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Season of quotes

Mahathir dreaming
Mahathir's views are obsolete and frozen in a bygone era of Old Politics

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Mahathir once wrote that “only the most capable and experienced should be made Ministers and be in the Cabinet”. Tota asks him what he thinks of the present Cabinet line-up.

In their utter desperation to retain political power, the Umno–dominated BN is resorting, as always, to all kinds of unfair, indeed dirty tactics to demonise Pakatan Rakyat and its leaders.

The mainstream print and electronic media is littered with quotes from opposition leaders with the aim of poisoning the rakyat’s minds.

Below is an excerpt from Mahathir’s The Malay Dilemma which amply reveals the Machiavellian character of the writer:

It is obvious that only the most capable and experienced should be made Ministers and be in the Cabinet. But independent Malaya chose to treat membership of the cabinet as a reward for loyalty to party chiefs and acceptability to the Prime Minister. Once appointed, no amount of dereliction of duty could affect the position of a Minister. On the other hand, even if the Minister performed well, failure to remain on good terms with the Prime Minister meant removal from the Ministry.

The result was that mediocre men were left to run the country. The capable ones never got into the government and even if they did, they did not stay long. As Cabinet after Cabinet was formed and the same pattern continued, the whole nation gave up hope that the government would ever be made up of the truly able. The people became cynical and respect for the Ministers was minimal. This feeling did not merely pervade those who were opposed to the government, but also those who supported the government.

As can be expected, these governments of mediocre people were bereft of ideas, were unable to understand the limits of their authority, and were generally unable to rule. A formula generally used to counter criticism was to appoint commissions to study and report. The work of these commissions, usually composed of able public figures, normally took time. This gave the government breathing space. When finally the reports were made, the Cabinet found difficulty to study each report. A new committee would be appointed to study each report. More time was consumed. When finally the Cabinet made a decision on the report, whole chapters were rejected and the implementation of what was left was put off indefinitely. In effect, the work of the commissions was a futile exercise and a waste of public money and time. The government carried on very much as if no commission was appointed at all.

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All the while, however, the government was busy on devices to perpetuate itself. These devices were so transparent and so lacking in subtlety that they achieved just the opposite effect. Everyone except the government saw this. Thus, long after the rural development schemes had lost their impact, the government still carried on building mosques and community halls, not because these facilities were thought necessary, but in the mistaken belief that it would favourably influence the voting at the next election. As was to be expected, as an election approached, the grants for these rural development schemes increased. Until just before and during election, the Ministers were kept busy handing out cheques. The recipients of this largesse made a great show of gratitude, but it was apparent to those who cared to observe that their sympathy was not automatically with the government. But the most damaging things about these handouts was the discrimination in favour of known party supporters or party strongholds. This blatant partiality evoked the most bitter resentment against the Government and ensured that those opposed to the government remained permanently so. On the other hand, as the government could not possibly meet all the requests of party supporters, there was an ever increasing disillusionment with the party and more defections. (From “The Malay Dilemma”, Federal Publications 1970, Pages 11-13)

When Mahathir became Prime Minister, he filled his Cabinet, as perceived by many, with cronies, boot-lickers and psychopaths. For example, Rais Yatim, a turncoat from Semangat 46, was appointed Minister of Law. He represented Malaysia at the ICJ over our own claim to Batu Puteh. Singapore got the island and Malaysia got a few rocks!

Mahathir, did you say only the “capable” and “experienced” should become ministers? Look at the Mentris Besar you appointed – Rahim Tamby Chik; alleged to have committed … well, you know … ; Toyo, a corrupt fellow; Ghani implicated in the gold coin scandal; Mohammad Taib, an ex-MB and currency smuggler.

