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'My opinion is a public opinion' - Sadirah K
By Mind Prober
16/9/2000 11:08 pm Sat
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"My Opninion is a Public Opinion" by Sadirah K
"I do not really mind what they think of me. What I consider
important is whether I have served them well or not. Even if
they do not acknowledge, it does not matter because by the
time you retire... eventually you will die. What difference
does it make what people think of you?" So says Mahathir in
his interview last month in Putrajaya with TVBS Asia's
anchor-women Grace Chen.
The interview reveals some dangerous thinking emanating
from the mind of the man who leads Malaysia.
The man is confessing that he regards as more important
his own evaluation of his contribution. The views of others
pale into insignificance.
Mahathir is not concerned about public opinion. This utter
disregard is going to cost his colleagues dearly at the next
general elections. He can meanwhile enjoy his un-elected
term as the President of UMNO. By the next general
elections, hopefully, Mahathir will be doomed to the garbage
of history. Otherwise, Barisan Nasional (BN) will pay a heavy
price for his arrogance.
`Malaysia Boleh' would have helped us achieve our own
equivalent to compare with Marcos and Suharto. Everyone
retires at some point and eventually dies (thank God!). This
does not mean that one has to be insensitive to change,
growth and alternative viewpoints. An individual with a
closed mind who believes only in himself can only coexist
with cronies. He becomes blind to himself and dangerous to
If one is open only to praise, adoration and the good that
people say while being arrogant enough to trust one's
judgments only then this raises questions regarding mental
Is Mahathir selfish enough not to recognize the burden of
guilt his family and close associates will carry when his days
In extreme cases such mentalities are referred to as
megalomaniacs. Such individuals have a passion for
appearing important and exhibiting conceit. People in power
for too long become susceptible to such deviations. We en-
courage their development by denying opportunities for
alternative viewpoints to see the light of day. The elites
within our society are most responsible for the creation of
such demagogues. They realize and understand but do
nothing. They become more subservient in the process.
I wonder what ex-President Suharto now thinks of all the
charges of corruption brought against him. The amounts
involved run into billions. He had his days but was incompe-
tent to lift the Indonesian nation to the stature befitting its
people and history.
Today Suharto has no alternative. He has to take into
account what others think about him and his family. After
decades in power he will be referred to in the same breadth as
Marcos of the Philippines. So long as they are in power and
control the apparatus of governance they are able to protect
their image and exert control. Their ultimate fall from grace is
often disgraceful and painful.
Nationally, Mahathir has already suffered immense
credibility loss. The various police reports filed against him
raise critical ethical issues. The sad aspect is that many more
will condemn him once he is out of power.
One just has to consider the Marcos family and realise the
credibility loss generations carry due to the folly of one man.
Globally the international press has condemned the trial of
Anwar Ibrahim. The trial has raised more questions than the
guilt of the accused. In fact the Malaysian judiciary stands
condemned on the bar of justice and fairness.
Our foreign minister when interviewed by CNN says that
the accused had the best defence lawyers. The due process of
the law took its course. He insults his legal training by
rationalizing thus when so many around the world have
condemned the trial, the process and the decision. That we
have to suffer this exhibition of stupidity by some of our
ministers over the, international media does discredit to the
Whatever Mahathir may say he cannot camouflage the deep
hurt arising from his loss of stature nationally and
internationally. It is a big fall in fact a leap into oblivion. He
has brought this onto himself by his own arrogance.
One can take a white cloth and put a black dot on it. Most
people will focus on the black dot to the exclusion of the
entire white cloth. .In the way he has handled the `Anwar
Ibrahim crisis' Mahathir has revealed his weaknesses and
love for power. Even corporate struggles do not end this way.
This political struggle has discredited critical institutions of
governance - and Mahathir.
He has also revealed how far he is ready to go to retain
power. Historians and people will only see the black dot for
this has shown the dark side of the man's character. All those
with him who have silently acquiesced his actions are similarly
guilty by association. You can be the son of the late Tun
Razak, Tun Hussein Onn or Syed Jaafar Albar but that does
not add any stature to their individual character. They have
stood silently or exhibited their crony mentality amidst fla-
grant misuse of power and authority. Men who are trained but
whose education has been found wanting as they are unable to
discern right from wrong.
When politicians are weak they look for issues to
champion. In doing so they further discredit themselves.
The demands made by Suqiu (the Malaysian Chinese
Organisations' Election Appeals) were done in time for the
last General Elections. Suddenly last month this has become
an issue of national concern. Many of their demands were
similar to those contained in the Election Manifesto of the
Barisan Alternative. This is what has angered Mahathir.
What does he hope to achieve by associating Suqiu with
Communists in the past? Perhaps Mahathir should explain his
embrace of Fidel Castro during his recent visit to the United
States. Does this make him more of a Communist when
compared with Suqui? This act only discredited Fidel Prini
No other free world leader would gain by welcoming
Mahathir at this time without damaging their credibility.
Prior to 1998 the roads of Kuala Lumpur were often filled
with flags of foreign nations. We were welcoming leaders on
official state visits. This is now a rare occasion and
illustrates the fall in stature of our great leader!
Mahathir says, "Cultivating hatred towards others as a
means of securing support for oneself is like playing with
fire. When small, a fire can be a companion, but. once big
it'll be an enemy. A big fire will engulf us all." It is
Mahathir who is playing with fire and it is sad that he
used the Independence Day occasion to exhibit his bankruptcy.
David Chua is none other than the Vice Chairman of the
NEAC. Perhaps to Dr Mahathir he is now an extremist.
Anwar became one as soon as he was dismissed. The man
went from being the Deputy Prime Minister to being a
national security threat within a matter of weeks.
It is a paradox that such issues could not have been
discussed within closed doors. After all this is the strategy
adopted by the NEAC. In fact what stands out is the ethnic
virility of the component parties of the Barisan Nasional.
They do not consult neither do they discuss policies nor
formulate strategies on a consultative basis. They have been
in essence ethnic parties strung together based on self interest
exhibiting a thin vaneer of unity.
The slightest issue and they are at each other's throats.
MCA, UMNO and MIC hardly gathers to dialogue, discuss
and work through issues to the level of understanding. They
operate at best at the level of tolerance. The latest issue with
`Suqui' reveals this reality.
We are witnessing the limitations of ethnic based parties in
meeting the challenges of modern Malaysia. The opposition
has its limitations. However ethnicity is not their limiting
The future of a `Bangsa Malaysia' for our children and our
grandchildren lies in this arena. Let us therefore not be
trapped by Mahathir's insecurity, UMNO's dwindling power
base and ethnic politics to take this nation backwards.
Mahathir is not cultured in this reality. He is also blind to
alternative options. The elites who love this country beyond
personalities and ethnicity will have to speak out and correct
Mahathir. Those who know him intimately have to advise him
in the best interest of this nation. Retirement is his best
Public opinion has to be heard and respected. This
represents the voice of the people and not just Mahathir's
EMBRACING THE COMMUNISTS...
Does this make Mahathir more communist than Suqui? This act only discredited Fidel Castro.
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