Let’s be reasonable, Tun M: Don’t call the kettle black

Letter to editor

LET’S be reasonable, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s twice former premier.

You have been the country’s head honcho for two terms – one that lasted 22 years and a second one for 22 months.

When you decided to join Pakatan Harapan (PH), I was among many Malaysians who were happy to have you turn on a new leaf.

I still remember a qualifying statement I wrote in Malaysiakini that if you proved otherwise, you would be what I call the “most despicable sly, old fox”.

We gave you the opportunity to become Malaysia’s seventh prime minister (PM) but you disappointed many of us, which include among others former BERSIH (Coalition for Clean and Fair Election) co-chair Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan.

All we wanted to see was to make Malaysia become a progressive nation free from corruption, nepotism and cronyism.

In your first term (1981-2003), the economy was just hyped-up using government funds on “mega” yet unproductive projects. Just tell us, for example, how many levels of the PETRONAS Twin Towers are currently tenanted.

Your own record

I remember one reason why I returned from Australia was because I was incensed by your Operation Lalang which saw the arrest of politicians, religious leaders, civil society leaders and many other innocent people.

The late Datuk Lee Kim Sai whose daughter was a personal friend of mine managed to leave the country.  After that, many others such as the late Karpal Singh and (now Tan Sri) Lim Kit Siang were arrested. Even Lim’s son Guan Eng was not spared.

The Star suffered closure as a result of your clampdown. Many of its journalists were out of job.

You did not only use the Internal Security Act (ISA) and Sedition Act 1948 to “threaten” ordinary rakyat but you used it to intimidate, to suppress and to jail your dissenters. Are you hoping – or perhaps, planning – to see Anwar repeat another Operation Lalang?

In short, you used the law to punish innocent people who were just trying to earn an honest living.

Mistakes could have been rectified immediately. Just like me, I doubt if Lee even had any ill intentions to smear your reputation.

Threaten you and your sons?

I have no problems with your sons or daughter Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir. In fact, when the Bersatu faction withdrew from Pakatan Harapan (PH)-led government in 2020, I urged Marina to encourage you to hold on the fort until the post could be passed on to its rightful leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX).

When PMX became the PM of the unity government, many of us hoped that things will be better for Malaysians. Instead, you fanned the 3R (race, religion and royalty) sentiments to your advantage.

From my observation, PMX would have let you off the hook due to your age if you and your sons had been willing to pour back the money into the country’s coffers. All he wants is to focus on re-building the country.

He did not go after Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary after the BERNAS chairman agreed to give back RM90 mil to help Bumiputera paddy farmers.

As PM, he could have could have also retaliated against Tan Sri Rahim Noor for the “black eye” the former inspector-general of police (IGP) inflicted on him.

But as for you, I believe it was because you stirred up the hornet’s nest that now the bee has to sting.

So, it is no point crying over spilt milk as this is no longer a personal vendetta but it is what a lot of people have been waiting for. – April 19, 2024


Stephen Ng
Kuala Lumpur

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

Main image credit: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Facebook

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