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Did Mahathir mess up Malaysia?

We may have abundant natural resources and oil wealth, but if we lack capable political leadership with integrity, the nation will inevitably fail

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When the going gets really tough, we have to ask some tough questions.

Did Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who twice served as Prime Minister – from July 1981 to October 2003 and from May 2018 to March 2020 and at 96, perhaps still hopeful of landing the top job again – really mess up this country?

We are now in the throes of political uncertainty and struggling with health and economic crises. How did a onetime ‘Asian tiger’ end up like this?

Was Mahathir the cause of the many serious ills that plague this nation today?

Mahathir anointed his successors but then played a role or influenced their elimination: think of Musa Hitam, Ghafar Baba, Anwar Ibrahim, Abdullah Badawi and Najib Razak. Today, as Mahiaddin Yassin goes through his end game, Mahathir is still tinkering around.

Well, Mahathir was not wrong in seeking their ouster part of the time. Think of 1MDB and the failures of the present unelected government.

But how did we end up with prime ministers only to find they were not of leadership quality?

Why did Mahathir force out promising candidates such as Musa Hitam and Anwar Ibrahim?

The man who chiselled Vision 2020 for Malaysia, a dream blueprint, today leaves us with crumpled promises.

Mahathir built an edifice that is now near economic collapse, social disintegration and political chaos.

Yes, we ‘developed’ resplendent mega-structures, an entire administrative capital and glittering palaces.

Yes, under his watch, we joined the ranks of the ‘Asian tigers’ (but was that growth trajectory sustainable?).

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Yes, he helped us overcome the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s.

But he eliminated sound leadership from our political landscape – and had a hand in putting in place questionable figures in leadership positions.

He did not root out the cancerous corruption spreading its tentacles in our society.

How do we undo the mistakes of this one man? How do we keep building on some of the good he brought for us?

Are we any better off from the time the first prime minister stepped down in 1970 or are we worse off today?

We can have all the abundant natural resources and oil wealth, but if we do not have a track record of capable political leadership with integrity and a sound political roadmap, the nation will inevitably fail.

Today, as the economy reels from the pandemic, it has exposed a deeply wounded society and a badly managed battle plan against the pandemic. We know this is mainly due to a lack of sound, capable leadership.

So, is Mahathir the reason for our failures?

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
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  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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Pat Adam
Pat Adam
6 Sep 2021 10.29pm

LHDN is not doing their Job properly . There is no honour among these thieves.

16 Aug 2021 7.03pm

As a parallel to India’s Indera Ghandi, if Tungku is the Bapa of Malaysia, theoretically Mahatir is the Mother. Indera fall due to building her own dynasty, and so is Dr M, both considered to fail the Test of Selflessness to hold their position at center court. Conflicts of interest to serve God on the one hand and the Demons of ARacisism, Greed, Pride on the other makes him a war unto his own self.
The next PM has another trajectory as our Oil and financial reserves a re all used up.

Rakyat Malaysia
Rakyat Malaysia
15 Aug 2021 6.23pm

Mahathir has sucessfully destroyed BN government & PH government. To fix this mess, it will not take 1 month or year. It may take 1 to 2 generations.

Last edited 2 years ago by Rakyat Malaysia
15 Aug 2021 12.39pm

Alternative question: is this really an article? (Yawn)

Khoo Soo Hay
Khoo Soo Hay
15 Aug 2021 5.50am

The [man] who hijacked the Malay Agenda. Can we trust him?

14 Aug 2021 7.24am

Mahathir is… selfish and arrogant … uses race and religious politics to gain popularity amongs the Malay voters but at the expenses of the country future. And at 95 years old, the same selfish billionaire is still fighting tooth and nails get his son to continue the Mahathir legancy.

Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
13 Aug 2021 5.12pm

No justice, no stability. A system built on imported colonial origin notions of “race” and racial domination and racial supremacy (instead of nation-building, affirmative action based on class i.e. eliminating poverty from all ethnic groups, and building a Welfare State for All) is inherently unstable, with able but disgruntled citizens leaving in droves.

Khoo Soo Hay
Khoo Soo Hay
13 Aug 2021 7.30am

I have said this before. He was the [one] who hijacked the Malay agenda.

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