26 April 2009

Mahathir the happiest man Part 4

Since the resignation of Musa, Mahathir was pairing fairly well with Ghaffar. Ghaffar was 3 months older than Mahathir and he (Mahathir) didn’t feel the threat as Ghaffar was lacking in many disciplines but he was unmatched when it comes to doing reconciliatory job with the component parties of Barisan Nasional.

Ghaffar had been the Secretary General to BN for decades and he could handled the coalition very well as he was highly regarded by all component parties in BN.

Ghaffar may not be the best material for the Premiership, but he was the best person to be the deputy to Mahathir as he had the wisdom from his decades in politics and had gone through all the mills of it.

I met Ghaffar at his office at Kompleks Kewangan in Wisma Batik when Kak Siti, his secretary gave me the appointment in the morning, days before he was announced as the Deputy Prime Minister.

I went to pay my tribute him as I was working for quite a while in Kompleks Kewangan in which Ghaffar was the Chairman.

I don’t intend to tell or to write what we talked about, but I was wondering who made the promise to him that Mahathir would resign in 1989 and wanting to give a former ordinary teacher (Ghaffar) to be the PM of Malaysia.

In my heart I said “I really don’t understand politics, and whoever gave him the promise must be very mean and totally an impulsive and compulsive liar”. Even though I was just a young boy of 34 I knew it was not going to happen.

In his jest he said, “Saya dengar awak selalu bergaduh dengan Dato’ Mansor dalam mesyuarat jawatan kuasa bahagian, betul ke?” I just gave him short answer, “Betul, tapi saya selalu juga sokong dia; bergantung pada isulah Pak Ghaffar! Mesyuarat macam tulah!”
Anyway I just congratulated him in advance and I saw him smiling which was hard to get from Pak Ghaffar. For a young boy like me then, I had to hard-earned a smile from this veteran leader.

Mahathir and Ghaffar were having better chemistry and like many others, I saluted Ghaffar for being a superb campaigner for the BN in the 1986 General Election when PAS had only won 2 seats against UMNO and this was the best performance of BN.

Having strong presence in Parliament did not mean good for the BN either as the BN especially UMNO representatives in the house were not united. UMNO did not have strong opposition and they became complacent and started intra-politicking among themselves.

As it was, many of the members of Parliament were dejected Musa’s men and so did the cabinet and the Deputy Ministers. Among the staunch supporters of Musa was Abdullah Badawi who was then the Minister of Defense.

Meanwhile Mahathir was acting as he wished and clearly one could witness personal wealth building among politicians in the government was setting in and building up speedily.

From then on Mahathir set in the culture of speedy and express project with direct negotiation and worst of it all many of those projects were not planned and placed it within the Five Year Plan.

Nobody knew about KLIA was to be built as it was not in the 6th Malaysia plan, and we only knew of the project through the mid-term review of the Five Year Plan.

This was when professionalism started to die and even consultants made up with unethical mode of workings. All were just talking about dollars and cents and ignored ethics and norms of managing a developing nation. Professionalism was fast dying in oblivion until today.

The implementers were ripped off from their responsibilities and politicians made decisions on all matters and it has become a negative culture practiced until today.

It is already a culture for any businessman to ask question “Ada line dengan Menteri itu dan Menteri ini tak? I ada project ni, allocation untuk diorang dah ada!”, and we can hear this question everyday and everywhere.

Implementation and Co-ordination Unit (ICU) as well as Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in Prime Minister’s Department was polluted and do not function like it was before. To many, they say that EPU is being made used by leaders with power for benefiting few.

These 2 departments are focusing too much less on development of public at large but only to few individuals and the GLCs.

Since Mahathir's administration till now, we see Malays are compelled to compete with the non-Malays as well as with all Public Companies by Guarantee, now known as GLCs.

While admitting the reasonable successes of most of the GLCs, it is a miserable failure if we look on the premise of its existence i.e. to hold on behalf of and transferring them to Malays and Bumiputra at large.

Mahathir didn’t look at this particular angle; i.e to transfer the equity to the ordinary Bumiputra Public and not through listings whereby the spirit of DEB cannot be realized to the fullest.

To me and to those who agree, the only success of these GLCs is to boost up the ego of a few individuals who became the CEOs and the Directors of these companies.

