Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mahathir The Father Of Malaysia's Problems

Sarawak Headhunter's comments on "The 10 Mistakes of Mahathir Mohamad":

Mahathir is a person who would rather destroy the whole nation in his efforts to avoid being proven wrong than accept the fact that he made many mistakes that have cost and will continue to cost the whole country dearly.

Criticism of others comes easy to him, but he can't take it himself.

Certainly he can make life miserable for his successors and no one has yet been able to deal with him as he deserves. If there is any person, other than Daim Zainuddin, who deserves to be imprisoned under the ISA for economic sabotage and endangering the security of the nation, it is Mahathir.

The New Economic Policy was definitely abused to the maximum by him and a selected group of cronies in UMNO, chief of whom of course was Daim Zainuddin, the man who singlehandedly siphoned out the most of Malaysia's wealth and caused the country and many of its institutions to suffer massive losses.

Mahathir and Daim never really allowed the NEP to address poverty and raise the level of Malay participation in the economy, except for the few (themselves included of course) whom they selected and were able to collaborate with them at the expense of the vast majority of Malaysians (especially Malays) whom they were able to dupe.

There was no mistake in the deliberate pattern in which Mahathir and Daim systematically accumulated their own enormous wealth and for their cronies and proxies "through the money-making schemes hatched under the guise of the NEP". This was plain looting that they managed to disguise and control through their tight grip on power and the regulatory apparatus of the government. The so-called privatization (in fact piratization) of government assets to a few favoured Malay entrepreneurs was actually a sham.

In reality it was not so much that they were "not able to deal with the ‘instant success’ or the stress of big time business" that many succumbed to debt during the 1998 Asian financial crisis. They were only proxies for Daim and Mahathir, who had managed to convince them that what they were doing was in the national interest and the interests of the Malays and UMNO in particular. Under Daim's and Mahathir's directives, they facilitated the stripping and looting of the very businesses that they were supposed to nurture, supposedly for the purposes of maintaining the power of UMNO and its hold over the nation but actually to enrich Daim and Mahathir (whether they realized it or not).

They were rewarded handsomely for their roles in these schemes, but ultimately at the expense of their own credibility and capacity. It would prove impossible for them to make enough to cover the money siphoned out of these businesses by Daim and Mahathir, thereby necessitating the massive government bailouts.

This coupled with the pooling of wealth in the hands of a few "left the ordinary Malays and Malaysians with just a few crumbs to share amongst themselves", but not many realised it at the time (which was really borrowed time), since Daim and Mahathir were able to mask what they were doing through the creation of artificial and shallow economic booms and progress (especially through the use of petroleum revenues stolen from Sarawak and Sabah).

Indeed it has now blown up to today’s red-hot disputes about social and economic fairness, but there are still many especially in UMNO/BN, who refuse to see or cannot see the real cause of the dire situation that Malaysia is in today. The more delusional among them even go to the extent  of denying that Malaysia is on the brink of bankruptcy, which is where the doings of Daim and Mahathir in particular and UMNO in general have put us all.

So now we find, in times of rapidly rising prices and costs of living but without commensurate income, that "there is not enough money for scholarships, education, healthcare, employment and welfare for everyone, even the Malays who have been repeatedly told by Mahathir’s Umno party that they will get priority".

It is not so much that Mahathir chose the wrong people for the wrong jobs or that he trusted the wrong people. Mahathir and Daim worked together to pick people who could be manipulated, coerced, intimidated or blackmailed into doing things that suited their evil plans. Many of these people were hauled to court to settle debts not really of their own doing or making but incurred at the behest of Daim and Mahathir or as a result of their schemes.

The result of course is that "only Daim Zainudin remains ‘filthy’ rich". Mahathir was not really had, since he was together with Daim a significant beneficiary of all these schemes, but he may not have realised the full extent of what Daim had siphoned off and that this combined with his own grandiose schemes would place such a great burden on the nation. The self-deception of a megalomaniac like Mahathir and the mass deception that he perpetrated on the Malaysian people is something that all Malaysians will be paying for through their nose for the forseeable future.

Mahathir could have foreseen that the National Debt would become as high as it is today (over RM450 billion) if he had really bothered to count the cost of all the nefarious schemes that he and Daim implemented. Mahathir was never responsible enough to think about the future and the consequences of any of his and Daim's actions. That he never saved a sen for Malaysia for a rainy day could generously be seen as a "mistake", but should rather be seen as gross criminal neglect and dereliction of duty (if he really had any sense of duty).

Mahathir had no real economic policy to speak of. His economic policy was based on his tentative opinions and speculative viewpoints, not forgetting his and Daim's own exploitative shenanigans and crooked schemes. His "skewed understanding of the economy" was more a character defect than a mistake.

Mahathir’s ego and conscious desire to be a dictator was also not a mistake but a defect of character. Mahathir, Daim and UMNO/BN never lost their integrity since they never had any in the first place. As a result they could hardly be well-intentioned, except in a kind of "by the way" manner.

UMNO has always been racist. Its very name betrays its racist origins and nature, so much so that its membership abandoned its own founder when he tried to change it into a multi-racial party. Mahathir exploited this to the fullest. He was both a product of UMNO's racism as well as a proponent and ideologue of it. UMNO Malays generally didn't take much convincing that what (Mahathir and Daim and their other leaders) had done was necessary and in their interests. They have kept themselves deceived until today in spite of all the evidence that they choose to ignore, mainly because of their own racial and racist hang-ups, to the extent that many of them (Mahathir being chief of them all) deliberately suppressed their real (Indian) racial origins to become more Malay than the "real" Malays themselves.

Corruption was tolerated and exploited by Mahathir himself to maintain his power in UMNO and over the nation. While pretending to be "clean, efficient and trustworthy" ("bersih, cekap, amanah"), he allowed those he wished to control to get trapped in their own web of corruption so that they were not only no threat to him but could be made to do whatever he wanted.

That corruption has now spread so wide that it threatens the very fabric of the nation and UMNO has not been able to come to grips with it. In fact UMNO seems to be quite comfortable wallowing in it at the expense of the nation.

For UMNO to survive, it has to get rid of Mahathir once and for all, and for Malaysia to survive (even if without Sarawak and Sabah), it has to rid itself of UMNO.

Al Tugauw
Sarawak Headhunter

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