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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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Scanned dan OCR from Harakah 16-30 September 2000.

"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 the nation.

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 stability.

Is Mahathir selfish enough not to recognize the burden of guilt his family and close associates will carry when his days are over?

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 nation.

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 Castro.

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.

Mahathir is not interested in the merits of the issues raised by Suqiu. He and his cronies are manipulating antiquated racial politics of divide and rule to woo Malay support. Per- haps this describes the BN's notion of national unity.

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 factor.

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 option.

Public opinion has to be heard and respected. This represents the voice of the people and not just Mahathir's views.

See the picture below:


Does this make Mahathir more communist than Suqui? This act only discredited Fidel Castro.

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