Wednesday, April 2, 2008

What's inside Mahathir's closet?

From Susan Loone's Blog:

Tis the season to clear out closets. But alas, many still keep skeletons in them!

The below letter was addressed to former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad by Jayashanker Rajagopal from Selangor. Shanker emailed me this morning, saying that he wrote this article after reading my post on: How Come No One Blames Mahathir” - and also following TDM’s letter which appeared in The Sun on march 28 - ”Dr M speaks up on Rulers and politicians” . I thought it would be nice to share it with everyone:

Dear Tun Dr Mahathir,

My first impression when I read your letter – Dr M speaks up on Rulers and politicians – The Sun 28/3/08 – was - wow, what an irony.

Perhaps the irony of all ironies.

The jury’s out, and you still want to justify yourself before the masses.

What does it take, for you to admit, the role you played in bringing Malaysia to the depressing state that it is today - politically, socially, morally and economically? (Though the recent GE has at least offered hope- nevertheless the road ahead is still long).

What does it take for you to admit YOUR faults?

The lame excuses offered in your letter – "Even other accusations against me, including the dismissal of judges, were not my doing and I do not feel obliged to apologise. Ask the Tribunal to apologise".

Really Tun, and you would have us to believe that you were just a passive by-stander when this nation’s bastion of justice was being flushed down into a black hole? In any event, why moot the notion of an apology, unless something wrong was committed? If yes, why did you, as the paramount leader, do nothing? To clear its good name, the Government should get credible foreign agencies to do… investigation.

This, coming from an individual who bedevilled foreigners in his days. In any event, can they also pull out files from your time in office? Of course, if such an imaginary course of action was ever possible, I can just picture your response – “ I can’t remember”, or “it’s my prerogative”…. “I am aware that people are looking into possible misdeeds by me during my 22 years …..So far they have not found anything”.

Well Tun, perhaps it’s because these “people” haven’t gone very far yet….but then, what do you think the VK Lingam tape episode is all about?

Tun – are you really upset because of Badawi’s ineptness, or are you acting that way because Badawi cancelled your pet projects, and as a result, your cronies couldn’t get a hold of the hand-me-downs which you would have promised them during your reign? What kind of road show are you putting up here? To get sympathy from the masses? Wouldn’t it be easier if you just apologised?

I sincerely doubt, as do many Malaysians, that this re-birth of Malaysia would have been possible if you were still in power today. Here you are, a trigger happy man when it concerns Badawi and his ilk. However, convenient ignorance is the order of the day when it comes to your own misdeeds of the past. Alas, for these things that you whack Badawi for, bear very much, the finger prints that you had left in your 22 years of being the nation’s Chief Executive.

Many are critical of Badawi at this point, and rightly so. But was it Badawi who created the rot? Or did he inherit it before he himself went on to tinker with it? How could he have created it, in the four short years that he ruled? And yet Tun, you would aver to have us believe, that you are as innocent as a blue-eyed, sweet-dimpled baby in the evolution of all things wrong in Malaysia. Let me list it out:-

  • The rot of the Judiciary
  • The muzzled and impotent mass media
  • The demonising of a valid Opposition and the tactical use of the May 13 fear to augment it.
  • The suppression of basic civil rights - it wasn’t Badawi who started the practice of gassing the nation’s people who exercised their right to peaceful public demonstrations.
  • The ISA and Operasi Lallang.
  • The use of racial politics to rule and divide.
  • The corruption that is the civil service today.
  • The loss of billions of ringgits - this practice too, wasn’t started by Badawi, even though he certainly raised the bar! Let’s recap :-

MAS, UEM, MRCB, Renong, Proton, Perwaja, Bank Bumi, the E-Village, Paya Indah Wetlands, MSC, Cyber-jaya, the Putrajaya development which today, is a certified loss, the 1998 Commonwealth Games, the purchase of MAS shares by EPF at higher than market price, the so-called “paper” loss of billions through FOREX & Tin Futures Trading, the rise of money politics in UMNO and BN, toll concessions that burden the rakyat, lop-sided agreements with Independent Power Producers, the issuance of APs, the mis-allocation of Bumi shares/contracts/scholarships etc. to relatives of Ministers and leacherous hop-on political riders, extravagant projects that provide nothing more than gloss when measuring national achievements, and so on and so forth.

And just where do we conclude this list?

You were definitely better than Badawi at controlling various situations in the country; but fear and an iron fisted approach was the lead course of action, in order to make it work. You are the consummate political chess grandmaster - a political Bobby Fischer, if you like - gifted with an impecable sense of timing. As it is, you are still trying to maneuver what little pawns you could find on the board today - albeit limited in your moves - very much like a Bobby Fischer coming out of retirement.

Where does the buck stop? When Watergate was uncovered, it went all the way to Nixon, and the President took responsibility, as Chief Executive, and resigned. But you, dear Tun, despite clear, irrefutable evidences that lead all the way to your door step, still plead innocence, or amnesia, or powerlessness, or “its-my-prerogative” type of response.

Where did Badawi and the UMNO - ites of today obtain their “ilham” to carry on business as usual?

Wasn’t it you, who confronted the Rulers on their powers and later went on to curtail it - seen through the Constitutional Crisis of the 80s? So why is there so much of fuss when it comes to the drama that unfolded in Terengganu the past couple of days? Didn’t you create this constitutional ambiguity?

If you were still in office, we wouldn’t have had this much freedom in voicing our opinions today. And I would be hauled by the Special Branch for daring to suggest these issues. Let’s give Badawi that much credit, please!

Do you think that Malaysians are so naive so as to think that the various branches of the Executive, the Judiciary, and the Police were acting on their own volition without following the operating guidelines “established” by Putrajaya during your time?

Let me give a you piece of advice - Malaysians are a forgiving lot, really. And all you have to do to earn that justifiable measure of respect on your epitaph is to apologise.

I think no one is going to get vindictive if you do that - sincerely. Remember, Nixon did get his pardon.

In any event, all this was your dilemma to begin with.

*(See also the next post, an earlier letter written to Malaysiakini and Malaysia-Today by Sarawak Headhunter).

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