Sunday, April 06, 2008

Robert Mugabe in Malaysian exile?

Gratitude is the prerogative of the people

- Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran

On Friday Malaysiakini published Mahathir urges gov't to welcome Mugabe.

It told of Dr M recommending that Malaysia provides sanctuary to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, following reports that Mugabe may go into exile if his country’s election results turn out adversely for him.

Needless to say, there were outrageous protestations and delirious scorns in Malaysia at Dr M’s proposal.

But Dr M’s call is typically an example of his sense of loyalty, his greatest weakness and strength.

In my post nearly 3 years ago, Mahathir: Unforgetable & Unforgiveable, I had written:
“Mahathir's unrelenting energy, confidence, vision and loyalty have all been both his strengths and weaknesses.”


Yes, as I said in that post, his loyalty to his staff-friends-supporter had in many cases proved to be a liability as he sheltered them from falling off the face of the earth. But while I admire ‘loyalty’ I didn’t let him off scot-free for his fallible virtue. I wrote “He chose the lame and therefore he must accept responsibility for their inability to perform.”

There have been several examples of how his loyalty were misplaced – Tajudin of MAS, his own Kedahan UMNO pollies, Najib, and a certain someone - ke ke ke!

But given this known emotional characteristic of Dr M, it shouldn’t be strange or bizarre that he, known to be a close political ally of Mugabe, continues to maintain that loyalty.

Mind you, Dr M didn’t support his legitimacy as president because he said that, as reported by Malaysiakini, he expected the Zimbabwean leader to accept the results of national polls in the African nation.

Dr M said:
"If he has lost, he has to accept the decision of the people, that is the best thing he can do."

“If he wants to come here, the (Malaysian) government should welcome him."

In many ways, Dr M has that same streak of unshakeable (can we call it ’stubborn’?) loyalty that Allahyarham Tunku Abdul Rahman had.

My uncle told me of the invincible loyalty of Tunku towards the monarchy. An ardent 101% monarchist, Tunku did something during his PM-ship that would be totally unthinkable for any Malaysian PM today.

He supported India’s claim to Kashmir against that of Islamic Pakistan. My uncle said this was despite the fact that Kashmir population was then 77% Muslim. Tunku's support for India had probably been because the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, had acceded his kingdom to the care of India on advice from the British Governor–General, following threatening activities from Pakistan. Tunku had always respected and honoured the words of the monarch.

Anyway, providing sanctuary for exiled leaders is not unusual. When the USA rejected domicile in the States for its former client, the exiled Shah of Iran (hardly surprising as the Shah was by then of no further use to the Americans), Egypt came to the rescue. We noted too that France provided a home for exiled Ayatollah Khomeini prior to the cleric’s triumphant return to his homeland after the overthrow of the Shah.

France has a proud tradition of proving compassionate sanctuary to many exiled national leaders, unlike the American attitude in this regard, where the USA's decision to allow any exiled leader to stay in the USA would be based principally on what that exiled leader could do for American interests.

Japan by rejecting the Peruvian extradition application for its former president Alberto Fujimoto on charges of criminality had also provided sanctuary. Current President of East Timor, Jose Ramos Horta, lived in exile in Portugal for years. Prince Sihanouk of Cambodia too lived for long spells in Beijing.

Then there were Pakistani Nawaz Sharif and the late Benazir Bhutto living in Britain when the military seized power. Sein Win, leader of the National Coalition Government of the Union of Myanmar lives in the USA. And we had Juan Peron in exile in Spain. Peron was of course a former Argentinian president, married to the far more popular and famous wife, Eva Peron.

Eva Peron was immortalized internationally by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber in the musical Evita – remember the song Don’t cry for me Argentina?

No doubt today the most famous of national leaders in exile is the Dalai Lama. Though officially he lives in exile in India, he perambulates globally and continuously to seek political support for Tibet to enjoy autonomy from China.

While I most certainly wouldn’t place Robert Mugabe on the same pedestal as the Dalai Lama, providing sanctuary to an exiled national leader, no matter how unsavoury he or she could have been (like Fujimoto, the Shah, Ayatollah Khomeini and many Iraqis once living in the USA in exile), it does not reflect badly on the host country. It's an accepted tradition of international diplomacy.

In the case of Robert Mugabe, there is the added element of Dr M's personal loyalty to a political ally.


  1. I gather the kid-glove treatment of Robert Mugabe (as opposed to the rants against the Israeli regime) means good old Robert Mugabe is "our SOB ?" - to paraphase FDR.

