Saturday, March 17, 2018

But Mahathir isn’t the answer

Manjit Bhatia has just penned in Malaysiakini ‘Malaysia’ dreams the impossible dream:

COMMENT | “When you know someone is a thief, you stay away from him,” Dr Mahathir Mohamad told Beverley O’Connor, host of The Worldprogramme by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) on Thursday.

Mahathir, of course, was referring to Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who is spending a long-weekend junket in Sydney at the Asean heads of government hot-air talk-shop – again at the expense of Malaysian taxpayers.

Thief isn’t the only label Mahathir used to describe Najib. He also called him a “monster”. There are far better labels for Najib and for Umno/BN members. “Monster” is an appropriate enough metaphor. But beyond labels, Malaysia has a serious international image problem.

There was a time when Malaysia was known to the world for Mahathir’s neo-nationalist Malay brand of loud-mouthness.

That’s whenever he railed against, say, Singapore, his racist rants against Jews and Malaysia’s British colonial masters – the very lot who taught him how to “divide-and-rule” his own multiracial citizens. Mahathir single-handedly made the term ‘citizen’ a profoundly dirty word.

Malaysia became even more famous after Mahathir cooked up “facts” to jail his then protégé Anwar Ibrahim and chucked him in prison. When top cop Abdul Rahim Noor black-eyed Anwar in jail, Mahathir merely shrugged in the “saya tidak peduli” manner.

Now Anwar and Mahathir have become bosom buddies in a double-act to exorcise from Malaysia’s ripped-asunder soul Najib.

The Mahathir hypocrisy hasn’t gone unnoticed, as O’Connor reminded Mahathir. Mahathir responded sheepishly, with the tiniest regret.

He said it is more important to look forward to the future to overthrow the great big thief in their midst and an Umno that has moved so far to the right of its 1946 “objectives” that both the party and its president are rotten to its core.

Mahathir said Umno has been destroying itself from within, that Najib “has destroyed” the original Umno and that the party exists solely to support its president and an authoritarian regime.

Note that Mahathir never mentioned any of Umno’s coalition partners-in-crime. Nonetheless, the mission now, as everybody knows, is for the Mahathir-led Pakatan Harapan cavalry to lead the charge and rout Umno before Najib and his band of crooks rob the country blind.

Nothing new in all this. The lineage and the so-called discourse (whatever discourse means) and the battle-cries go right back to 1969 – the year democracy in Malaysia died after a long-simmering brain snap.

My friend S Thayaparan, a Malaysiakini columnist – whom I’ve never met – has been at great pains recently to make the case that Malaysian votersmust stand up and save the country. If there’s a certain urgency in Mahathir’s determination, there’s equal stridency in Thayaparan.

But there’s also a problem. In fact more than one problem. First, the electoral system, run by the Election Commission, is not chartered to ensure full and fair elections; it remains chartered to ensure fully foul elections.

It’s also chartered not to uphold democracy, even democracy with Malaysian characteristics, but to maintain a Malay-led kleptocratic authoritarian regime that thinks it is above the constitution, therefore above the law. The regime is the law since rule of law has ceased to exist for nearly half a century.

Second, Mahathir had for 22 years presided over just such a regime when he led it.

He – more than Abdul Razak, Hussein Onn and Mahathir’s successor Abdullah Ahmad Badawi – had every time turned a blind eye to every skin-flake of known or rumoured corruption within his Umno, his regime, his Malay-dominated bureaucracy and police, and among the coterie of Malay, Chinese and Indian cronies or oligarchs he’d nurtured.

Those accused or nabbed, like Perwaja Steel’s Eric Chia, “somehow” managed to get off scot-free. It doesn’t take a genius to work out how.

Not when the separation of powers between the legislature, executive and judiciary, as a democracy would like to have it, disappeared virtually overnight under Mahathir. Yet here he is crying that Najib has violated everything decent and, worse, he’s getting away with it.

