then there is Lim Keng Yaik, the former president of an already moribund party acting as if he is still the president and merajuking (sulking) in his resignation as the party’s advisor (as if this post means anything within the greater scheme of Malaysian politics).
But the internal factional dynamics of this near-dead party have fortutiously provided some pseudo-credence to his posturing and thus some comfort to Lim for whatever secret agenda he has in mind. He’s not known as an old fox for nothing. And indeed, as a conciliatory placating gesture, Koh Tsu Koon has appointed Lim as the chair of whatever-council Gerakan has, but apparently an important one within the party as it has the final say in party nominations for elections. As chairman, Lim will be in a position to ensure his supporters are selected as Gerakan election candidates.
As for MIC, I am sure Samy has been encouraged by the antics of his former cabinet colleagues. So I won’t be surprised to eventually hear of him, after or IF he retires, doing either a Dr M or a Dr Lim. No wonder Malaysians say a doctor is not good for your (political) health wakakaka.
MCA? Strangely, they don’t suffer from the old fart syndrome. Maybe those Chinese Ma Hua people know how to bury their retired leaders well and good. ;-)
But the one who gets the cream in the annoying old codgers brigade has to be a neighbouring old man. He just has to show off how smart he was, and he has done so again, by using his eulogy for his recently deceased wife to remind us he was a First Class from Cambridge.
But worse than the ego trip, he also poked Malaysia in the eyes, reminding us he has us by our balls because his wife astutely penned in a water-tight (excuse the pun) separation clause to ensure our compulsory supply of water to the annoying neighbour. Of course he also nicely inserted into the praise of his wife’s drafting astuteness as one prompted by his personal instruction – now, would that constitute self praise?
Then ungraciously, he used the eulogy to badmouth the Barisan Socialis. Well, maybe he needed to do this to salve his conscience over the brilliant but unjustly maligned Lim Chin Siong?
But among all these, his idiosyncrasies, the one which has been annoying for us Malaysians is his perpetual need to talk down to us, to show us his cleverness, his superiority, his amazing astuteness – I wonder whether he is overcompensating for something?
Unfortunately unlike Douglas MacArthur, these old farts won’t just fade away.