Friday, February 26, 2016

The man who believes he's never wrong

Yesterday Mahathir was reported by Malaysiakini as saying Musa Hitam was his 1st failure. He said:

"My first failure was Musa Hitam himself. He could not wait for me to retire."

"So he resigned after five years being with me as my deputy, in a government his boys called the MM government."

Before we analyse his statement we need to know or put his statement on Musa Hitam in context - Mahathir has said so because Musa Hitam had earlier commented that Mahathir himself was responsible for the failure of his (Mahathir's) own Wawasan 2020 because he (Mahathir) had gotten rid of any potential good leaders in UMNO and surrounded himself with 'followers' or yes-men (and women).

Musa Hitam had stated “It is ironical that Mahathir’s vision is now certain to fail because of Mahathir himself."

"Brilliant as he was, he forgot that in order to succeed, he needed to train leaders at all levels - but most importantly, political leaders."

"But his personal leadership record shows that he did away with all potential leaders, one by one and in groups, and retained and trained followers."

That context explains why Mahathir has claimed Musa as his 1st failure. Mr Perfect who-can-do-no-wrong couldn't tolerate any criticism of, or in the case of AAB, any disagreement with him, thus substantiating Musa Hitam's criticism of him, wakakaka.

If Mahathir ever ever admit he was wrong, it's usually a sarcasm or reverse psychology, something that would have work out in his favour. This would probably be the case now, where he wants to discredit Musa Hitam as a/his 'failure' for criticising him as the one responsible for the failure of Wawasan 2020.

But in general, you can virtually bet he won't accept he had been wrong.

As for his acerbic and needless comment on Musa, to wit, ... as my deputy, in a government his boys called the MM government ... it was once said (perhaps by allahyarham Tunku writing in his Star newspaper?) that Mahathir couldn't stand those words which described his government as the '2M' or MM government.

Yes indeed, Mahathir just couldn't tolerate any such description which had the outrageous temerity to share his leadership in his administration with his deputy, virtually robbing him of sole command, wakakaka.

Back to analysing his statement on Musa as being impatient, don't we think that Musa was honorable (rather than impatient) in his resignation when he discovered Mahathir only wanted yes-men and not a thinker like Musa HItam? Did Musa behave like what Mahathir is doing now, an ex-PM who still wants to control the PM, for the PM to report to him regularly, an ex-PM who destroyed AAB's PM-ship and who now wants to do likewise against Najib?

Both Mahathir and Musa were known in the late '60's as UMNO's Young Turks or 'ultras', the twin enfant terrible, widely feared by the non's. I've always wondered (and had written of this complex) whether their individual mixed parentage had compelled them to act more strongly and audaciously as 'ultra-nationalistic Melayu' than someone born of full Malay parentage, and in the process gaining the notoriety of being ultras, as if to prove to the Heartland of their full grade worthiness as Melayu a la RTA (wakakaka)?

After Tunku sacked Mahathir from UMNO (and nearly jailed him), Musa took a hiatus or rather cabut-ed, wakakaka, to the UK where he did his Master's at the Uni of Surrey. He returned to UMNO mainstream when Razak deposed of and took over from Tunku as PM.

For the alleged Malay or UMNO ultra that he was accused of being, Musa was in reality quite charming and in many ways anglophilic in his behaviour and speech. My uncle (in the military then) and many others met him once in Sibu when he was on the pre-election campaign trail (as part of the '2M' wakakaka ruling party).

He shook hands with my Unc, smiled charmingly and remarked rather apologetically (perhaps for making them received him at the airport) and urbanely in English: "'Tis the season",

Those were words from a line first coined by Thomas Oliphant in 1862. Musa of course meant it was the season for political campaign as different from Oliphant's meaning, wakakaka, but it did show his anglophilic mannerism.

It was said that among the UMNO Young Turks who criticised Tunku for Perikatan (BN's predecessor) losing its 2/3 majority and a couple of states, Tunku preferred Musa Hitam over Mahathir, whom he detested greatly.

Anyway, and as to be expected, wakakaka, RPK has come up with his take on Mahathir's real "1st failure" in his latest post Mahathir's 1st failure was in 1969 in which he wrote (extracts only):

Anyway, Musa was not Dr Mahathir’s first failure. His first failure was in 1969. Dr Mahathir made the mistake of telling the Chinese that he did not need their votes and that he could win the general election with just the Malay votes.

Well, the Chinese decided to punish him for that, as Dr Mahathir is so fond of telling us that story. So the Chinese voted for Yusof Rawa of PAS, as did the Malay voters. So Yusof Rawa won and Dr Mahathir lost. And that was Dr Mahathir’s first failure, underestimating the Chinese and thinking that he does not need the Chinese but only need the Malays.