'Muhibbah' only in name

Something else is worth remembering. What Najib is doing – centralising structural and institutional power in his hands through what I’ve called the Umno-Leninist state – is very much the same thing Mahathir was doing when he ran the place like a dictator. Or close enough to one. The hypocrisy is stunning.

Third, the desperation among “Malaysians” opposed to the regime is perfectly understandable. The desperation for the coalition of opposition parties, Pakatan Harapan, is also perfectly understandable.

To go as far as enlisting Mahathir is one thing; to make him the leader of the pack and, more, prime minister if Harapan should win, is unthinkable.

The man who created the 21st century monster of Malaysia, among the many other monsters who clutter the regime from across the ruling coalition, was Mahathir.

He gave each one of them long enough rope to enrich themselves, heeding Deng Xiaoping’s dictum. Najib too embraced the licence. Najib’s “living the good life,” Mahathir put it on television. So are Mahathir’s cronies and nepotists.

Mahathir can’t have it both ways. He needs to own up to the past wrongs when the rot started to really set in. Mahathir now says Malaysia needs to reset good governance by ridding the country of Najib et al. Fine.

But (a) what good governance did Mahathir bring to Malaysia when he was PM? And (b) he must not become prime minister a second time, not even as a seat-warmer for Anwar.

The king of Malaysia has a duty to the country. All the sultans do. The king knows Najib has been ripping off Malaysia; he cannot continue to sit on his hands and wait for ridiculously pointless protocols before pardoning Anwar – if he dares to pardon Anwar at all. But he must if he does not want his country monster-ised further.

Anwar at the helm gives Harapan the legitimacy it needs to fight the elections. This is not to suggest Anwar (photo) is unproblematic. Even with Anwar at the tiller isn’t a sufficient condition to rule.

Thayaparan says “all Malaysians” must vote, that they must do their bit. I would agree if I knew just who “all Malaysians” were – another point Thayaparan missed in my letter.

Show me one “all Malaysian”.

Here’s what I see. Here’s what I’ve always seen. And on my last visit to Malaysia very recently I saw this much more clearly.

There’s no “all Malaysian”. There are no “all Malaysians”. There are Malays, Chinese, Indians and so on – discrete ethno-tribal sociological, economic and political units separated by competition between race, religion and ideology.

The old story. I don’t need to tell you this. The ruling coalition is also dominated by similar units separated by race and religion.

So, too, Pakatan Harapan.

As we do in primary math addition, this will be carried over into the future. Therein lies Malaysia’s core problem. The country might be able to solve some of the economic divisions that rift the people, but it can’t and it won’t solve every one of them or every other accompanying problem until competition between race, religion and ideology is resolved.

“Muhibbah” exists but only in name. Always has since 1969. Najib, Umno and their BN clan know this and they’ll play this up to the hilt, no matter what the fallout.

There are many other problems that will inevitably be brought into general election No 14 from GE13. Many are beholden to Umno-BN. Some are also evident, again, in the opposition.

Like it or not, Harapan is divisive because it is itself divided. In fact – and I agree with Thayaparan – Harapan looks woefully inadequate. It hasn’t learnt from its mistakes from GE13. Those mistakes were fundamental, starting with its rather lame manifesto.

Harapan may have done better than expected in that election but it can’t hope for the same lucky streak in GE14 to break the proverbial Umno-BN camel’s back once and for all.

It would be wonderful if it does but Umno has some things on its side, and a certain important – no, critical – momentum that Harapan would wish it has too. It won’t if it keeps carrying on like it has. But Mahathir isn’t the answer.

Too right matey.


  1. For fuck's sake, if Mahathir isn't the answer that you are looking for, please for once, suggest another alternative to Najis.
    Don't keep us guessing and please spare us from your raves and rants!

    1. Najib will first pass the post. There is doubt about it. 1MDB did not lose any money. Who is the thief then? Who is casting aspersion and fanning the fire of hatred?

    2. If 1MDB did not lose any money, why did they have to repay $ 1,200,000,000 debts to IPIC TWICE ?
      The case went to arbitration in London, and 1MDB LOST the case.

