Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Cantankerous Ex-PM

Tun Dr Mahathir will go down the corridors of history, not for being the longest-serving Prime Minister of Malaysia, but as the sole leader in the planet who handpicked two successors and then unabashedly went on to force them to resign. His tagline is possibly, ‘I select, I establish and I destroy Prime Ministers of Malaysia’. Has this man no sense of shame?

Malaysians are a funny lot. Many jump at TDM’s current pet peeve i.e. toppling PM Najib as evidence that our PM is weak without realizing how the scriptwriter is the one who should cower in shame for failing to stick to his personal decisions. 

Wavering like the British weather, TDM’s whims and fancies are typical of a cantankerous old man in the prime of his sunset years.

Riding on the glory of his perceived achievements, TDM is proud that he has persistently backtracked in his judgement of his successors.

At a recent public forum titled ‘The Malaysian Dilemma’, TDM said, “If the public think you are not performing and start criticizing you, please make things easy for the country. Nobody pushed me out when I resigned, just thought 22 years was too long.”

For a man of his stature, it is baffling how he can on one hand trumpet about his fault that he chose poor successors, and then on the other hand admit “that he never thought his successors would fare so badly when they assumed power”. Can he not see that such a public admission of his poor judgement also tells all and sundry that his judgement does not hold a single drop of water at all?

Hence, he should keep his opinion to himself instead of ramming it down websites and his scriptwriters and try to justify by declaring his love for Malaysia and claiming his right as a citizen to criticize when in the past, he robbed citizens and the media of the right to air dissenting views. Ops Lallang seems to be an alien event to him.

His authoritarian personality  surfaces with such self-righteous words, which fan his ego big-time. However,  he forgot the real resign why he himself resigned. He has forgotten that when he stepped down in 2003, the entire world witnessed evidence that he failed to organize development as  effectively as the peasant-born Park Chung Hee of Korea. This is because Malaysia’s GNI per capita was no longer the same as Korea’s – it was USD 4160 versus Korea’s USD 12, 680. 

Against that backdrop, he certainly does not have any license, authority, or right to preach to PM Najib or anyone for that matter. He patented the art of directionless government and if anyone should be blamed for the state of Malaysia today, all fingers and toes should point to Mahathir – the cantankerous old man who can never ever stop behaving as though he is STILL the Prime Minister of Malaysia.

Mahathir’s criticisms remind us of how no one, not even himself is infallible. Despite his perceived weaknesses, PM Najib has been a very caring and responsible PM who tries his best within his abilities to deliver his promises to the rakyat. His management style opposes that of Mahathir but that does not make him any weaker or less qualified.

Issues such as threats by extremist groups in the country have not pushed the PM to be more aggressive because it is not his nature to be so. He is more concerned with growth that matters and economic and financial achievements in the last quarter of 2014 have been largely ignored and unacknowledged. Hence, the myth that the PM is weak is untrue. It is just that he is more concerned with the long-term haul rather than hankering for public validation via populist statements or policies.

With no understanding of the PM’s mind, Mahathir and other spin-masters continue to weave of web of deceit regarding our PM, and with complete disregard to his achievements.

The record shows that economic and financial developments in the last quarter of 2014 have been very favorable.

Inflation rate averaged lower at 2.8% in the fourth quarter (3Q 2014: 3.0%).

Why can’t Mahathir announce that the trade surplus was higher at RM21.5 billion (3Q 2014: RM16.8 billion)?

Mahathir has also chosen to remain silent regarding the international reserves of BNM amounted to RM405.5 billion (equivalent to USD116.0 billion) as at 31 December 2014.

Total gross financing raised by the private sector through the banking system and the capital market amounted to RM309.8 billion (3Q 2014: RM302.1)

On a net basis, outstanding banking system loans and PDS expanded by 8.8% as at end-December (end-September 2014: 8.9%).

Regardless of what Mahathir may say, the Malaysian economy is expected to remain on a steady growth path. The gradual recovery in global growth will lend support to manufactured export performance, although overall export growth would likely remain modest amid lower commodity prices.

Clearly, things are not as complicated as seen through Mahathir’s myopic eyes.

After all, he is but a cantankerous man who is accustomed to attention, much of which he lost when he stepped down.

As it stands, Mahathir must realize that he no longer has the powerful influence over people such as what he enjoyed before.

Being cantankerous is one thing, being a nosey parker and wet blanket is another.

Mahathir and spin-doctors must stop their assault on the PM and his cabinet. Malaysians must take cognizance of how Mahathir and his band of writers, together with writers from opposition portals, have been in overdrive and synchrony in their daily rituals to run-down the PM.

Mahathir must realize curtain call for him came almost twenty years ago and he should just let go, and let Najib do what is best for the country. Every leader has his/her own leadership style. Mahathir should remember that he has this habit of dropping his deputy prime ministers including Tun Musa Hitam (July 18, 1981 to March 16, 1986), Tun Abdul Ghafar Baba (May 10, 1986 to October 15, 1993), Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (December 1, 1993 to September 2, 1998), Tun Abdullah Badawi (January 8, 1999 to October 31, 2003) and now that he is no longer the Prime Minister, he expects the nation to drop our Prime Minister. Is that the ultimate faux pas, Mahathir? After all, you did say Najib is your choice of successor.

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