And because he was so angry with the Chinese, Dr Mahathir started attacking the Chinese and accused them of stealing the wealth of the country. He also attacked Tunku Abdul Rahman and called him a Chinese lover. Dr Mahathir accused the Tunku of giving in to the Chinese, who had become too arrogant because of that.

Comment: I've to agree with RPK on this. We all know that Mahathir had from time to time condemned the Chinese (probably having never gotten over their votes against him in 1969), in fact even in 2013 post GE-13, and when it suited him, relied on them for the success of his own position too (1999).

Continuing with RPK's take:

And that was Dr Mahathir’s second failure. He laid the foundation for race riots in what would later become known thereon as May 13. And thousands died because of this second failure of Dr Mahathir.

Dr Mahathir has either forgotten or he thinks we have forgotten.

In 1981, when he took over as Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir refused to appoint Musa Hitam as his Deputy Prime Minister. Instead, he let Musa and Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah fight it out for the post of Umno Deputy President. Then, whoever wins, he will become the Deputy Prime Minister.

And that caused a very serious split in Umno that tore the party into two. And that was Dr Mahathir’s third failure. So you see, even before Musa became the Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir already had three failures. And as they say, three strikes and you are out! But Dr Mahathir chalked up 20 or 30 failures and he still refused to leave the field.

Dr Mahathir now talks as if he chose Musa as his deputy. That is not true one bit. He threw Musa and Tengku Razaleigh into the ring to fight it out like two fighting cocks. And he told Umno to choose who they want and the one that Umno chooses would be made the Deputy Prime Minister.

In fact, Wikipedia has this to say to support RPK's take: When Mahathir bin Mohamad succeeded Hussein Onn as Prime Minister of Malaysia, he declared the election for the Deputy Presidency of UMNO open; and thus by extension the Deputy Prime Ministership — was open; he would not support any candidate.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah joined the fray, and his main opposition was Musa Hitam. Eventually, Musa won the election with 722 votes to Razaleigh's 517 votes, becoming the new Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister.

Razaleigh blamed himself for taking "a rather passive stance" and not having a campaign strategy.

Let me end this post by commenting a bit on both his 'failures' and his nurturing of what Musa Hitam called his 'followers' or yes-men which had led to more 'failures'.

As we know, Mahathir had recently defended Kassim Ahmad against allegations of heresy, and spoken out against PAS' recent push to implement hudud, but we need to ask who had been responsible for opening the Pandora Box in his tactic to outmanoeuvre PAS by proclaiming Malaysia was already a fundamentalist Islamic country.

On above I refer you to what Lim Kit Siang had called Mahathir's 929 and 617 Declarations.

Mahathir's tactical 'gain' in 2001 and 2002, for himself of course, has now developed into serious strategic problem for his successors, more so for Najib rather than AAB who had better Islamic credentials to talk down PAS, wakakaka.

Of course this is only looking at Mahathir's policies from a very narrow perspective, those concerning PAS and the non-PAS mullahs pushing for a full Islamic Malaysia. Overall, Mahathir had not quite acquitted himself well as a PM in other areas. It would take several posts to list all of them; besides, RPK has already posted them in his Malaysia-Today.

Blessed or cursed by Malaysia's then-wealth from oil during his premiership, he unfortunately used that wealth like a 3rd generation Chinese, wakakaka, from which some of the outcomes had led many today (even his critics) to mistakenly believe he did reasonably well for Malaysia. What if Malaysia didn't have oil during his political reign, as in the times of Mahathir's predecessors?

If you want to know what the curse of 3rd generation Chinese is, please ask your Chinese friends or in fact any Malaysians whether Malay or Indian as this story has been well told in Malaysia, wakakaka.

As for his 'followers', more than a few were failures, yet he kept forgiving them, each time helping them picked themselves up to try again, and again and again. Perhaps we should blame that on his administration's 'deep pockets' enabled by the wealth from oil?

There have been horror stories of massive bailouts ... and bailouts ... and bailouts ... and ... well, you get the idea, and you know about the bailouts, etc.

The invisible safety net was always there, the humongous rewards were mouth-watering, and Don Corleone was renowned or notorious for his indefatigable tolerance and forgiveness (except to those who were treacherous to him, wakakaka).

His continuous support for his protégés, friends (or cronies) and 'followers' was legend, and had in many cases proved to be a liability to the nation as he sheltered them from falling off the face of the earth.