What they care is just to show the consolidated accounts of companies they are appointed to head but seldom do they show how they play the role in helping the ordinary Bumiputras, the basic conscientiousness as to why these companies were in existence.

These feelings of aggravations were becoming clearer and it was also felt by many in the cabinet. By the time the following General Assembly came by, UMNO was already set to see changes and in 1987 we saw the greatest fight in UMNO’s history when the President post was to be contested.

4 to 5 months before the General Assembly the mood of change was strongly felt everywhere and by November 1986 everyone said that the contest for the no 1 post was already imminent, and there was nothing wrong with that as the constitution allowed for any member to contest any position in the party.

Mahathir knew that someone will contest against him and his reaction to the mood of change really reflected his real him. He looked cooled but his words of response showed clear enough a message that it was time for him to go in order not to break the party.

When asked by the media for his comment, he answered, “I shall fight on, even if I win by one vote, it is still a win”.

The pressure became more intense, UMNO Divisions started nominating and TR and Musa as President and Deputy President respectively.

I attended the first campaign in Seremban when Najib (current PM) was campaigning by saying that Mahathir failed to behave like a father to us UMNO members and therefore there is a need for change.

Najib was all the way with TR/Musa, and when he switched camp 2 days before the General Assembly. Many were disappointed and many knew he had a lot of problems to follow through if he were to remain in the team B as they were called.

Campaign was intense and Mahathir was already very panicky as more than half of the cabinet members were already behind TR/Musa including of course our ‘great’ Abdullah Badawi.

He (Abdullah Badawi) called me quite a number of times to his house, then in Medang Kapas, and to his office in Mindef and asking me and many others to help around in the campaign.

Meanwhile Mahathir was asked again by the media what he would do as the chances of him losing was great, and his answer was, “Even if I loose, I still have parliament to turn to as I am still having the support of Parliament.”.
Everyone knew that answer was right but that was entirely the reverse of his promise when he took over from his predecessor Hussein Onn in 1981, during the summing up speech of the General Assembly.

He said, “Seandainya ada tanda-tanda rakyat tidak menyukai saya, berilah tahu dan saya akan berundur secara terhormat”, and together with other delegates in the Nirwana Ballroom responded to this with the greatest applause. But one of our fellow delegates, the late Raja Dato’ Nong Chik whispered to few of us, “Please don’t believe this man (Mahathir), he is going to get stuck to the chair by the decades".
Mahathir took the challenges by the ‘Team B’ as an unpardonable offence. To him he shouldn’t be contested and the provision that the constitution provided did no good to him. Mahathir did not see that as a part of democracy and he hated it as he was and still is far from a gentleman.

To him the challenge was personal in nature and had nothing to do with intentions of saving the party from going to the dock like what we are facing today. He thought everybody was like him.

All along the campaign, the 2 living ex-Premier, Tunku and Hussein Onn were all out for the team B as they believed Mahathir was going to bring UMNO to catastrophe. Hussein in one of his lines of words said, “Sesalan saya besar kerana mengambil Mahathir sebagai pengganti saya”.

Tunku Abdul Rahman campaigned hard albeit, his old aged but I couldn’t remember what he said as I have forgotten totally as to the content of his supporting speeches.

The support of these 2 ex-PM were very close to perfect reasoning as to why Mahathir should be replaced then and chances of us making a wrong decision in challenging the President post was very remote.

By the time the General Assembly came by, Mahathir took up the nominations to maintain himself as the President and Ghaffar Baba as the Deputy in his team. On the other side, TR singed up to challenge the Presidency while Musa signed up to maintain his Deputy President post.

Mahathir won the contest by a very slim majority of 43, while Musa failed to maintain the no 2 seat by majority of 40 to Ghaffar Baba.

The heightening adversities in UMNO did not end there as the complications were so mountable and UMNO looked like it is going to end.

While TR had resigned a day before the contest, the rest of team B leaders who won the seats in the Supreme Council did not resign from their government posts and I shall write on it in my next posting.

Thanks…………………………………………………………..Aspan Alias


Anonymous said...

Interesting and good history. I know more now and waiting for the next posting Mr Aspan.

Disillusioned said...

This history is good if only one is prepared to learn that the consequent of dirty politics by leaders can cost us a nation.

Anonymous said...

