Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Mahathir: A mere show which regressed the opposition

Good that Tun Dr Mahathir jumped to the other side. This time around BN is not burdened to defend his past failed policies.

It is also good that he is now leading the opposition. They will now have to defend him in which they seemed reluctant. For every defense they put up for Mahathir, there is always there past position and comment to haunt them back.

It is god-sent that his past could now be scrutinised and compared to the present government of Dato Najib. All along the only political point of Mahathir is only 1MDB to justify his hatred and revenge of Najib for not taking his orders.s

Rise in prices is another favourite point of his but he overdone the issue in the manner of 1MDB's RM42 billion lesap to claim Malaysia is moving towards bankruptcy. The price rise happened during any PM's era, the important part is to contain it within the current constraint of government. That Najib did.

Now that Mahathir is on the other side, one can see the opposition is equally but more corrupt than the allegation they made of BN. To add further, their administration is not as they claim to have the best interest of the rakyat. Mahathir's only concern are his, familiy's and cronies'interest over the rakyat. 

With old and out of time Mahathir on their side, they are regressing.

This brings us to two articles in The Malay Mail Online and Malaysian Digest. The gist of Malay Mail Online article, Pakatan's regression to Mahathirism as below:

There is no question that Mahatir brought a new dynamism and vision for the nation. His contributions for the national economic and industrial developments are beyond question. In his 22 years of rule, he steered the country’s GDP from a mere US$4 billion (RM15.8 billion) to US$110 billion. While some of his mega projects were expensive failures, on the balance his successes clearly outweighed the failures.

However, all his contributions to the physical infrastructure of the country were completely undermined and undone by his repressive and dictatorial rule which saw severe erosion in civil liberties and loss of hundreds of billions of ringgits due to corruption and mismanagement.

After starting off brightly by invigorating Malaysians with fresh hopes with the motto of “Bersih, Cekap dan Amanah,” his reign went downhill and grew increasingly draconian.

He tore apart the walls of separation of powers between the three branches of the government — the executive, the legislative and the judiciary, independent institutions meant to keep the government in check and accountable were shackled, muzzled and eventually neutered to serve the all-powerful prime minister.

When the judiciary stood up to his bullying, he engineered the sacking of the Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and two other Supreme Court Judges, a move which our first PM Tunku Abdul Rahman described as “the most shocking story in modern legal and judicial history.”

Abas and the judges were replaced with less independent minded judges who acted as the tool of the Executive rather than delivering justice without fear or favour.

Barry Wain, the author of The Malaysian Maverick, wrote that this episode had consequences far beyond just the loss of independence among the judiciary as it also opened the door for corruption seep into the justice system and giving rise to shocking miscarriages of justice.

The Election Commission too lost its independence and was used as the tool to gerrymander and malapportionment the electoral districts to rig the election in favor of the ruling party. The resulting electoral victory gave Mahatir an unassailable majority in the parliament enabling him to use it as a rubber stamp to pass repressive and discriminatory laws.

His own party was not spared either. He reacted with characteristic ruthlessness when faced with challenges from party members alarmed by his increasingly authoritarian rule and the rise of corruption, nepotism and cronyism. By using all powers and tools of the incumbency he ruthlessly eliminated his rivals and went on to manipulate the party constitution so that there will be no such challenges in the future.

Political opponents and even NGOs were often targeted, harassed and thrown into jail without trial. Operasi Lalang of 1987 saw more than 100 political opponents and civil liberty leaders arrested in massive crackdown and jailed without trial or providing reasons for their arrests.

To attain absolute power and total control, Mahathir borrowed extensively from the dictators’ playbook. One of his key strategies was to establish the culture of political patronage where his supporters and cronies were richly rewarded with government contracts and concessions. His actions ushered in and firmly embedded the culture of money politics into Umno.