But I wonder whether that was ‘loyalty’ or a necessity to keep his 'followers' by his side,. Nonetheless I can't let him off scot-free for his most fallible so-called 'loyalty'. I had once written of him: “He chose the lame and therefore he must accept responsibility for their inability to perform.”

In the end he rather than Musa Hitam was the real failure.


  1. Mahathir had plannned them all the way from the start......any malay leader worth his salt were drawn to his get soiled in one way or another and later to be outracised by their own people....especially those people who are in the same generations of his offspring....

    Dont believe me? Ask Annuar Musa who cajoled him to pronounce Ibrahim Petra as the rightful Sultan of Kelantan

  2. The part on "their individual mixed parentage had compelled them to act more strongly and audaciously as 'ultra-nationalistic Melayu' " : - this is quite true for Mahathir as reflected in his words in his 1970 book The Malay Dilemma :

    ".... As small groups of immigrants of different racial origin acquired citizenship, they adopt the characteristics and distinctive language and culture of the larger definitive race of the country concerned. Forgetting their ancestry, these new citizens not only become indistinguishable from the definitive race but they in turn insist on retaining the conditions of citizenship to which they had to submit. ... ... ... And having gained these privileges and been accepted as equals, natural human jealousy takes over and guards the conditions of their status."

  3. His daughter also think he could do no wrong.

    1. cut her some slack - she's after all a filial daughter

    2. If that's the case then does she still got the moral stool to lecture others who are product of her father's policies? Shouldn't she be lecturing the main cause of the problem?

  4. Every morning I go to work using the Penang Bridge, then turn on to the North South Highway.
    In the 1970's and early 1980's Penang was a sad, declining, deteriorating, economic backwater slowly sinking into oblivion. I know that very well, because I grew up during that time. Times were tough and bad. Jelutong, my area, was an ugly, unsafe neighbourhood..

    Today, my best customers are American and Japanese manufacturers who first came here in the early 1990's, when government industrial policies were opened up to allow 100% foreign ownership, for the first time in Malaysia. They have continued to expand, and so has my business.

    My children are studying at foreign university twinning programs, first approved in the mid-1990's.

    Mahathir ain't no saint, and I definitely ain't no BN supporter. But we need to recognise what he did for the country.

    We also need to recognise that he did not use his immense power to steal for his own personal bank account. Not that we know of anyway, but I'm sure there has been no shortage of people trying to dig in every possible place.

    Most Unlike a certain Current Prime Minister and Mrs.

    1. let's get a few facts straight - Penang turned from being a backwater state into a very dynamic one due mainly to Lim Chong Eu's initiatives. He so feared Tun Razak's potential sabo of Penang after May 13 when Razak became PM, that he took Gerakan into the BN. Mahathir came much later and merely allowed the BN development in Penang to continue. The main credit has been all due to Lim Chong Eu and to a certain extent, PM Tun Razak

    2. I make a living doing business in this sector, I think I know well the facts about the key factors driving manufacturing overall.

      Lim Chong Eu deserves most of the credit for Penang's industrialisation. But much of his effort in the 1970's and early 1980's was of limited success because Federal Government industrial policies were unfriendly towards foreign investors.

      Crediting Tun Razak for Penang's industrialization is so laughable its obvious you don't understand the subject.

      Tun Razak was the architect of the Industrial Coordination Act 1975, which for nearly 15 years was the primary stumbling block for foreign manufacturing investment in Malaysia.

      Its primary effect was that only the few manufacturers who may find Malaysia's domestic market attractive, and willing to share their ownership and profits with enforced local Bumi partners, would have reason to invest in manufacturing in Malaysia. Very few did.

      The Act was never repealed, but most of its restrictions have been set aside for factories operating in Free Industrial Zones and Licensed Manufacturing Warehouses.

      Manufacturing in Penang only really took of from the late 1980's when this occurred.

    3. well I am glad you agree with me that Lim Chong Eu was the pioneer in industrializing Penang. I remember in my younger days he set up (obviously with federal govt's agreement hence Razak) free trade zones in Bayan Lepas - the foreign electronic companies exploited the tax-free facilities (for a number of years) kau kau by running the factories 24/7, providing buses (like the casinos in Macau, wakakaka) to pick up and drop off workers all over Penang.

      You argued that under Razak not much headway was made, virtually saying Penang laid more or less dormant industrially for a period of 13 years, from 1969 (Chong Eu became CM) till 1981 (when Mahathir became PM)? I don't think so.

    4. i have to partly agree with kt on tis. investment in penang started in 70s. i would say 80s n 90s was the boom period when 1)4 Asian Dragon cost is getting expensive 2)mahathir did attract japanese investor with his look east policy.

      having said that, i would opine that najib did nothing. those that support him is either for 1)cash 2)ego n 3)subpar.

