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7th Rangers: Mahathir: The paper tiger by Ronnie Liu
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Mahathir: The paper tiger by Ronnie Liu
Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Zakir Naik and Mamakthir
Malaysiakini : When Pakatan Harapan unexpectedly won the 14th General Election, Dr Mahathir Mohamad was on top of the world.
He had helped to do the impossible – topple a kleptocratic regime that had run the country since in independence. With a huge amount of goodwill from a grateful electorate, he was ushered in as the steady hand that would help to guide the transition. Even though his party had garnered only 13 seats in Parliament (compared to PKR’s 49 and DAP’s 42), he was made the interim prime minister as per the agreement before the election.
The other Harapan component parties could have easily reneged on this agreement and insist that Wan Azizah, for example, be the PM since PKR had the most number of seats in Parliament. In fact, the king had even offered her just that. But as a person of honour, she stuck with the agreement and thus Dr M became PM.
Everybody, including this writer, decided to give Mahathir the benefit of the doubt. Collectively, the Harapan parties gave him the room and space to do what was needed. The worst thing we could do was to start second-guessing him from the start. It was quite worrying when even from early on he started harping about a third national car, even as he was saying that Harapan could not fulfil some of its promises due to lack of money. It became more worrying when Bersatu started taking in Umno frogs despite Mahathir himself promising not to do that. Now, Bersatu’s numbers have doubled to 26 thanks to crossovers. The only reason there aren’t more is that Mahathir has not been successful in enticing more to cross over.
While the rest of the Harapan parties wanted to press forward with a multiracial agenda, Dr M seemed intent on pursuing a BN-model of having dominant Malay party control the coalition. This became obvious when he openly invited Malay-based parties in the opposition to join Bersatu. Later, he clarified this to mean inviting its members, with the intention of creating a mega-Malay party. What’s the point of this other than to become Umno 3.0?
There is an English saying, give a man an inch he will take a mile. This certainly applies to Mahathir. Instead of using the goodwill and broad leeway everyone has given him to institute much-needed reforms, he has used his prerogative to do things that are not only unpopular but goes against the ethos, value and aspirations of Harapan and its supporters. One of the things we campaigned on was the abolition of repressive laws, which many of our leaders and leaders of civil society had been persecuted with before GE14. We don’t want such draconian laws to stay in the books because they can be easily abused. Why are they still there? Because one man still wants them to be there.
(The recent so-called Tamil Tigers crackdown using Sosma says a lot about what draconian laws could do to Malaysian citizens. Even state exco and elected representatives could not spare the tyranny. Icerd and the Rome Statute were things that would uplift Malaysia into the company of modern nations. Because of Mahathir’s decision to give in to right-wing extremists, Malaysia is not one of the 179 nations which are signatories of Icerd Instead, we are among the 14 which are not, which includes South Sudan, Myanmar and North Korea. Not exactly something to be proud of.
Read it all here, subscription required................
posted by Major D Swami (Retired) @ 4:43 PM  
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