By Imran Manap
IT seems that some folks are just so desperate for attention that they are willing to say anything just to elicit a response.
In a Malaysiakini interview, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, to the shock of no-one, admitted that the Perikatan Nasional Government was trying to get him on board.
This is nothing new of course. After all, it was Mahathir’s own folly that gave us this Government in the first place.
Who can forget the shocking turn of events nearly a year ago, where Mahathir’s abrupt resignation, following his party Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s (Bersatu) withdrawal from the Pakatan Harapan coalition led to the fall of the 22-month old Government.
What was more shocking was his U-urn to burn all bridges with both Muafakat Nasional and Pakatan, by calling for a unity government by excluding many of his Cabinet members from Pakatan.
This, of course, cements the theory that it was a power grab by Mahathir all along. This is eerily reminiscent of the 1988 Constitutional crisis, which saw our judiciary shaken to the point of no recovery.
So, why are we still entertaining the old man?
Discard Mahathirism, M’sia needs a new deal
In his pursuit of his “imagined” Malaysia, Mahathir had turned Umno and the component parties of Barisan Nasional into a powerful patronage machine – a literal “one-stop shop for handouts and favours”.
In order to push whatever “reforms” he saw necessary, Mahathir crippled every single institution that was supposed to serve as a check and balance to an overreaching executive.
He often sacrificed integrity to secure obedience–and when he could not hand an institution to a loyalist, Mahathir would bypass them altogether.
The check and balances established by our founding fathers were dismantled by the same individual who holds power today and ironically, it seems that he’s trying to “reform” it in the same manner.
It will take time to reform the fundamental flaws our constitutional system that Mahathir created in his first term, but should we trust him alone to fix the system that he broke?
These include the agenda to correct the national economy and finances, and the monumental task to clean up other messes such as the 1Malaysia Development Board (1MDB), Felda Global Ventures (FGV), Felcra, Tabung Haji and many other mega scale scandals which have bled the nation dry.
Last but not least, there is the need to work out a greater understanding and consensus with our royalty, on the rule of law and system of constitutional monarchy as the foundation to our democracy.
If we are really to move towards Malaysia Baru, then it will perhaps require a rethink of how and what kind of check and balances are required in an objective manner – which means ignoring the narratives which were prevalent in the Mahathir era.
It must be disheartening for Mahathir to see his one last gambits to fall apart, as his final moments in power ended. One year on, Malaysians are still reminded that we are infinitely better off without him. – April 17, 2021.
Imran Manap is a contributor to FocusM.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.