Has Dr Mahathir Mohamad finally decided that it is high time he takes charge of the country single-handedly and does what he has to do without pussyfooting around with being a nice chap?
Perhaps after one year of administering Malaysia on a consultative basis, the prime minister has decided to be more proactive as the leader of this nation and take the bull by its horns?
After all, Mahathir was chosen to lead this country and leading it he is, despite the fact that it could only be on a short-term basis.
This approach in a sense augurs well for Malaysia albeit the fact remains that it may reflect on the abilities and capabilities of his Cabinet members.
While some of his Cabinet members may want to appear as being compassionate and considerate in their political positioning towards the rakyat, the fact remains that scoring political points has its limits. When the going gets tough, the tough get going.
Results are what people want even if it means achieving it at the expense of being patronising and playing to the gallery. Understandably, since almost the entire Cabinet have zero experience in governing the country, this new set of Cabinet members would fear to tread where angels go.
Hence, it would be wiser to take a middle of the road stance and play safe especially since you are still learning the ropes. But if you fear losing your credibility among your voters and your people, and have this occasional thirst to go against Mahathir to please your target audience, you would in all probability, need to show that you are daring enough to speak up and be heard. Mission accomplished! Whether it has any effect or not on Mahathir, is an entirely different matter altogether.
But the seasoned and old master is aware of where the failings are and does not need a survey to tell him just that. Been there. Done that.
One year on and his government is still beating around the bush with issues and policies that need remedies. Solutions, not problems, are what this nation needs. Mahathir, I believe, is doing just that even if it means going back on some of the promises made in the manifesto.
There are just too many examples of this change in policies to write in a one-page opinion piece which has resulted in numerous voices of discontent. Be that as it may, being Mr Nice Guy also has its limits.
I would rather Mahathir be as he is and continues to be effective rather than to be surrounded by patronising Cabinet members and political warlords and be an ineffective leader.
Former prime minister Najib Razak, when he was in power, was often described as gutless and portrayed as a leader that was weak and had no stand on issues.
Instead of taking the bull by the horns, he was apparently, quite content to allow the shenanigans under him to continue. Now from the outside looking in, he is rebranding himself with his “Bossku” approach which, to an extent, appears to be working in his favour.
Whispers of Mahathir being a dictator have started to make their rounds. Call it anything you like. A one-man show, one-man band or simply dictatorial, it matters not to him.
If there are other political leaders who are aligned to Pakatan Harapan but don’t like the way Mahathir is running this country, then they ought to cross over to the other side where they can openly criticise this PH government.
No matter how you look at it, the PM has a job to do.
And Mahathir is getting on with it, like it or not.
Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.