Thursday, April 13, 2006

A gentler Dr M in his twilight years


Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is a man full of contradictions. But as he said so himself, it is all politics. And politics are inherently dirty, no?

Regardless of what his admirers and detractors think or say about this man, I still find it pleasantly surprising that for all his well-known stubborn streak and huge ego, he has somehow summoned up the courage to admit some of his mistakes and acknowledge certain truths about this country which he had, while in power, strenously kept a tight lid on during his 22 years of draconian rule.

Is he mellowing in his twilight years?

Whatever his reasons for these recent displays of humility and compassion, I must admit that I respect his ability to speak his mind and his heart on matters which surely must have weighed in heavily upon his shoulders all through those years. I am referring in particular to his sentimental and remorseful re-cap of the bitter feud between him and our first prime minister and Bapa Malaysia, Tunku Abdul Rahman.

It has taken him all these years to acknowledge the Tunku's contributions to this blessed nation.

But as they say, better late than never. And for this, I'll say Dr M has finally shown a side of him that most of us thought we'd never see in his larger than life personality.

**********

PUTRAJAYA: Malaysia continues to enjoy political stability and sustainability as the majority of its people realise the importance of the need to share and be prepared to make sacrifices. They also reject extremism.

These were some of the key success factors in developing the country, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said yesterday.

He said being a multi-racial and multi-cultured nation, Malaysia has all the ingredients for instability.

"Our cultures and languages are different and we are poles apart. But somehow or rather, the Government has managed this very well, resulting in continued stability and development," he said in a speech at the fourth Perdana Discourse Series held at Perdana Leadership Foundation, of which he is the honorary president.

The principle of power-sharing enabled Malaysia to remain politically stable, with leaders sensitive enough to know its importance.

"If you think this (country) is the Malays’ land and we should not be sharing it with the others, the country cannot grow," Dr Mahathir said.

In order to remain stable, power-sharing must continue while extremism must be rejected.

"By and large, this is the feeling of the majority of Malaysians. Malaysians are moderate people and they are not keen to destabilise the nation, but extremists like Ayah Pin or Azahari Husin (the Malaysian shot dead for bombings in Indonesia) must be watched.

"They must not be allowed to influence the people as they can cause disunity and chaos.

"You need to have strong hands to stop people from becoming violent and you must put a stop to extremism."

Dr Mahathir said Malaysia’s first Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman was instrumental in promoting party coalition and spelling out the ideas of wealth and power-sharing.

"Coalition is indeed a better formula than a single party. We owe all this to Tunku.

"Nowadays, when I look at the letters where I wrote all the nasty things about Tunku... how could I be so rude to the old man? But that is politics."

Asked on the formation of the Inter-faith Commission, Dr Mahathir said: "I think it is good to enable people to discuss religious matters in a rational way. There is no way religions can be made identical. Inter-faith is very important.

"If you have strong faith, it will not change your religion. There is nothing to fear, but we must have rational people and not emotional people talking about religions."

**********

Today is Holy Thursday, and tomorrow, on April 14 the Tamil Hindu community will usher in their New Year, while the Sikh community will celebrate Vasakhi. And of course, April 14 is also Good Friday to Christians who will commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross.

Thus, this Friday is a significant day to the Tamil Hindus, the Sikhs and the Christians. It commemorates the beginning of a New Year, the birth of a brotherhood and the death of an innocent to save the world, respectively.

In the context of multi-racial and multi-religious Malaysia, this week is indeed significant because our Muslim community also celebrated the Prophet Muhammad's birthday last Tuesday.

Indeed, this holy week which started with Palm Sunday on the 9th will end with Easter Sunday this weekend on the 16th.

I wish all those who are participating in the festivities a joyous occasion and may we all be showered with wonderful blessings for a peaceful and prosperous year ahead.

God Bless.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Maverick SM said...

When a person who wants power that he hasn't procured, he will say, do, and act, in such a way as it would, that can secure that ambition.

When a person who had then procured that power, he would then need to strengthened his position and procure his grassroot at whatever cost and price in order to secure the Prized mission and destination.

