Malaysiakini Letter

The gall of Mahathir to beseech Turnbull

Manjit Bhatia  |  Published:  |  Modified:

LETTER | I refer to the Malaysiakini article Stay away from Najib, Dr M tells Aussie PM.

It may be fascinating that Dr Mahathir Mohamad should tell Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull not to meet Najib Razak at the Asean meeting in Sydney.

I find it galling that Mahathir should now beseech Turnbull to do as he asks. There was time, not so long ago, when Mahathir would tell every white person that they had no right to hector and lecture brown or black or yellow-skinned people.

In short, Westerners should butt right out.

In fact, one of the "principles" of Asean is non-interference in the domestic affairs of  member or other countries. Double-standards, Mahathir?

How the tables have turned today. Mahathir heads the opposition Pakatan Harapan in its bid to blow away the MO1 Najib and his corrupt and incompetent Umno-BN regime of, let's be honest, no-hopers.

Harapan needs the full backing of the Malays as much as all non-Malays to bury Umno-BN when Najib finally plucks the nerve to call the 14th general elections.

One thing Mahathir (also) said of Najib's trip to Sydney is that it is primarily for domestic political consumption. Najib wants to show 'all Malaysians', especially 'all Malays' - the most crucial political constituents when it comes to Malaysian politics - that he has the legitimacy to mix with leaders internationally and has gained the legitimacy from them after the 1MDB 1M Projek Ponzi.

According to Najib, therefore he is legitimately accepted by the "international community". Therefore he can't be MO1 of Malaysia.

Therefore Malays and non-Malays alike should accept this as fact, ignore the slanderous comments and insinuations of his critics, and give him and his religiously corrupt Umno-BN regime the nod to continue to rule Malaysia.

As far as democracy and accountability go, it's an open-and-shut case.

Mahathir knows he needs to convince the Malay (and non-Malay) constituents that Najib is MO1 and needs their help to oust Najib the "monster". But Mahathir now understands that this may not be enough.

He needs the international community and the international media in his and Harapan's struggle to dethrone Najib and Umno-BN after almost 61 years of what is basically single-party rule in Malaysia.

I don't think Mahathir has anything to worry about other than his so-called legacy, of which I am extremely critical. The world knows about how corruption and racism are deeply embedded in Malaysia's political, economic and social structures and institutions.

Apart from big business, most others in the West, in particular, would quietly wish for Najib and Umno-BN to disappear - for good.

And good riddance, too.

But that's quite a different proposition from 'all Malaysians' getting rid of a very rotten regime led by a very rotten prime minister who has form on being dishonest and secretive. Democracy does not exist in Malaysia. Authoritarianism does.

As much as I hate to agree with Mahathir, I'm afraid I must when he says that if Najib is given another mandate at potentially the most fraudulent elections in Malaysia's post-independence history, Najib and Umno will become more authoritarian.

I think he's right. And I also think that authoritarianism will likely move towards ultra-conservative dictatorship.

If this happens, it'll be the worst possible outcome for Malaysia, especially also if the ultra-conservativism comes with the hideous baggage of Saudi-financed greater Islamic Wahabism.

In which case 'Malaysians' are left with these choices: "exit, voice or loyalty," in the words of Albert Hirschman.

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