Bro, saya nampak sikit-sikit macam mana boleh jadi teruk macam hari ini.
Rupa-rupanya Mahathir tidak menyediakan pemimpin pelapis yang baik, kerana kalau dia cari pelapis yang baik nanti dia pulak kena guling, sedangkan dia nak memimpin lama-lama.
Akhir ginilah jadinya...kekosongan kepimpinan yang baik.

Anonymous said...

Can you elaborate on bailout on Mirzan company by MISC which cost us billion of dollars?
Why didnt Mahathir talk about his son's misadventure and used shareholders of MISC and Public fund to bail him out?
Mahathir should kee[ his smelly mouth shut..dont you agree with me bro.

Muhammad Firdaus Christopher said...

Salam brother Aspan,

It was a pleasure to meet you last week & believe that you have been enlightened indeed. We should have another session with our "sifu" anytime soon.

By the way, was worried that you decided to stop with the series of excellent articles but was glad to see you finally posted the 4th installment.

Again, as advised..keep up the lovely work but always watch your back.

May Allah continue to bless and keep you safe,

Muhammad Firdaus Christopher

zulkefli said...

Unfortunetly, TDM still won and resign with honour.

He is the Machiavelli follower and what ever you say i dont think that TDM will care about that.

Non Malaysian at the moment can challenge how great Mahathir in politic and the his objective to survive.

That is real politic.

Anonymous said...

People who are in the know, like Sdr Aspan should be writing more to tell the younger generation. Its very enlightening to know now because there had been too many sendiwaras, and Tun Mahathir doesn't seem to be exempted from this. All leaders so far used the same language about caring people they represent first but not without silat behind. I think worse to come, pretty sure our new PM has plenty to exaplin before he can finally accepted by one quater of Malaysia population.

Anonymous said...

Bro, Mahathir is real smart but he used his smartness to deceive all of us.
His survival is all at the expense of the nation, and he has no qualm about that.
He survived but the nation is damaged.

Anonymous said...

I suggest the government build a statue for Dr M for his endless effort to renounce good and civil politics of the nation.
The site can be a good center of tourism industry in the future.

Unknown said...

sesalan saya kerana tidak pernah berusaha pergi melihat PM pertama Tunku Abd Rahman sebab Mahathir telah melabelkan Tunku orang tua yang nyanyuk.

Aspan Alias said...

Sdr Alias Mohd Yusof,
The Tunku had never been senile. His thinking was very clear until his death and never ever lost his vision for the country he founded together with other founders of our nation.
He lived in an old semi brick house in Kenny Hill in solace minus the wealth and glamour that Mahathir is having now.
In his retirement life he did not travel on Global Express, and he remained simple until his death despite of him being the most senior royal member of the country then.
The Tunku's life was from rich to simple, while our great Mahathir is on the reverse.

Chithraguptha said...

Dear Citizen,
Pse don`t talk bad about Moneythir.He made every Tom,Dick and Harries in the world where Malisia is.He prays 5 times aday and he is living on his monthly pension only.As far l know I and knew he is a true MUSLIM no hanky panky,no corruption and no money politic at all.Just look at his innocent face smiling always.He have no money in oversea,properties or what so ever if i`m not mistaken he took a government loan to buy a house in Kepala Batas AS Kedah.Hidup Mahithir see you in HELL(NERAKA) during HAPPY HOURS we will talk about you sons later....Assallammulaikum

Anonymous said...

To keep Mahathir's mouth quiet just give evrything he wants. Or else he will bash you. He does not care about moral, just follow him.
Tun Hanif told him that Anwar was involved in sodomy in 1992, and he didn't care about it.
When he saw that Anwar was trying to fight him he used the sodomy issue to throw Anwar out.
He threw out Anwar not because of sodomy but he did it because Anwar was eyeing to go for presincy of umno...thats it.

Anonymous said...

Mahathir a superb manipulator!
Malaysians listen to his lies.
People support him just to get his cheats.
He laughs at evryone as he knows he could manipulate them
The longer he interferes in UMNO the more UMNO suffers.

Unknown said...

Can't wait for your next chapter...hopefully you'll include how Mahathir and cronies conveniently cornered & ousted Ghaffar in the 1993 battle. I can fill in for you in case you forgot some of the events.