    5. Be careful you don't try to change or deny objective facts just because you don't like Mahathir.
      No denying manufacturing foundations in Malaysia were laid in the 1970's.
      Before 1985, manufacturing was mainly import substitution and relatively small (in terms of Malaysia's national economy) investments in Bayan Lepas FTZ Phase 1 and Phase 2. At the time, Penang's industrialization did not go much deeper than FTZ Phase 1 and Phase 2. Mak Mandin and Prai was largely just about import substitution. The number of people employed did not exceed 20,000. Today, manufacturing in Penang directly or indirectly employs hundreds of thousands, and nationally, millions. Never mind the Banglas, I will go into that later.

      Manufactured Exports as a major percentage contributor to Malaysia's GDP did not take off until 1985, and it increased EXPONENTIALLY after that.
      I still treasure a 1989 issue of BusinessWeek I bought as a student in the UK. The Headline read "Malaysia: Flavour of the Month". The previous month, the IMF had listed Malaysia as the World's largest non-OECD recipient of foreign FDI. The magazine highlighted the key reasons why foreign manufacturers were flocking to Malaysia at the time - investor-friendly policies, reliable transport and supporting infrastructure , well educated English- literate workforce, Rule of Law based on the British legal system.

      Some of those advantages Malaysia once had, have been heavily eroded since then, but that is a different story.

      In 1995, Electronics Weekly listed Malaysia as the World's largest exporter of Semiconductor devices. Of course, that was the time before China's explosive growth.

      Where I have my business, Puchong, it was a disused mining area with a few scraggly cows back in 1980.

      The entire industrial complex, stretching as far as the eye can see was build up during the Mahathir era.
      And it is largely manufactured exports, nothing to do with Oil.

      In the years since then, Malaysia failed to build on that strong foundation , to build home ground industry , and home ground technology, as Taiwan and South Korea have done. Culminating in the Cari Makan exercise of Zahid Hamidi orchestrating the import of 1.5 Million Banglas to do low wage jobs.

      By comparison Najib has done NOTHING to bring Malaysia to the next level, in his 6 years as PM, except line his personal bank account.
      My clients as far away as China and UK know about the RM 2.6 Billion "donations" into Najib's personal bank account. Now, China is hardly in a position to lecture other people about corruption, but facts are facts.

      As Sammy Vellu once said "Kemaluan Saya Sangat Besar".

  5. Ktemoc is just trying to divert attention and heat away from "his" Najib.

    Not that Mahathir is a good guy - that he was and is definitely not.

    1. yalah, I love Najib, I love Rosmah, I might even love Mahathir and Anwar, wakakaka

    2. nothing to do with love, u r perhaps subpar + definitely too ego.

    3. subpar? didn't realize you're a golfing enthusiast, wakakaka

    4. I created tis for u only, the rest I would just say daft or stupid wakaka

    5. aiyoyo, you're so clever, wakakaka

  6. Well,speaking of Mahathir and Musa,Mahathir has always been labelled a "dictator" by the opposition.

    But,the opposition had forgotten about the meaning,or conveniently forget as suggested by Mahathir that Malays(pronounced as Malaysians) have poor memories.

    Has anyone remember that "never to wake up the sleeping giant" thing?Well,the opposition have awoken the "sleeping giant",and that giant is Najib.

    Have Mahathir ever sent the oppositions wailing and running to their mamas?No,never,except throwing them into Sungei Buloh.

    Well,Najib did not have to throw the opposition into Sungei Buloh.All Najib had to do is to wave that "big stick" of his,and the opposition is already wailing and scurrying for their mamas.

    1. wah liao, bruno matey, are you trying to take over my Monsterball/HY-accused position as Najib's foremost lover? wakakakakakakakakakaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    2. not sure what u babbling abt, but it seem kt understand u fully, hehe.. it certainly takes one to know one.

    3. with HY in the background to provide the chorus, wakakakaaaaaaa

    Sung to the tune of Copacabana (Barry Manilow)

    His name is Mahathir, he was the PM,
    But that was 20 years ago, when he used to run the show
    Now it's Najib, but not for Mahathir,
    Still trying to wield the clout he used to have,
    Faded crown on his head
    He sits there so refined, and wallows in his past glories
    He lost his youth and he lost his clout
    Now will he lose his freedom ?...

    At the Buloh, Sungai Buloh
    The hottest place north of Kay El
    At the Buloh, Sungai Buloh
    Where Anwar is also a resident
    At the Bulohhh...,
    Don't mess with Najib