      The 1MDB auditors of that time have withdrawn their attestation of 1MDB's accounts.

      My reading of the overview is 1MDB's balance sheet is a work of Science Fiction. The liabilities are all too real, a large chunk of the claimed Assets are Fake News.

    3. where can one read 1mdb audited financial reports to verify if it made or lose money?

    4. We won't get to read 1MDB audited financial reports as long as Jibby is in power, hehehehe.

      So it remains exactly that....we won't get to see those reports, since Jibby by hook or by crook CANNOT lose the Election ( read " Stop thief. Malaysia's PM is about to steal an election").

      By the by, those ardent followers of Botak Mabuk Liar will be echoing ad nauseum "1MDB did not lose any money"..." No money is missing"...." 1MDB assets are intact"...bla bla bla....but Jibby dare not sue these accusers or critics, his Tuesday never came, hehehe. This says it all !

  2. kt don't waste your time... the choice is really quite simple

    its between those who cannot accept what Maddy did in the past vs those who cannot accept what najib is doing at the present or you can pick the joker undirosak to make a flush

    undirosak 1 taking a hike 0

    1. They just won't admit that the weak needs to hire a very big bad monster to fight another equally badass evil monster, to even have a fighting chance.

      Two things can be the resulting consequence if PH manages to vanquish Jibby : 1. it proves that UMNO can be demolished and this will impact greatly not only on the non Malays but especially on the Malays who had this "Umno is indestructible" belief. This psychological impact is immeasurable. 2. Once the Evil Empire is no more, those rats who had all this while providing succor to the Great Thief will be scurrying for their own survival, all running off to foreign climes to their mansions and well-feathered nests there with their ill-gotten wealth. It is not a possible scenario for these rats ( which is practically the whole of Jibby's cabinet now ) to immediately switch camps to PH, knowing that their day of reckoning has come and they will face trials for complicity themselves.

      Dr Mathathir at age 92 is actually a blessing for PH. If he is still in his 50's, becoming the PM-designate for PH will be fraught with uncertain danger for this coalition.

    2. so simple yet tis undirosak flock cant see.

  3. Billions forex lost of malaysian money by mathir..

    1. y he still roam freely n tis najib govt did nothing?

    2. And risk turning him into another icon like what Mahathir did with Anwar? Certainly Najib has learned well from his master's mistakes.
      Justice will come. If its not him, it will be onto his sons & daughter.

    3. so the article is wrong? mahathir is the answer?

    4. Mahathir is the answer to all our problems much like arsenic is the cure to what ails us.

    5. u n manjit dun chase own tail, tell us the solution, n tell us whats the point to support a govt that cant catch a thief or crook that break the law.

    6. Why contemplate choosing between disease and poison? You want my solution? Its voting PAS as the government or #UndiRosak.

  4. I have doubts that S thaya and that cibai kaytee are really friends

    Proof, please. Anil Netto never knew your existence. Time to tell the fucking truth. Perhaps, it will set you free

    1. stop sucking the CIA's dirty dick

    2. that the best you can do, KT ? Answer looes 74 truthfully lah...

      Methinks your only friend is that feipoh Helen with that horrendous auntie the by, where is she now...she sooo miss out on the dedak confetti that's like manna from heaven for all these paid mercenary bloggers, wakakaka.

  5. At present, we need someone credible to lead the opposition. If not him, who else? People may say anything about him but he can make rural folks, especially the malay to listen...

  6. Yes, JJ. This joker has been demanding proofs from us on anything and everything. Hence we should return the fucking favour.

    Prove it to us, fucking kaytee that you and S thayaparan are really friends.

    Pictures, testimonials, personal letters. With all the fake news flying around, one has to be absolutely sure that this cibai kaytee is telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

    Is kaytee truly a DAP supporter? Or a fucking devil advocate bending in ensuring that his beloved najib rules forever

    Kaytee, Do the necessaries........Prove me wrong

  7. Let us b civilised & not use profanities please?