Malaysiakini News

Happy Birthday, Dr Mahathir Mohamad!

David Dass  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | It is a strange time for all of us. It is an extraordinary time. GE14 brought about a change in government. It brought down the behemoth Umno. And it enabled a coalition of several parties representing all the races of Malaysia to form a genuine multiracial government.

That coalition was led by a 92-year-old man. And part of the inspiration for that coalition was a man who sat in prison while his wife and daughter and other loyalists fought for his release from a conviction that was described in his pardon as a travesty of justice.

The 92-year-old man was the prime minister of the BN government for 22 years. Dr Mahathir Mohamad is credited with building our modern infrastructure and growing our economy - in the process expanding our manufacturing base. He was also blamed for extraordinary waste in pursuing imprudent adventures in trying to control or stabilise the price of tin, rubber and in currency speculation.

His foray into steel, wafer production and the Made-in-Malaysia car cost us billions. But it was his impatience to advance the nation rapidly that many believe resulted in weakened institutions and the elimination of checks and balances.

Mahathir did not like to be obstructed in his path to making us an industrial nation. He was ruthless with individuals or institutions that stood in his way. He ruled with an iron fist. He loved to quote Shakespeare – especially what one of his characters said - let us first kill the lawyers! He criticised judges for not implementing the law as Parliament drafted them...

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