Monday, March 5, 2012

Is Mahathir A Hero?

Malaysians used to regard former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (TDMM) as the hero of the country.

The Book By Barry Wain

The one who could do no wrong. The one who could thumb his nose up at the West and lead the Third World by the nose so to speak.

The great man who brought development to Malaysia. He was even known as the "Bapa Pemodenan" (The Father of Modernisation).

Nowadays, few Malaysians hold him in such awe. Today, many Malaysian see him as someone who is fond of blaming others and not comfortable with taking responsibility.

They see him as someone who loved doing things his own way whether his way was the right way or not or whether his way was good for the country or not, so long as it was his way. ( BTW his favourite song is said to be "'My Way", the song made famous by the late Frank Sinatra).

For example, when the Asian Economic Crisis hit Malaysia in the late 1990s, Mahathir was quick to blame it on Soros, instead of taking full responsibility as the then prime minister.

I think this also had something to do with what happened in 1992 when Malaysia dabbled in the forex market betting on the pound sterling and got burnt badly, the national bank or Bank Negara losing some RM16-31 billion whereas George Soros managed to make US1 billion betting on the same, according to the author of the book "Malaysian Maverick". This must have pissed off Mahathir.

When the Bank Negara forex fiasco came to light, Mahathir even had the gall to ask what was a few billions? Apparently a few billions was small change for Malaysia and we could easily afford it. No worry, buddy, just another routine day lah!

Even with "Operation Lallang" in 1987 when a hundred over Malaysians including the whose's who of the Malaysian opposition were arrested under the dreaded ISA (Internal Security Act) and incarcerated without trial under dubious allegations of being threats to national security, Mahathir eventually blamed the police for it even though he was the then Prime Minister cum Home Minister responsible for, and in charge of, the police department and a very powerful man.

Mahathir also finally blamed the king for the sacking of the Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and several senior judges in 1988, which led to the emasculation of the Malaysian judiciary which to this day hasn't yet recovered. But everybody knows that the king under the Malaysian constitution can only act on the advice of the PM.

He even blamed Anwar Ibrahim for giving himself the infamous black eye, when it was obvious that no less then the then IGP (Inspector General of Police) Rahim Noor himself had walloped a helpless Anwar Ibrahim in jail! The IGP was eventually convicted of assaulting Anwar.

Today when people think of Mahathir, they do not think so much of the Petronas Twin Towers as of crony capitalism, growing corruption, bailouts and abuse of power.

Billions worth of public contracts were allegedly directly awarded to favoured cronies, some of whom had to be bailed out eventually with public funds.

Barry Wain, the author of "Malaysian Maverick" estimated that the Mahathir administration was responsible for some RM100 billion loss to the nation.

Is Mahathir a Malaysian hero? You decide.

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