What’s Dr M’s apology got to do with it?

Opinion  |  S Thayaparan
Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | “Never apologise. Never explain. Just get the thing done, and let them howl.”
- Agnes Campbell Macphail

I have no idea why people want or need an apology from former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohammad. I received a barrage of messages when the “apology” first surfaced, with the usual commentaries of how it was long overdue and how the opposition could finally move forward.

Then the old master qualified his apology – Malay custom, he said – and the same folks who were relishing a fresh start, got into a funk.

What I do not get is this. When Mahathir was committing all these wrongs he is supposed to be apologising for, he was also getting elected with a significant majority by a diverse polity of Malaysians, who did not seem to care about all these ideas Pakatan Harapan is pushing now.

At any time when Mahathir was supposed to be doing all those bad deeds that he needs to apologise for now, the people of Malaysia could have voted the completely corrupt alliance out, and took a chance on whatever the opposition was offering. Failing that, they could have denied the Mahathir regime its two-thirds majority as a sign of dissent.

This never happened. I would argue with each electoral victory, Mahathir was demonstrating that he had nothing to apologise for.

I know many people who are slavish supporters of the opposition these days, who praised Mahathir and condemned the opposition as being only able to “complain” back in the day.

Even when I was part of the state security apparatus and had contact with opposition figures, activists and people who were sanctioned by the state, their main complaint – no, not complaint, lament – was that the majority of Malaysians were not with them...

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