In damage-control over the Mahathir WMD attacks, PM Abdulah Badawi told a Kuala Lumpur Business Club dinner that doing the right thing means much more to him than doing the popular thing.
The PM declared he wasn’t going to just spend and build and get the construction sector going by dishing out government projects and leave behind a debt burden or contingent liabilities for future generations.
Jolly good. Does that mean the PM will now cancel the PORR project in Penang? But I won’t hold my breath waiting for him to do so.
We all know his words are meant to neutralize Dr Mahathir’s very recent criticism of his unexplainable retreat from the bridge construction, even though the PM claimed his government practices an “openness” policy. But I haven’t seen any “openness” thus far. Everything has been shrouded in secrecy enhanced with a dose of chemical laced water, even in his remarks about ‘Little Napoleons’. Why didn’t he reveal all or sack those blighters?
Today the New Straits Times (NST) attempts to shore up his bridge decision in its publishing of an explanation by Foreign Affairs ambassador-at-large Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak. Nothing new there, except the trotting out of the same old story of 'sand and airspace' issues - a story meant for the UMNO or Malay heartland. The NST even published an edited version of Dr Mahathir's side of the story to show its 'fairness'. But for Dr Mahathir's unedited version read the Gerbang Tempur Maya website or Malaysiakini.
As for popularity, what about the policewomen tudung issue? If his decision to support the IGP’s directive for non-Muslim women to wear the tudung on formal parade was not to ensure his popularity with the Malay heartland and the conservative Muslim sector, what was it?