Will the real Tun M please stand up

Kong Len Wei

The first time I met Tun Dr. Mahathir in the flesh was in 1999. BN was fresh from winning the general election in November and I was charged to chauffeur my father, who was a freshman in Parliament, to a BN pre-council meeting at Putrajaya. As Dr. Mahathir approached the hall, there was a hush in the air. I caught a glimpse of the most powerful room in the country as BN MPs, men and women, some twice his size and half his age, cower before the diminutive Prime Minister. His charisma and aura left a lasting impression on me.

Having led the country for 22 years, he was the only Prime Minister I had ever known until he stepped down in 2003. A career that spanned decades, Mahathir is a brilliant politician. Expertly navigating up the political ladder even after being expelled from the party by the late Tunku Abdul Rahman in 1969. In his first term, Mahathir was fiercely nationalist, subsequently blaming the lost of his reelection campaign squarely on the Chinese support of PAS in 1969.

His book, infamously titled 'The Malay Dilemma' exposed his nationalist agenda, warning the Malays that they will lose out to the economically superior Chinese if they do not take control of their destiny as Bumiputeras in this land. With this nationalistic pride and a renewed Malay chauvinism in him, it was not long before Mahathir rose to become our 4th and longest serving Prime Minister. The 1980s saw him consolidate his grip on power as he used all the powers available to him to politically outmaneuver his political foes and placate his allies as he took this country to great heights in the boom time of the 90s.

Today, few remember the liberal use of the Internal Security Act during Operasi Lalang when the government cracked down on the Chinese educationists for voicing out their dissatisfaction vernacular education policy. Many from the DAP, including Lim Kit Siang, were incarcerated along with several top leaders from MCA. Several newspapers including The Star had their licenses suspended during this tumultuous period of our country's politics.

Even after stepping down, Mahathir continued to be critical of the government. His scathing criticism of the Pak Lah government at that time, help put Najib Razak at the helm of UMNO and the country since 2009.

What is Tun Dr. Mahathir doing together with DAP? 

The power struggle within UMNO is real. After the 2013 general election, UMNO made off with more seats in Parliament and the lion's share executive power in the Cabinet. Mukhriz Mahathir, having lost the fight to be a Vice-President of UMNO, sensed that his opportunity to move up the ranks is closing. The time to take down the sitting Prime Minister is now. Never shedding his nationalist roots,  Mahathir formed the aptly named 'Pribumi' party with Mukhriz as the Deputy President of PPBM. After teaming up with DAP, Mahathir went on the offensive. Critical of the recent partnerships with China, he declared that the government will be bringing in 700,000 Chinese voters to vote in the coming GE. Further spreading xenophobic fear, he also claimed that we are selling land in Johor to the Chinese, much to the ire of the Sultan of Johor who is not known to be fond of the former PM.

People must come to a realisation that Tun Dr. Mahathir is the embodiment of UMNO. He has never shed his nationalist roots, wielding it as a political tool much like how UMNO has to gain political power. DAP members have to open their eyes to this because ever since PPBM come on board, everything within the Pakatan Harapan went haywire. Amanah is now a dud political splinter of PAS. PAS will not work together with DAP and ever since Zaid Ibrahim (who lost in PKR's party elections) jumped over to DAP, presumably at Tun's behest. PKR has become very cautious of DAP. The latest gaffe by Zaid Ibrahim declaring Tun Mahathir as the de facto leader of the Opposition raised eyebrows. Here is a man who sacked his Anwar Ibrahim and put him in jail, now conveniently waltzes in to usurp his place as opposition leader.

I am worried for DAP because as much as DAP wants to overthrow the current regime, they will only end up replacing it with an older model from 2003. Tun Dr. Mahathir is not the Pakatan's Messiah for the 14th General Election. He is the Trojan horse deployed by UMNO to wreak havoc within the opposition coalition. Last Tuesday, most people would have paid attention to Lim Kit Siang's outburst at the TV3 reporter asking him about the BMF scandal during Mahathir's premiership. All I saw was as sly smirk on Tun Dr. Mahathir's face at his Machiavellian best.

Kong Len Wei is a councillor for Majlis Perbandaran Manjung and the Chairman of MCA Youth Perak Young Professional's Bureau

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One Response to Will the real Tun M please stand up

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