  2. kk46, you losing it matey ;-)

    What kid glove treatment for Mugabe, pray tell? And if I rant against Israel, what have been the reasons behind those rants?

    Let's debate intelligently, shall we!

  3. When Pakatan Rakyat comes to power, it wii the turn of Mamaktir to seek refuge in Zimbabwe

  4. Kaytee,
    Don't be so sensitive-lah :-)
    I wasn't referring to you, that was targeted at the great Mahafiraun.

    :-) BTW, that was the name of my favourite website circa 9 years ago (together with MGG Pillai's Sangkancil forum).
    Yes, I remember those days when many who wrote anything critical of the regime did it under deep cover. They posted to websites using cybercafes, and never the same cybercafe. The fear of midnight visits from Special Branch or worse...

    And I will never forgive or forget the Criminal who ran Malaysia at the time...

  5. I don't think inviting Mugabe is his weakness or loyalty, it is his orientation.

  6. ok we exchange.....

    Mugabe comes to Malaysia
    Mahathir goes to Zimbabwe

    I'm sure the Africans would love to have our 3rd world " champion " amongst the midst.

  7. Doubtful Mugabe will go into exile. He won't just simply go just like that. He will keep trying, but at what cost to himself and the sad people of Zimbabwe remains to be seen. Same applies to Tun.

  8. Send them both to Antartica. There, they will have each other for companym and be kings among emperors!

  9. ktemoc,
    If tdm can suggest such a thing, one might ask, "why was Chin Peng granted the same courtesy, despite having laid down arms?"
    remember - chin peng did fight for independence, although on a different platform.
    just that he never believed that umno was the legitimate heirs to power, after working with and using the brits' resources for 'internal security'.
    where's the accepted 'diplomacy'?
    tdm should learn to stop creating controversies & crises that he lives & thrives on - or at least shut up!

  10. typo ...
    I meant - "why wasn't chin peng ...."

  11. Chin Peng ilu apekkui maa...
    Mugabe ilu aflikabutra maa...
    Aiyah... ilu bun talak tau ka...

  12. UMNO and its islamist wing(esp) repectively have to retain the curse word "Communist" and "Zionist" as part of their knee jerk hate culture.

    If UMNO were to let Chin Peng back, it signifies that they have been less than righteous in the expression of their absolute hatefulness. Arab absolutism has seeped into their consiousness and wreaked backwardness while they sleep.

    Being adamantly sticking to a fixed mindset is the correct and only way for them to maintain their macho jantan-ness. They know of no other way. Jantan-ness is always more important than real righteousness in their culture.

    I think KT is not able or willing to analyse right to the bottom line but prefer to meander everywhere else as his modus operandi. A perceptional malaise exists.

  13. I always admired Ktemoc for being on the side of the downtrodden, the oppressed.
    It pains me to see Kaytee being an apologist for a tyrant. Correction TWO tyrants.

  14. wits0 ;-) read

  15. Anwar should be exiled to Sabah/Sarawak!!

  16. Mahathir? Loyalty? Hahahaha!

    How many people did Dr.M backstab in his ascendancy to power and during the +20 years that he led Malaysia?

    The latest fella in the list is probably Najib. Mahathir wants a PM that he can command via remote control, and Najib has those defense scandals hanging above his head. So, he switched horses to Razaleih.

    Mahathir is only "loyal" to people and policies who can benefit him in his quest to become the defacto PM. He's now pro-transparency & for tolerance of dissent in UMNO, but then this thing happens at the gathering he organized at the Singgahsana Hotel:

    In the case of Mugabe, he probably has some ongoing business deals, hence the welcome for Mugabe to come here in exile.

    Please-lah KT...

  17. He can always apply under the "Malaysia My 2nd Home" programme. Only need Rm 300 K deposit.

    Likely Smillin' Bob Mugabe can bring a few minus

  18. But Mugabe`s money is already in M`sia. That is why he should be allowed in.
    Also the former corrupt leaders in Bangla Desh.

    This is what is foreign funds inflow.

  19. Aiyah, KT. Fujimori la, not Fujimoto.

  20. Come on la... lets let Mugabe & his clan in. We need the FDI.

  21. Mugabe can come in as the "guest"
    of the Malaysian Government.
    But the people can make him feel that he is an unwelcomed guest!

  22. What have Mugabe "added any value to his country" since he took power many years ago? His people are worse off than before he took over...

    Is that what a real leader should do?

    What was so great about TDM??? He was the main architect of Korupsi, Kronismo and Nepotismo(KKN). Do all of you think Malaysia developed economically because of TDM?