Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Can the people of M’sia ever forgive Mahathir?

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MONDAY, 21 JUNE 2010 14:35

[Mahathir Mohamad has] ... created a legacy so monumental that no one could have presumed his mantle.”
That was what Abdullah Ahmad gushingly said of Mahathir when the ‘great man’ announced his resignation as prime minister. Tan Sri Abdullah was group editor-in-chief of the New Straits Times when he wrote the above on June 26, 2002 following news of Mahathir’s intention.
I believe that that came from Abdullah’s heart for you cannot write anything so ‘moving’ if it does not come from the heart. Now let me tell you what comes from my heart when I read that.
Who would be foolhardy enough to presume Mahathir mantle?
This man used money and power like no other PM of Malaysia has ever done! Like no other leader in most parts of the civilized world has ever done, save for some parts of Africa and some parts of our world where accountability for one’s action is easily dismissed through the barrel of the gun! 
Who would dare to presume the monumental mantle of this Mahathir who was instrumental in bringing into our way of life such concepts as Operasi Lalang (ISA and the ends justify the means of preventive detention), nepotism, money politics, greed, privatization, IPPs, and Perwaja; the monumental mantle of this Mahathir that displayed such utter vindictiveness to those who simply do not agree with his point of view?
It is a monumental mantle to have left as his legacy – negotiated tenders, a tainted judiciary, Bakun, Renong and its horrendous debts, Khir Toyo, Daim Zainuddin, and the list is endless. The monumental man almost left us a crooked bridge as well.
Every government machinery, every high public office appointment, every political decision made during Mahathir’s time was at his pleasure and made to do your biddings.
Not Dollah, not anyone …. nobody would be foolhardy enough to try and assume that mantle.
All the personal excesses that we now talk about had its beginnings, development and reached its zenith during Mahathir’s time. Samy Velu, Rafidah, VK Lingam, Augustine Paul, Liong Sik, Daim, Vincent Tan, Abdullah Ang, Eric Cheah…the mind boggles at the billions these people made at the expense of the nation!
Sir, you need to take responsibility
What defines greatness in a man? “It’s not what you take but what you leave behind that defines greatness.” – Edward Gardner. 
Mahathir left us with debts measured in billions, not millions! 
This man left us with monuments of First World stature but failed miserably to prepare our then third-world mentality to be ready for these iconic structures. If you bring a nation into an era that it is not ready for, you are being irresponsible!
If you cut corners and award projects to people who YOU think can do the job and they fail to do that job – you take responsibility! 
If you do nothing about a leader that robs his own people blind – like Samy Velu did to the Indians – then you take responsibility.
If you take power away from the Sultans and empower Umno with the same power and Umno abuses that power – you take responsibility! 
When you remove two of your deputies and in so doing caused:
1) Within Umno, a factionalism that forever weakened the party;
2) and had one of these removed deputies, Anwar, come back 10 years later and inflict upon Umno its biggest defeat, you take responsibility. 
When you take a dentist and make him Menteri Besar of Selangor – and this MB then proceeds to enrich himself so excessively that it finally culminated in the loss of Selangor to the opposition – then you take responsibility. 
When you take oil royalties away from Terengganu and Kelantan because the people voted for the opposition, you take responsibility for the suffering of the people within that state who are now without the funds for development. 
When you use Petronas money to bail out your son’s shipping company to the tune of hundreds of millions, then you take responsibility for abusing the trust the people placed in you as the guardian of public money. 
Can he walk down a street unmolested?
That a man of your previous stature would require me, a 62-year-old man living in Adelaide, Australia to write this biting and hurtful article about you simply indicates the depth you have allowed yourself to sink to. 
Once you told us to look East. We looked East.
You told us to buy British last. We bought British last.
You told us to buy Proton, we bought Proton – albeit with a little arm-twisting. Possibly all those were relevant at that point in time. So Tun, using that analogy, let me respectfully tell you this: “Tun, you are no longer relevant”.
You are no longer relevant in Umno except to serve the selfish purpose of certain factions. “Hear! Hear!” or as (the blogger) Antares said for the benefit of Ibrahim Ali, “Dengar, Dengar!”
You are no longer relevant to the Malays. You have done enough damage to us and we see thorough your deceptions.
You are no longer relevant to the people in this country. We have all moved on and demand a more open and responsible government. We see through your duplicity and untruths.
Tun, you are only relevant to those that still love you for what you are – a grandfather, a father and a husband. Is it not time that you return their love and their need to have you back in their fold? And that you return the love and respect that they give to you for what you are today? An 84-year-old grandfather, father and husband.
Sir, you would need all the goodness that is in Mecca, all the forgiveness that Mandela has shown to the very people that imprisoned him, and all the love that the families of Teoh Beng Hock, Kugan and Aminulrasyid have for their loved ones if you are ever to be forgiven by the people of Malaysia. 
And I know that even with all that, you would still have a hard time walking down the streets of KL without worrying that someone might spit on you…and that Sir is the whole truth and nothing but the truth…so help me God! 
This article was first published as ‘Sir, you need to take responsibility!’ in Hussein Hamid’s blog on June 21 and reproduced here with minor editing by CPI.

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