Too late to be statesman, Dr M — The Malaysian Insider
FEB 24 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is an amazing man. A leader who took Malaysia kicking and screaming into the 21st century, turning vast agrarian spaces into the cement and chrome of industrialisation of the 20th and 21st century.
A man who is set in his ideas. The person who thumbed his nose at most parts of the world and stared down the royalty and judiciary.
But of late, the good doctor from Kedah has turned his back on some of his ideas and philosophies during his 22 years in power. The idea of Bangsa Malaysia contained in his The Way Forward speech that was the genesis of Vision 2020.
In his latest diatribe, Dr Mahathir accused PAS of falling over backwards and losing its Malay-Muslim identity to appease its Pakatan Rakyat (PR) coalition partner, DAP.
The former prime minister claimed that PAS was even willing to drop its call for an Islamic state and defend Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, whom he called “the father of DAP.”
Dr Mahathir added that instead of PAS introducing Islamic ways to DAP, as the Kelantan mentri besar had claimed, “the evidence shows that it is PAS that has been influenced by DAP.”
“Just look at the disrespectful behaviour towards the Sultan and Raja Muda of Perak by PAS members, rolling around on the road to stop his car,” he said, referring to attempts to block Datuk Seri Zambry Kadir’s swearing-in as Perak mentri besar in 2009.
He might hammer PAS members for their behaviour towards the Perak palace but wasn't Dr Mahathir the prime minister who went around the country twice, in 1983 and 1993, arguing that the powers and immunity of the royalty must be curbed.
Has he forgotten that on his instructions, the media and Umno politicians ridiculed royalty back in the day. Until they relented and today, we have a Special Court whose proceedings are suddenly kept away from the public eye. Dr Mahathir and Umno can play hot and cold with the royalty but others cannot.
And if they do, they are wrong, is that it?
It is understandable that Dr Mahathir continues to bat for the current Umno, which he formed from the ashes of the old Umno that was deregistered in 1988. Or renew his battle with foes like Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Lim Kit Siang, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim or even Lee Kuan Yew.
But the battle cannot be at the expense of his past philosophies or conveniently assigning blame to everyone else.
To his credit, Dr Mahathir has brought development under his watch but he has also destroyed many of our institutions. Now he seeks to lash out to protect his beloved Umno and his legacy, sparing no thought for the aspirations of generations who have come after his time.
Perhaps, it’s too late for him to be an elder statesman to guide Malaysia where Bangsa Malaysia is supreme and the government is one that is of the people, by the people and for the people. A pity.