COMMENT | People and the media never fail to point out that I was a dictator. I presided over an authoritarian government for 22 years. Any mention of my name must be preceded or followed with the qualification “dictator.”
Looking back now, I realise why, as prime minister of Malaysia I was described as a dictator. There were many things I did which were typically dictatorial.
Actually, I showed this tendency very early. Upon being appointed as education minister, the first command I made was for the “menteri” plate above the number plate of my official car to be ripped off. Maybe I feared assassination. I don’t know. But, unlike other democratic ministers, I did not have the “menteri” plate on my car.
I also demanded a six-man police escort. But they told me that a minister gets only one plain-clothed policeman. I warned them to wait until I became prime minister.
When I became prime minister, I demanded for UTK (Special Forces) plainclothes escorts as well as 10 outriders. They gave me only four. It was really not enough. I felt very unsafe. I had to look right and left and also behind to identify assailants early. Now that I am not the prime minister, you will not see my numerous bodyguards. This is because they are invisible.
In America, I was surrounded by six burly secret service men. If anyone shot at me they would take the bullet. President John F Kennedy was almost saved by them. President Ronald Reagan was luckier. I wanted the same bodyguards at home. But there were no six-footers in Malaysia to take the bullets. I have to make do with smallish Malay police officers.
Now I dare not get into a crowd. I don’t shake hands and selfies are not allowed. My invisible bodyguards check all cameras and handphones of those who get within 10 feet from me.
As education minister, I demanded that schools must not be named after me. All my democratic predecessors had schools named after them. One even had a school named after his wife.
I did not want schools to be named after me because dictators normally do not like personality cults. So when I became prime minister I did not allow my name to be attached to any building, road or public toilets.
Now the government of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak is doing me a favour. References to me in textbooks have been erased. Thank you, Najib, for being such a democrat.
To continue the narration about my dictatorship, upon being appointed prime minister, I ordered the release of 21 political detainees, detained under ISA by my predecessors.
This release was, of course, the tradition with dictators. Previous democratic PMs did not release any detainees. They in fact added more because that was the democratic thing to do.
But what about Ops Lalang? Well, former inspector-general of police Mohammed Hanif Omar is on video to say that it was his decision. He was my security adviser and he said I could not countermand him. He says that as my security adviser, he decides.
It is not true, of course. I went over his head and ordered as many people as possible to be detained and tortured. If he denies it, must be because of bran. Still, he does not seem to like bran.
Then there is Abu Talib Othman, the attorney-general in my time. He recently declared that I was not responsible for lord president Salleh Abas’ dismissal. This just cannot be true.
Everyone saw how I caught hold of Salleh by the scruff of his neck and threw him out of his court. I don’t know why Abu Talib should deny popular belief. Maybe I gave him bran. I don’t remember.
Siti Hasmah is FLOMH
As wife of the prime minister, Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali was also known as FLOMH (First Lady of My House). She was fond of pink diamonds and Hermes handbags.
She bought many of them in the flea markets in London and Hong Kong. She wore them around her neck, arms and fingers every day. There are lots of pictures of her, loaded with expensive jewels. No one can fail to notice that she was the wife of a dictator. She also has a food taster.
My children held high posts in the government and Umno. They naturally got government contracts which they sold at good prices. That is why they are among the super-rich. Unknown to anyone, Mukhriz Mahathir has been appointed Pakatan Harapan deputy prime minister-in-waiting.
I set up five heavy industries and pocketed a good percentage of the capital. The money is kept in secret accounts in numerous banks. The accounts are so secret that I myself don’t know which bank. Not to worry. The police will find out. Another royal commission of inquiry can be set up.
Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Tun-to-be Najib conducted a search for the money I had stolen. So far, they have not been able to trace any. But not to be disappointed, Najib discovered that RM30 billion was lost by Bank Negara 30 years ago.
Since I was the prime minister at that time, it must have been me who had stolen the money. So he set up an RCI, and sure enough, I was found guilty.
I inherited from Hussein Onn a Boeing 737 business jet. It was big and expensive. So I decided to sell it and buy a smaller aircraft. I believe the savings went into my secret account. I don’t know where. There should be a police investigation.
As a dictator I made sure the prime minister’s residence in Putrajaya had a tunnel connecting it to KLIA. If anything happened I could escape through this tunnel to a waiting plane. Until now the tunnel cannot be found.
With the money I had stolen, I built two private palaces in Country Heights and the Mines. They are surrounded by high walls and guarded 24 hours a day by security forces. I also have fierce dogs. Anyone visiting me is frisked for weapons.
When I was about to retire, some people suggested that they build a memorial library for me. All American presidents have memorial libraries.
I commanded as a true dictator that the memorial be dedicated to previous prime ministers also. I instructed that it be called the Perdana Leadership Foundation. The great achievements of all previous prime ministers must be kept there. Of course, my record as a dictator is preserved for eternity there.
All the valuable gifts given to me as PM, including 26 cars, are kept in the Galeria Perdana in Langkawi. Unfortunately, the government refuses to return them to me.
There are many other authoritarian acts perpetrated by me. But to cut a long story short, as a true dictator I decided to resign. All dictators do this. Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, unfortunately, died before they could resign. Francisco Franco of Spain and António de Oliveira Salazar of Portugal were about to resign when they died.
But I was lucky. I was able to resign before I died. This confirms that I was a true dictator. I ordered some ministers to rush up to me and cry when I made the announcement.
No one should know about all my authoritarian acts. It is sufficient just to state that I was a dictator. If asked why you say I was a dictator, just say everyone said so before. Therefore, it must be true.
So carry on calling me an authoritarian dictator, a mahazalim (most cruel) and mahafiraun (great pharaoh), who was undemocratic, and has become super rich through corruption. It is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
DR MAHATHIR MOHAMAD is the chairperson of Bersatu and Pakatan Harapan, and former prime minister of Malaysia.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.