Aug 16, 2013


Malaysia's formidable former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir has updated his version of Dilemma 1.0 to 3.0. In his 1.0 version the eloquent Prime Minister has pleaded for pushing up the Malays on the ladder of economic empowerment so that they will not lag behind their fellow compatriots who have progressed through perseverance and sheer hard work with "sympathetic" favor by forces which want them to succeed in the ocean of Muslims. Thus he set out on an ambitious plan to uplift the Malays by responsibly following a bumiputra (son of the soil) policy that guaranteed some percentage in the economic pie of the nation. That policy did work very well till some perceived selective favouritism in the form nepotism, cronyism started clouding the sincere aspirations of those who penned the policy and executed it. Many who have benefited from those policies have become his worst critics and have emerged as champions of meritocracy and equal opportunity, even while failing to recognise their own roles in discrediting it. I see that the bulk of those disadvantaged are still the Malays who are struggling to have a decent living. The weekly TV program Bersamamu is a glaring kaleidoscope of the actual Malay situation. No doubt some Malays have done well with the help of this policy, but still there are many who are in the fringes of the society who need to benefit from this policy. In this Tun has not succeeded yet.

The Dilemma 2.0 was Tun's own making in selecting the wrong person as his successor. I cannot blame him for his apparent short-sightedness in selecting an otherwise religiously pious person who was lost in his own world by letting his relations to manage the fourth floor of the powerhouse and whose avowed aim was to amass as much as he could within the shortest possible time and to embark on an ambitious adventure of undoing what his predecessor has done in order to prove his independence that he is not under the tutelage of his mentor. This has certainly let loose all those dirty cockroaches and venomous spiders that were well kept within the confines of security out into the open organising one cleaning up (bersih) after another. What that followed was a disaster that is still being felt far and wide. The impact of that discontent was the emergence of strong anti-establishment feelings among the urbanite Malays and their fiercest backers from the non-Muslims who just keep adding fuel to the fire so that the Malay community is divided and is at each other's throats. Many of these so-called frustrated Malays have come to the stage of accepting non-Muslims as their leaders citing the achievements of Malays in Singapore. They think that their lives would be better if non-Muslims take the mantle of power and throw away all these privileges. Of course, they will continue to give the Malays the fish to feed but slowly they will deprive them of their basic rights. This I have seen in my country. In this Tun has certainly failed.

His recent criticism of the Chinese as his Dilemma 3.0. is an interesting one in the sense that having lived and witnessed the racial tension of the 1960s at the heel and the pang of separation that politically empowered the Chinese community in running a country that was principally the creation of the crafty British who connived with the non-Muslim minorities of Malaya to continue protecting their interests by gifting them with business opportunities and properties as they began their pull out from the front door only to enter by the back door through the cooperation of these faithfuls. It is against this background one has to read the latest dilemma of Tun. His experience with his nemesis and the self-appointed leader of the regional Chinese has hardened his attitude towards his Chinese fellow countrymen. I am sure he doesn't have any ill-feelings towards the Chinese as a community as he has many good friends and admirers among them. I have met many of them who have spoken highly of him and his stewardship of the country. Even the leaders of China are full of praise for him and his achievements. His problem is with those elements who contrive to undermine his vision for his country which he painstakingly chartered out in the hope of taking Malaysia to the developed nation status. He could not have said that if he had bad opinion on the Chinese and his look-east policy that brings China into the greater picture of a progressive Asia. There are Chinese who still harbor the idea of ruling the region politically by tarnishing the image of Malays as corrupt. They having dominated economy and deposited their wealth in the safe havens created by Mr. Lee and Company so that they can lord over the region and dictate the conduct of state as they wish by engineering their Muslim proteges into the helm of power in these two Muslim countries. This has been in the unconscious mind of the ruling Chinese elites in this region. Tun is fully aware of this. In this he is damn right. Sadly his detractors are poking fun at him and ridiculing him in the on-line media and trying to portray him as the root cause for Malaysia's problem. It is their strategy. Let's see how successful they can be.  


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