THIS IS one or yours truly most difficult prose to pen in his 30-year journalistic career – to see a statesman he most respected self-destruct from a dignified global leader into a villain that threatens to tear Malaysia into shreds along racial dogma.
And most ironical of all, this has to happen at the oddest of time – instead of having longed faded into oblivion from the political scene with only two years to go before he turns a centenarian, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has mooted an uprising. Is he trying to spark a modern day “May 13”?
The “Malay Proclamation” event originally due today (March 19) which is tentatively put on hold or cancelled – depending on how one looks at it – could best mark his biggest tyranny and one that would wipe out his entire legacy of Malaysia’s only two-time premier.
His reputation as Malaysia’s longest serving premier (22 years from July 1981 to October 2003 and from May 2018 to March 2020 for a total of 24 years) and that of the world’s oldest statesman at “92 years and 11 days” as per the Guinness World of Records’ tabulation when he helmed the short-lived Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration in the aftermath of the 2018 national polls, has been fast forgotten.
The adage that one can only get wiser as he/she ages does not seem to apply to the elder statesman for he is unable to just call it a day by accepting enough is enough.
Instead, he allows his personal vendetta, hatred and delusional belief towards the man his country has acknowledged as their Prime Minister (PM) of the day to prolong his political stint, much to the discontentment of Malaysians whose patience with him has run thin after he deserted the 22-month-old PH government in favour of enabling the Sheraton Move conspirators to achieve their aim.
Since then, he has drifted further and further away from the norm expected of an elder statesman, that of spending quality time in the garden, go for holidays with his wife whom Malaysians wouldn’t have second thoughts acknowledging as “First Lady of Malaysia” or play with his grandchildren.
If politics is so thick in his blood that he couldn’t live a day without a sip of ‘political soup’, then yours truly would humbly suggest that he emulates DAP’s retired supremo Lim Kit Siang who still dishes out his opinion freely in his individual capacity.
The veteran politician and Malaysia’s longest serving Opposition leader (29 years on three separate occasions) still gets his fair share of ‘netizens’ bashing’ but at least he is consistent with his self-belief – or being a non-chameleon to begin with.
Since his major rejection by Langkawi folks which culminated in his failing not only to defend his parliamentary constituency in the 15th General Election (GE15) but to also lose his deposit, Dr Mahathir has been demonstrating radical tendencies which is unbecoming for a leader of his stature.
After quitting as the founder of Pejuang which he founded soon after quitting Bersatu in the aftermath of Sheraton Move which saw the emergence of two backdoor governments, Dr Mahathir is now plying his trade at Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) even if claimed to have decided not to contest in future elections.
For all his actions – very sadly – Dr Mahathir is stooping lower by the days to the ranks of PAS’ president Tan Sri Hadi Awang or Bersatu’s “I’m Malay first” president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
In so doing, he is now increasingly perceived as Malaysia’s enemy No. 1 with Anwar vowing that he will not be cowed into silence by threats made by certain quarters aimed at toppling him from federal power.
“You want to threaten me by (conducting) an assembly? You want to threaten me from acting against corruption? You chose the wrong prime minister!” Anwar who is also the PKR president lambasted at the party’s special congress yesterday (March 18).
“I will not be influenced by these threats. If we have power, we will act. If you want to try to attempt a coup, by all means. But it will not be easy,” the PH chairman told PKR delegates.
Anwar’s ferocious statement aimed at quarters who are impeding him from carrying out reforms to put the country back on track of progress must have sent shivers down the spine of two event venues earmarked for today’s Proklamasi Orang Melayu gathering.
Both Hotel Impiana in the Federal capital and the Sime Darby Convention Centre in Bukit Kiara were wise enough to disassociate themselves at the eleventh hour from the event whereby Dr Mahathir, among others, is expected to decry the fate of Malays being powerless in their motherland.
The event which was slated over this weekend has prompted Anwar to instruct security forces to be on alert against any racial provocation late Friday (March 17).
An anti-climax indeed to witness in one’s life-time the downfall of an elder statesman who was once held in high esteem by a majority of his people but only to pay dearly the ultimate price of being unable to let go of the past. – March 19, 2023