This will be my final part of ‘Mahathir the happiest man’. I chose this as a topic for a very simple reason: Mahathir has fascinating political existence and has always got what he wants until today.
He succeeded exceedingly in fulfilling his quench to be the longest reigning Prime Minister of Malaysia and he served the nation for 22 years, his personal success which will never be a broken record at least for the next 1 or 2 centuries.
His name is on the same and similar line with the longest serving leaders of the world in history.
Among others are Nicolae Ceausescu of Romania, Josip Broz Tito of Yugoslavia, Haile Salassie (pictured) the last Emperor of Ethopia, Fidel Castro of Cuba, Ferdinand Marcos of Phillipines, Suharto of Indonesia and many others which I am not able to list down.
There are a number of negative consequential outcomes to the nation with long reigning leaders like what were experienced by the countries that I have just mentioned.
Romania has almost lost her existence in the global map as a nation with strong consequence as she used to be.
In 1989, Romanian became so divided and the blame went to Ceausescu for overstaying and there were too wide a vacuum in his leadership, and in the same year he died after a military court convicted him and he was shot in front of the naked eyes of the public.
Ten years after the death of President Tito in 1991, Yugoslavia was a dismantled nation geographically and the divide was very clean cut along the ethnic and religious contour.
No leader after Tito was able to contain the country as a united nation because of the vacuum was apparent because of longevity of his cling to power (1939-1980).
Haile Salassie, the self-proclaimed Emperor, who ruled Ethiopia since 1930 until he was arrested in 1974 in a military coup and died while in detention. He died in 1975 and his remains were found 1992 beneath the toilet in the Imperial Palace in Addis Ababa.
Haile Salassie too inherited a very unstable government, also was due to large vacuum in Ethiopia’s political leadership and everyone can see by oneself how Ethiopia is right now.
Indonesia went through rough times when Suharto resigned after 30 years at the helm of power with the flavor of dictatorship and it cost the nation about 15 years to recover its political stability after almost total democracy is practiced at last.
Malaysia had Mahathir who sat on the chair of Premiership for 22 years, far too long for Malaysian.
Mahathir had enjoyed first few years as the PM as he managed to erase the image of his ultra-Malay, the brand that made him well received by the Malays especially the ones in UMNO.
While trying tirelessly to get the support from the non-Malays, there were already a few of the Malay leaders who are not too comfortable with his style of management of politics.
Bear in mind that at that material time the Malays were just about to rise economically and everyone then witnessed the rise in Malay middle class and Malay participation, in the high and middle management of companies as envisaged by New Economic Policy (DEB) by his predecessors.
Mahathir was in a rush to see the nation grow and he had too little patience, to the extent of going against the well thought-of decisions made by the previous cabinet.
For instance, the cabinet before his, in which he was a member, had decided not to allow any state government or any other government agency to launch or set up Unit Trust as all focus should be concentrated on Amanah Saham Nasional in the process of distributing wealth to the Bumiputras.
The only other Manager for Unit Trust for the Bumiputra that was allowed in operation was Amanah Saham MARA Bhd which managed a number of skim called Tabung Kumpulan Modal Bumiputra (TKMB). We must remember that he was the Cabinet Committee for Yayasan Pelaburan Bumiputra.
He did not revere the Cabinet decision which he was a member and he reversed the whole decision when he became the PM.
He allowed States Government like Selangor, Johor, Sarawak, Trengganu as well as Wanita UMNO with the launching of Amanah Saham Wanita (ASNITA) and true enough all went bust and small Malay investors went kaput to total of billions of ringgit.
Mahathir did not respect the decision of the previous cabinet; just like Abdullah did not respect Mahathir’s Cabinet decision on the crooked bridge or the scenic bridge or whatever we call it.
In actuality no one leader wants to be a dictator or to rule with iron fist. Like many others, Mahathir wanted to be a democrat and to go through populist line.
By going through populist line, one has to face the fact that it won’t last long, before normally he or she has to withdraw.
Hussein Onn just did that…he announced that he did not want to preserve his position as President of the party in 1981 General Assembly in 1978 when he was contested by Suleiman Palestin.
Mahathir wanted to wield and stretch his hegemony over the Malay mind in UMNO by introducing unprecedented rules in his party. Quota system in nomination for various positions in the party which he wants to do away with now was introduced by him when he was in power.
To him he is the only one who has the right to be powerful and for that reason I, to some extent agree to the view of many that he has a hardrock migrant mentality. To him he must have the absolute power and with absolute immunity.
Mahathir did not take any pain to assess personalities of whom he was to bring in the Cabinet as his main criteria was a total support: don’t complain or give opinions which were in dissimilarity to his…in other words he just took in the yes man’.
It was his Cabinet that was lined up with half past six personalities without the feel for the people.
He had no qualms to see Malay culture and values swiftly diminishing and he did not care about all Malay institutions are breaking down.
He enjoyed seeing everyone whom he divided to rule is amusing him, hence without realizing that he was treated like an Emperor by the parasites surrounding him.
It was during his time that UMNO starts to become like an exclusive club which was and still is the sanctuary for the rich and the famous.
He himself is the only ex-premier travelling locally and internationally in executive jet, the Global Express and nobody dares to talk about it.
In his final year of his Premiership, Mahathir travelled extensively to the tune almost every month. He throttled the world of which the biggest Kings and Emperors of the world never did, and nice Malaysian was happy to pay the bills.
There were lots of unhappy faces but they were not courageous enough to express as he had the support of benefiting personalities around him.
I should pen off at this point. To write about the tales of Mahathir will take days and weeks to end.
This last series of ‘Mahathir the happiest man’ is just to remind anyone reading it; that Tunku Abdul Rahman was actually not the happiest PM as Mahathir used to brand him; He (Mahathir) is the one who is entitled to the brand.
To be fair to him Mahathir deserved good credits for developing the nation’s modernization programs, but along the process he dismantled people’s unity with his serious divide and rule politics.
We only succeeded in seeing colossal structural development, but along those developments we now inherit divisive Malaysian with total obliteration of Institutions like the Judiciary, the Police, the Royal Institution and all other valuable values of lives.
We are all lost in the woods, without knowing where to find exit flap for a pleasant life which we used to enjoy.
I pray that we can recover politically like Indonesia and many other countries which had the matching experiences like us here in Malaysia.
Even though I have doubts about DS Najib, I pray that he can bring changes for a better Malaysia.
I admit and submit that God always works mysteriously.