Soon, that person had to abdicate and surrender that power. Once he let go the power, his conscions becomes clear, and he will see things in the right perspective and his mindset is no more tinkled with crave and greed. He then learns to speak the truth and he then understands natural justice.

That's the epitaph I wrote for the man who ruled for 22-years.

13/4/06 22:45  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

Hi Mave - I had to eat my words here sooner than expected when I wondered whether he has mellowed in old age. But then again, no surprises isn't it for someone like Dr M.

The SUN reported today what Dr M said during a break after delivering a plenary address on "Leadership Crisis and Strategic Communiation Techniques" at the Institute of Islamic Understanding Malaysia yesterday that had he not stepped down from the premiership in 2005, work on the cynic bridge would have started 2 and a half years ago.

In his usual sarcastic wit, he further said that, ".. The CIQ, I heard Singapore plans to turn it into the biggest shopping complex in SEA. Singapore suggested it, it could not be illogical, right? This is not being sarcastic. This is sincere. Turn it into a shopping complex - beautiful and sophisticated. We have to look after the people's heart. Johor, according to Singapore, is full of crimes. If no bridge, no causeway, Singaporeans won't go to Johor, so there won't be crimes .. as usual we keep quiet."

Of course, when he said "we" he did not actually include himself here.

And this is a fine example of vintage Dr M:-

"... We have been taking into account Singapore's views. They do not want the bridge, they want the causeway because it is nostalgic to Goh Chok Tong, we just accept it."

Do we laugh or cry over this old man?

I'm just so glad that he is no longer holding the steering wheels of this country.

Like the proverbial saying, "A tiger never loses its stripes." More often than not, it just got hidden behind a layer of mud.

14/4/06 10:33  
Blogger desiderata said...

anak merdeka:

many obs about Dr mahathir by you i agree -- contradictions, sarcastic yet sometimes yielding nuggets of witticism if not satire.
like in his latest round of "there goes my brdige" -- game to some.

as a jorunalist, I ENJOY him; as a Malaysian, I hope Dr Mahathir can ENJOY the same kind ("mellowed" is your word..)words he now uses on Tunku.

Often when I speak about such hi subjects, I have to end with:
I:
S:
A: men lest Desi, as a human, go LOST in FuRong Maze.

A-maze my FR Y&A 'bit' me to IT!:)

PS: Have to buy me Haridas TT if you need rationale about that "byte"!

14/4/06 14:09  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

You put it so nicely Desi that I have to agree with you on THIS one - yes, I also "enjoy" the wise words of Dr M especially nowadays when he, more often than not, spews forth nuggets of wisdom and spicy stuff that makes journos rub their hands in delight.

Love him or hate him, one thing's certain. He has great entertainment value in his old age! It would be a pity if he goes down in history as an unrepentant & stubborn old man. (Not a nice thing for me to say, I know.)

On another subject, I have to confess, Desi that sometimes I get a bit lost in deciphering your coded words. It's one big MAZE as thick as the Dark Forest.

I wonder if I'm your only ER who feels this way. No offence to you I hope - just so you know that at times I am unable to give an appropriate response because I'm, err.... totally blurr...!! Sorry ah.. will try to pick up as quick as I can.

14/4/06 15:05  
Blogger carboncopy said...

TDM can say whatever he wants now. The damage he has done to Malaysia and future generations have not yet been played out fully.

And those who comes after him just want to snowball everything.

15/4/06 11:58  
Blogger Anak Merdeka said...

I agree with you cc.

But I guess it is because TDM feels that he is entitled to say what he wants now that makes the newsbites so very interesting, isn't it?

The funny thing is, he had to admonish the newspapers for not airing his views or even "censoring" some of his remarks. Read The STAR's report compared to The SUN's and you get a good idea of why he's so annoyed.

That must have been the hardest reality take for the old man. Maybe he ought to start a BLOG as well. He can then have all the free speech space he wants.

15/4/06 15:38  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Shrek but I hate generally hate orgres and he is he biggest one.

28/4/06 21:24  
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