Do you remember 1998? People are in the streets peacefully chanting “Reformasi” and carrying banners with the words, “Mahathir Undur!” Soon, they are chased by riot police, who kick them and beat them with batons. The brutal, vivid scenesare captured by AP reporters. Many demonstrators are arrested. Yet the prime minister who oversaw that crackdown is now celebrated at protests. He himself now views protests as necessary.
Do you remember the Bank Negara forex scandal? Or the Perwaja Steel scandal? Or the Bumiputra Malaysia Finance scandal? (Google all of them.) Do you remember the frequent bailouts of failing companies, including MAS, at a steep loss for taxpayers? Yet the prime minister during all those events now says he’s concerned about corruption, malfeasance, and incompetence in the government.
Does anyone believe that Mahathir is a changed man?
Do you remember when he attacked Tunku Abdul Rahman for being too nice to the Chinese? Do you remember when he was the patron of Perkasa, an organization notorious for its racial rhetoric? Do you remember when he criticized Najib’s effortto remove the 30 percent bumiputeraequity quota for many companies? That quota-lifting was a welcome and progressive pivot away from race-based policies. Yet Mahathir now has the gall to call Najib “very racist.”
Do you remember all the politically motivated arrests that happened under Mahathir’s rule? Do you remember when he opposed repealing the Sedition Act when Najib proposed the move? Do you remember when Mahathir blamed a rise in crime on the abolition of the Internal Security Act (ISA) and the Banishment Act? Yet he now complains about Malaysia as a “police state“, apparently alarmed at the lack of freedom and democracy.
Do you remember when Mahathir pushed for Tunku to be removed from power? Do you remember when he did the same to his own successor Abdullah Badawi because the latter refused to do his bidding? Yet Mahathir is now portrayed by many as a selfless statesman who wants to ‘save Malaysia’ from Najib. Give me a break. Don’t you see the pattern here?
This isn’t about setting scores, or seeking justice for past sins. Too many are fixated over whether Mahathir should be forgiven, since he has now joined their crusade against Najib. But that’s entirely beside the point – forgiveness is a red herring dreamt up by those desperate to soothe very legitimate doubts about our former dictator.
Forgiving Mahathir is not the same as trusting Mahathir. Moving on doesn’t mean shutting off your brain and handing over the keys to your house. Given Mahathir’s long and sordid record, can anyone be confident in his commitment to reform?
There’s absolutely nothing stopping Mahathir’s Pribumi party from defecting back to Umno if the opposition wins GE14. Absolutely nothing. In that scenario, Umno agrees to drop Najib and Pribumi members are reabsorbed. Pakatan remains in opposition and their legion of NGO activists weep over the fact that they were ‘hoodwinked’.
We’re already seen a preview of this when PAS separated from Pakatan. A coalition of loose partners with dissimilar ideologies cannot stand. Helmed by Mahathir and Muhyiddin, Pribumi has far more in common with Umno (beliefs, culture, and priorities), making its eventual defection all but certain.
So why is the opposition insistent on working with Mahathir and his new party? How the hell is Najib the ‘greater evil’ given all Mahathir has said and done in the past? 22 years of almost ceaseless repression and scandal. A history of knifing allies that stretches all the way back to Tunku.
This is akin to not only trusting an arsonist to put out the fire, but gleefully handing him the matches. It’s naïveté of the highest order.
I, for one, refuse to enable Mahathir. I refuse to enable a blatant power grab. I refuse to enable a return to Mahathirism. And I don’t know how anyone can. Mahathir is fond of saying, “Melayu mudah lupa.” But I hope all Malaysians remember this: The man at the root of our problems cannot be our savior.
Source. : Malaysia Impact