Mahathir’s Moral Authority
Malaysians ‘mudah lupa’ (forget easily) that is all I can say.It would be dangerous for the opposition to latch on to Dr Mahathir Mohamad purely because he opposes the government. We must ask why he is opposing the government – is it because he wants to make Malaysia more democratic? Is it because he wants to make the police force more professional? Is it because he wants the judiciary to be independent? Is it because he believes in equality for all Malaysians?Does he believe in a secular Malaysia where all religions are accorded equal respect? Does he believe the NEP should be abandoned? Does he believe in meritocracy? Does he believe that all Malaysians born in Malaysia should be regarded as bumiputera?
If Mahathir is a ‘Johnny come lately’ to the principles of democracy, justice and the rule of law, then he should certainly be given a chance. But he must first apologise for the large part he played in destroying the very foundations of democracy in Malaysia, for making corruption a way of life, for shackling the media, for squandering billions on failed projects which enriched his cronies, for decimating the judiciary, for corrupting the police force, for persecuting the opposition and for illegally declaring Malaysia an Islamic state which has been responsible for the further polarisation amongst Malaysians.
In short, Mahathir was a despicable dictator who does not deserve to be given the benefit of the doubt. His talk of democracy, media freedom and civil rights rings hollow and is hypocritical. It is tantamount to Saddam Hussein saying he wants to set up welfare fund for the Kurds. Will anybody believe him?
Desperate and unprincipled political parties like PAS will happily share the same platform as him, the person whom they once called ‘murtad’ and ‘Mahafiraun’ but who is now their pin-up boy! Malaysia needs politicians with integrity – not opportunists.
It is my sincere hope that the opposition will not touch Mahathir even with a barge pole. Mahathir is a liability for a credible opposition because he has no moral authority. The opposition has to have a clear direction in paving the way for a political culture which is non-racial and secular. There are no shortcuts and they have to appeal to the ‘hearts and minds’ of the rakyat.
Malaysia needs a new paradigm in governance. The racial politics of old are simply not workable anymore and have been extremely damaging. Malaysia is no longer competitive. The world has changed and will not countenance any immoral supremacist religious or racial worldview. We do so at out own peril. We have wasted so much world-beating talent and opportunities for first world prosperity because of race-based politics and a ‘Ketuanan’ modus operandi.
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