Mahathir – arrogant until the bitter end

Mariam Mokhtar | February 1, 2013
Mahathir must be fearing the worst. He has never visualised any party other than Umno in Putrajaya.

If one could smell fear, then those around former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, his family, BN politicians and their cronies, would need strong stomachs to deal with the overpowering stench.
When a person is running scared, he turns on his attackers or finds another person to take the rap. Mahathir has done both.
As we enter the final stages of the run-up to GE-13, Mahathir has lost none of his sarcasm. Only the most loyal of his sycophants will still receive him as warmly as before. He has become an outcast of 97% of the population.
In the preceding months, Mahathir has remained cocksure and taken pot shots at the opposition. He did not believe that the opposition could deliver their promises; nor would he accept that BN has neglected the rakyat, for the last 56 years.
You would expect a former PM to have some respect for the rakyat; but Mahathir derided them when he said that they could not appreciate political debates because of their immaturity and that they were too emotional to rationalise.
He said, “This is not America, but even in the US, debates only serve to expose how stupid the candidates are.” Might this explain the preponderance of Umno candidates’ refusal to debate their opposition counterparts?
Mahathir’s rhetoric is an indication of his internal fears. In the previous weeks he has shown his trademark arrogance and egotism. The sudden adoption of a defensive position shows an agitated mind.
His remarks about the opposition are revealing, “They will take action against people who were not friendly, or they think were not friendly to them,” and he voiced his fears about being arrested by the incumbent government.
This climb-down is unprecedented. Mahathir has never adopted this tone before and to talk about being arrested is unheard of. Mahathir’s lack of confidence is telling. This is again shown by his tacit mention of a “Pakatan-controlled Federal government”.
Mahathir must be fearing the worst. He has never visualised any party other than Umno in Putrajaya.
Perhaps, the other damning insight into Mahathir’s state of mind is his attempt to shift attention from himself to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
Mahathir’s admission that he engineered the foreign invasion of Sabah by the back door, his foolish attempt to sully the name of the Father of Independence, Tunku Abdul Rahman, followed by his effort to implicate his former deputy, Anwar Ibrahim, does not endear him to the public.
Divide and rule
The rakyat sees that billions of ringgit have been squandered on defence weaponry, when the real enemy was the prime minister.
So, what does a coward do when he is cornered? Mahathir who had underestimated the anger of the rakyat, believing that they still “adored” him, had attempted to deflect criticism and draw attention away from him, by focusing on Najib.
He urged Umno to cast Najib aside if BN were to perform badly in GE-13. Somehow, he forgot that it is the rakyat who decides, and not Umno members.
He criticised the former PM Abdullah Ahmad Badawi for leaving a weak government for Najib and refused to accept that successive BN governments have been corrupt and weak.
Instead of building on the strong foundations and a united people at the time of Independence, Mahathir preyed on each race’s specific weaknesses, to undermine them further. He perpetuated the British concept of Divide and Rule, to keep the natives in check. We swopped British imperialism for Mahathirism.
Mahathir’s contempt for us is shown when he sniggered at the thought of his possible arrest by the opposition should they win Putrajaya. “Without the ISA, I feel more comfortable”.
He disregarded the suffering he inflicted on his critics and political opponents, when the liberal use of the ISA and Operation Lalang traumatised thousands of people. People suffered physical and mental health problems. Families were broken-up and left destitute.
People like S Ambiga and Maria Chin Abdullah always kept toothbrushes in their handbags, because they knew that they could be detained whenever they left their houses. Mahathir now knows what it feels like to be hunted.
Finally, Mahathir let the cat out of the bag when he suggested that Najib should step down and allow his deputy, Muhyiddin Yassin, to take charge, if BN were to win by a slim margin. He has always feared that his legacy would be forgotten and his political dynasty halted.
How ironical that Mahathir tried to obliterate all traces of British rule including the language, names of roads and towns, only to find that in 2013, Malaysians are desperate to obliterate all traces of him, his cronyism and his corruption.
Earlier this month, Najib was foolish to visit Gaza when his own backyard is like a tinderbox. His diplomatic gaffe put him in the spotlight and the American media has now turned their attention on him and perhaps, alerted the Americans to the wider troubles Malaysia faces.
It is the publicity and recognition that many of us have been waiting for. Najib was daft to fish for Muslim votes that way and Anifah Aman, the foreign minister should be congratulated for being a weak sycophant and not insisting upon adherence to diplomatic protocol and pleasantries.
Najib could take the fast-track to redemption with the rakyat and be guaranteed a place in Malaysian history as a Super-Hero.
He should steal a march on Pakatan and arrest Mahathir, before Pakatan gets that honour.
Mahathir must be resigned to his arrest for crimes against the Malaysian people. Like most criminals, he will find great relief when the chase is over.
Mariam Mokhtar is a FMT columnist.

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