Dr M, stand against Kit Siang or hold your peace
I joined the public service in 1972 and had the privilege of working in a department uniquely created under the development administration model advocated by Esman and Montgomery, the two US Ford Foundation consultants who advised the then prime minister about the nature of development and change for modern Malaysia.
In 1975 I moved to Intan, the other organisation which was upgraded also under the same development administration model.
Here I had the special privilege of training the early batches of PTD Officers for their basic public service training.
My boss then was a very colourful personality from whom I learnt much about public administration and management but especially about media relations.
While most senior public servants were shy about media, this boss was always open and ready to deal with the media. I learned much from him about media relations.
I also had two privileges to study abroad; the first was for my master's degree and then my PhD.
Both opportunities were in the United States of America. I was profoundly influenced by two American professors I had while in Universiti Malaya; they were Professor Marshall Singer and Professor Jacobson.
They were impressive in their teaching-learning philosophy, and because they taught critical thinking and to question all assumptions, through their style and approach, I decided that I would pursue my graduate studies in the United States.
Irrational critique of DAP and LKS
All the while I served in the public service in the 1970s, there was a "public theology about historical truths in Malaysia" but which was taught to all of us as the only public narrative about all truth matters.
Amongst these was that the DAP was a political extension of the militant communists of the 1948-1960 emergency in Malaya.
So, during my entire first phase of public service life of about the first five years, I earnestly and honestly believed that people like Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh may have been ideological communists, always trying to overthrow the government of the day.
Therefore, even in my early years in Parliament, I used to avoid meeting either of them, as I was genuinely concerned about their lack of a "nationalist spirit;" and, after all I was trained in the Royal Military College to protect and preserve the integrity of this nation which we had come to love.
Moreover, I had also pursued an economics degree at Universiti Malaya with a major in public administration. Public service was a vocation of my choice and election.
Now that I am older, and hopefully wiser, and have done substantive reading and reflecting about many issues in life and experienced more than 31 years of public service, I find the non-stop assertions and accusations by former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad unacceptable.
Therefore, at the risk of upsetting my 94-year-old father, I now say to Mahathir: Please stand or shut up! And, allow me to caution the mainstream media to stop amplifying the many untruths he makes ad infinitum.
The third force of influence
I had the first ever opportunity to meet and talk to Kit Siang when at the National IT council secretariat we suggested that the first ever National ICT Conference in 1996, called INFOTEC, be made up of all three parties in any dialogue.
That thesis was informally presented to Mahathir, then chairperson of the NITC and then also cleared with Najib Abdul Razak, who was approved to moderate the final day plenary of the review of the National IT Agenda (Nita).
The final day speakers were Minister Leo Moggie, the Opposition Leader, Lim Kit Siang and moderated by the then-education minister, Najib Abdul Razak.
Their goal was to have followed the three-day dialogue and discussions of the National IT Agenda and then give their views and opinions on the very last day.
To cut a long story short, the then-education minister when concluding the final keynote address said, "We have heard it from all sides that the Malaysian ICT agenda is for all!"
Within about one month after this event the DAP officially launched a book they called, "IT for All."
DAP and their ICT skills
Mahathir, you were the chairperson of the meeting of the cabinet when the president of Mimos Berhad and general secretary of the NITC briefed the cabinet and all the leadership of the public service regarding the Nita.
We made some clear recommendations for what and how the nation-state had to welcome the information age.
At that point you fully understood and approved our entire thinking, and it is even recorded that you suggested that we agree without question the views and suggestions of the CEO of Mimos, whom you called the "First Knowledge Worker of Malaysia."
Mahathir, you said in a recent report by the Sun from Bernama that:
"PAS's biggest mistake is to form an electoral pact with the DAP, which is clearly anti-Islam." You then continued and said, "DAP will pursue its agenda to be the dominant partner in the opposition coalition and to govern this nation." You then concluded that, "DAP is not like MCA or MIC, which want to share power and cooperate with Umno to form the government."
The above statements are not true and in fact are blatant lies. I am both surprised and shocked that both Bernama and Sun would repeat such lies!
I am neither a DAP member nor do I ever plan to be one; exactly as I have always stated my position about the MIC, or any other political party in Malaysia in all these years.
LKS is a national hero
With due respect to you and your positive role in national life, Mahathir, please accept that Kit Siang, much like the late Tan Chee Khoon, is now a well-recognised national leader of stature after more than 40 years of public service; which was carried out without fear or favour.
Even PAS will give him a seat wherever he chooses to stand. Therefore my only advice to you is: please stand against Kit Siang so that the people can tell you whom they prefer now, in 21st century Malaysia, or simply shut up and learn to grow older gracefully.
Does not the Malay saying suggest that with greater wisdom, the rice-padi bows lower and lower? May God bless our 13th GE!
KJ apologises if this piece upsets his father who is a personal friend of Mahathir. At 94, it is pointless to get him upset, but truth of matters need to be expressed.