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Since 1983, about 100 financial scandals have been exposed – three Bank Bumi scandals cost the country RM2.5bn, Scorpene submarines bought at inflated price of RM6.7bn with Baginda-linked entities allegedly receiving RM570m in commission; RM10bn lost in the MAS-Tajuddin scandal; Bank Negara allegedly lost RM33bn in its forex caper; the Mahathir administration squandered RM500m of EPF money at the London Metal Exchange; PKFZ could lose up to RM12.5bn, etc etc.

Mahathir used millions from public coffers to allegedly rescue his son’s business failure. In the Umno elections, Mukhriz received a good kick in the Umno Youth elections – he came out third behind Khairy and Toyo. In his interview with theSun (25 March 2013), Tengku Adnan said of Mahathir, “We still need some guidance and he is giving a lot of his thoughts”. Now we know how Mukhriz became a deputy minister and why Khairy is languishing as a henchman fit only for barking and organising demonstrations! I can predict one more advice he will give Najib. If Barisan wins back Kedah, Mukhriz will become MB – and Mahathirism will be resurrected.

Mahathir, you were Tunku’s greatest critic. It is obvious to one and all that you are unfit to lick his boots!

Many believe that Najib is a lame duck PM, whose baggage allegedly includes the murder of Altantunya, the Scorpene scandal, the theft of jet engines, the corruption scandals, the failure of the government to safeguard the Sabah coastline resulting in the unnecessary loss of policemen’s lives etc etc.

Many believe too that Mahathir is running the country. Najib is faithfully and fearfully following his mentor’s advice. One look at the composition of his Cabinet will convince anyone about that:

  • Muhyiddin – MB of Johore for 10 years. Thought to be one of the richest men in Umno. Openly sabotaged Najib’s 1Malaysia.
  • Nazri – Our de facto Law Minister. Ambiga taught him some law regarding the Witness Protection Act. Said that the separation of powers among the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary is a luxury Malaysia cannot afford.
  • Rais Yatim – A Semangat 46 turncoat. Once very critical of ISA but as Minister under Mahathir supported the draconian law
  • Zahid Hamidi – An ex-ISA detainee. Defence Minister who failed to safeguard Sabah. Now playing the race, religion and rajah card to rise in Umno.
  • Koh Tsu Koon – Defeated, disgraced and discarded ex-CM of Penang. Went through the back door into the Cabinet.
  • Shahrizat – Defeated, disgraced and discarded on 8 March 2008. Went into the Cabinet through the back door. Tough-talking politician who self-destructed
  • Hishammuddin – Keris-kisser who often plays the race card. Over the legality of Bersih 3.0, the court condemned him as “irrational”. He said that Jawi had the right to confiscate the book “Allah, Liberty and Love” but the High Court has put Jawi in its place.
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If you look beyond the Cabinet, you see many cronies and boot-lickers holding positions in state governments and quasi government bodies.

  • Ghani Othman – Continues as MB for Johore
  • Ali Rustam – Barred as a candidate in Umno elections but continues as CM in Malacca. Said that Umno does not need non-Malay support to remain in power. Now Najib is asking for forgiveness and begging the Chinese and Indians to give BN one more chance!
  • Syed Hamid – A hopeless Home Minister. Now chairman of Spad, but public transport is in a mess.
  • Mohd Isa – Lost his post as MB of Negeri Sembilan; suspended for six years from Umno because of money politics. Suspension lifted and permitted to stand for elections. Now enjoying a sinecure as chairman of Felda Holdings.
  • Rahim Tamby Chik – alleged to have committed … well, you know…. Now, chairman of Risda.
  • Chua Soi Lek – adulterous porn star; now chairman of Penang Port Commission
  • Jamaluddin Jarjis – a GRO accused him of groping her at the Havana Club. Later (for obvious reasons?) she withdrew her police report. Now ambassador to US!

Mahathir, what have you to say about Najib’s Cabinet and the way he is running amok with taxpayers’ money distributing goodies and freebies to get votes?

Tota is the pseudonym of an occasional contributor to Thinking Allowed Online.

Originally published on aliran.com on 3 April 2013.

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
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  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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