Let’s not be blind in our criticism of Mahathir


By Ah Beng

Fighting to get rid of an incumbent PM or government is never easy, given the massive power of incumbency. If by now we still fail to appreciate the difficulties faced by those who try to do so, we must be quite blind and ignorant.

I am bewildered when criticisms are so lavishly levelled against those who try to make the situations in the country right. Hence, what else is new – Anwar Ibrahim is immoral, Lim Kit Siang is chauvinistic, and Mahathir has never changed his spots, and who now wants to set up another “racist” party.

We like to go back in history to judge a person based on what he has said and done. We hold them to account forever without realising that times and circumstances have changed and will continue to change.

Hence, we hold on to what we have heard so often – what could Mahathir, the “father of cronyism, the destroyer of institutions and the promoter of corruption” do to correct the situations in our country now? We want him to go back to undo what he has done instead of looking forward to the future.

Whether we like it or not, Mahathir has provided his assessment of Malaysia today. He has also provided some solutions, including forming a new “racist” party. However, more importantly, are we in agreement with him? Do we agree that the situation in the country has reached tipping point? Do we agree that we need new approaches? We are not compelled to agree with him; after all, he is old and “powerless” now.

Many of us are very “idealistic” in our criticism of Mahathir. We are also very “idealistic” in what we want. We nit-pick Mahathir and condemn him for causing our present state of affairs. We want a multiracial and multi-religious Malaysia without realising the insecurity and racism still lurking inside many of us.

I am a country bumpkin in politics so I will just ask a few simple questions. I hope all of us will answer truthfully and honestly these questions.

First, do we consider the situation in our country today graver than during Mahathir’s era?

Second, who do you think Prime Minister Najib Razak would consider his most dangerous and worthy opponent now — Lim Kit Siang, Anwar Ibrahim, Wan Azizah, Hadi Awang, Azmin Ali, Muhyiddin or Mahathir?

Third, who do you think Umno fears the most — DAP, PKR, PAS or the new Bersatu party?

Fourth, without Mahathir opposing, lamenting and agitating, do you think Malaysians, especially the Malays, would be well-informed and concerned with the issues confronting the nation?

Fifth, what would be the state of opposition politics in the country today if Mahathir was not on the scene?

When Malaysia needs the 91-year-old former PM to lead the charge, what does that tell us? It speaks volumes of opposition disarray, the difficulties the opposition faces, the power as well as the failure of institutions, and the increasing concentration of power in the hands of a few.

Ah Beng is a pseudonym for an FMT reader.

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