Confusing the minds of the Malays is former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamadâ€™s fortÃ©. He plays on their insecurities, much like a cat plays with a mouse before pouncing on it. The predatory cat will bat the mouse from paw to paw, in an attempt to tire it out. Mahathir, like the cat, derives immense satisfaction from watching his prey suffer.
Recently, Mahathir delivered a salvo of contradictory and hypocritical statements. He said the Malays were lazy, lacked discipline and liked to steal. His remarks were based on his experience in his bakery, The Loaf. His remarks about the Malays, are a stark contrast to his usual message, which he first started to deliver, to the Malays in the 70s.
Four decades ago, Mahathir told the Malay community that Malaysia belonged to them, the people who rightfully deserved to reap the benefits of this land.
Mahathir omitted to mention that success would involve hard work, dedication and long-term commitment. Using the deep sense of superstition, insecurity, and fatalism among the Malays, Mahathir used them to increase his powerbase, at the expense of the other races.
The Malays bought Mahathirâ€™s story, but today, when the country is facing a total breakdown of its economy, its ability to attract foreign investment, its social cohesion, its security along with a decline in morality and values, Mahathir chides them for having no sense of shame, guilt or work ethics.
Are the derogatory comments about the Malays and the attacks on Najib Abdul Razak, a prelude to the Umno-General Assembly later this year?
Mahathir sees himself as the Malay saviour, but time is not on his side. He needs to install his son Mukhriz, as the second messiah. He fears that if he is unable to push Mukhriz into the limelight, he will lose the Mahathir legacy. This will mean the dismantling of the empire which he amassed during his 22 years of power.
Last year, Mahathir warned that Umno would die if it kept the stupid and old leaders. He told the party to elect younger leaders who are nationalistic, presumably meaning Mukhriz. This year, we have heard very little about Mukhriz. In the world of politics and celebrities, no news is bad news.
Last year, Mahathir accused the present leaders of preventing smarter people from ascending through the party, and said that they should not overstay their welcome. He ignored the fact that he had steadfastly clung to power for 22 years and was not averse to disposing of his deputies.
Leaders come and go, but the irrepressible Mahathir refuses to retire. He is tetchy and a menace to his successors. He overshadows them and snipes at them when their policies displease him. Like a cobra lurking in the lalang, he tries to hypnotise his prey and spits venom at his opponents.
Mahathir needs his son, to preserve his legacy. If anyone should feel shame, it is Mahathir. He drove a wedge between the citizens of this country and under him, the divide between the Malays and non-Malays has grown, as has the divide between the rich and the poor.
Mahathir made billionaires out of his cronies but ignored the average Malay, who cannot stump up the money to buy a modest home, despite the New Economic Poilicy (NEP). Today, he has the cheek to say that Malays are lazy. The next minute, he tells them that they must not give up the NEP.
Mahathir is giving out mixed messages and talking like a man who is terribly confused. Are we seeing the end of the Mahathir legacy?
(NB: Please feel free to share your views, even if you disagree. )
(With excerpts from The AntDaily)