Mahathir should try comedy

Steve Oh

Modified 29 Jan 2008, 10:21 am

Dean Jones and Proarte are absolutely right in their criticism of Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his farcical peace movement and war crimes tribunal. We are told to judge a tree by its fruit and there is nothing in Mahathir's behaviour and character which justifies his self-appointed role as a war crimes crusader.

Instead - as Proarte has rightly cited - Mahathir has a tarnished record and a string of human rights abuses to answer himself. Operasi Lallang in1987 will always serve as a watershed testimony to his abuse of power while in government and the unjust treatment of his political rivals and innocent civilians as more than 100 Malaysians were imprisoned, some for nearly two years without trial. The victims and their families suffered immensely from that unjust act of cruelty.

By inciting the Iraqi insurgents to kill more American soldiers at a time when the Allied forces are desperately aiding the fledgling Iraqi government to bring the insurgents under control is bizarre and deplorable. Only a master of self-contradiction is capable of leading a peace movement and fomenting war at the same time. Surely Mahathir can't expect to be taken seriously?

Franky, Mahathir should try comedy. I honestly think he has the makings of a successful comedian, and may enjoy more credibility as a stand up, or if he prefers, a sit down comedian. The rakyat, however, may still have the last laugh.

The nation desperately needs exemplary leaders and Mahathir should seriously think about the ramifications of his conduct and avoid being embroiled in controversies that result in divisiveness and a loss of respect for him and the nation. The tongue is a restless evil and hard to tame. With it we praise God and curse man. Sadly, all that intelligence, charisma and leadership is lost, bogged in puerile personal feuds and gratuitous displays of self-importance.

In contrast, we observe one in his retirement who has been a blessing to many. Former US president Jimmy Carter failed to get re-elected, so he gave himself to helping the poor and working for peace. He avoided strife. No wonder he enjoys the world's esteem.

He works quietly in a redemptive, restoring and reconciling manner, and proves that a man of peace is indeed humble. He does nothing out of conceit and self-interest but considers the interests of others.

I hope for Mahathir's sake that he will come to his senses and realise that the world is a changed place and that as he approaches the twilight of his life it is time to make the effort to be at peace with God and his fellow human beings - and be an instrument of peace and not strife. Then what he does for peace will be genuine and sincere and not a front for secret political agendas.

Any fool is quick to quarrel but a man of peace builds up others. Folly is no respecter of age, achievement or rank, and all of us are vulnerable to our foibles. No one who loves his country should act silly and become its bane, least of all a once prominent person.