All these actions served to legitimise corruption at the top and soon this deadly cancer spread rapidly and permeated every sector of the government, public service and the society. Despite his lamentation of corruption and money politics, the organisation responsible for fighting corruption (Anti-Corruption Agency, ACA) was made toothless and merely stood and watched while the nation was being eaten from within by this deadly parasite.

Another infamous legacy of Mahathirism was the privatization of government where the public assets were transferred into private hands, ostensibly to improve efficiency and reduce public sector burden. Barry Wain estimates that RM100 billion were transferred to favored cronies under this programme.

An excellent article by Malaysia Digest, He might be the 'greatest showman' but Mahathir is not the future of Malaysia, which forewarned Malaysians that Mahathir is just an act. The progress and development he brought is not sustainable but marred by failures and mismanagements.

To bring him back as PM is "misplaced nostalgia" as it is mere opportunity for him to right his past wrong. Opposition has no agenda for the country and merely taking opportunity on those left aside by UMNO. The country could not move forward but in fact, regress.

The extract below:
The irony is not lost on Mahathir either, as he stood on stage on December 30, 2017 to offer an apology to opposition politicians that he used to criticise and have imprisoned.

“Like other human beings, I’m not alone in saying or doing wrong. Not just today, but for as long as I’ve been in politics.

“I apologise for all my past mistakes,” Mahathir said, wrapping up his speech at PPBM’s annual general meeting.

Whether his apology was enough to assuage the grievances and apprehension of opposition supporters and politicians is up to anyone’s guess but seeing that he was nominated a week after his public apology might be a good measuring stick, even though it was not a unanimous decision among grassroots leaders.

Mahathir is, after all, a savvy politician, which is why his candidacy did not surprise political analyst from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian, as he said that Mahathir is Pakatan’s most realistic candidate.

Prof Dr Sivamurugan Pandian. Pic: NSTPProf Dr Sivamurugan Pandian. Pic: NSTP“Mahathir may be the right person to somehow accommodate the interest of PKR, DAP, PPBM, and PAN even though some were not happy with the selection because he was seen as the reason why Anwar is behind bars,” Sivamurugan said, while adding that those who were involved in Reformasi might continue to protest this decision.

He also thinks that we would be seeing the style we have seen during Mahathir’s 22 years as PM emerging again and he is not certain whether that is what the people are looking for.

“I also think that nominating Mahathir is a step backwards because many of us would want to see a young leader to lead because you’ve seen this phenomena happening globally where young leaders have emerged such as in Canada and France, so why not Malaysia?” he relayed.

However, he observed that Mahathir’s candidacy seems to adhere to a pattern where the opposition have always used someone who left UMNO to lead their coalition.

“Back in 1990, Semangat 46 was formed as a splinter party from UMNO, and it was led by Tan Sri Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah.

“And in 1999, most of those who left UMNO formed another splinter party known as Keadilan, which was led by Anwar before he was sent to prison.

“All those who left UMNO became the favourite to lead so we are seeing the same pattern now,” he explained.

Thus, Pakatan might have fallen back on this pattern and belief that even though Mahathir is old, they need someone from UMNO to replace UMNO although most of us think that he is too old for the position.

“It is now up to the people whether to vote rationally and practically, or emotionally.

“If they look at these patterns, they would become more rational but then many of us are emotionally attached to some political parties, so that’s why I think they accept any leaders,” he opined.

Regardless of Pakatan’s manoeuvring, Sivamurugan thinks that the outcome of the upcoming elections is going to be status quo and the political scenario could see changes depending on the number of seats won by Barisan Nasional and the opposition.

“If it is status quo then nothing much will change but then if Barisan Nasional’s majority decreases or if the opposition increases their seats from what they have now, then it will influence the political scenario.

“But I think that the Malaysian people will remain active in politics from the GE14 is held until the coming five years as well and that will not stop,” he said in conclusion.
Why waste time on an alternative that failed to prove their ability to administer their states and are equally corrupt or worse than BN (depending on which side of the fence you are)?

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