Au·thor·i·tar·i·an

JOSEPH PAIRIN KITINGAN / KOTA KINABALU
Pic courtesy of NSTP/Datu Ruslan Sulai

Former Sabah Chief Minister Tan Sri Joseph Pairin Kitingan knows very well what Mahathir would do to those he hates.  He experienced that first hand in 1990 when Mahathir went all out to try depose him as Chief Minister. Pairin was Chief Minister of Sabah from 1984 to 1995.

Speaking to reporters after receiving a courtesy visit from the Kadazandusun Cultural Association Youth Council yesterday Pairin said that when Mahathir is a ‘political animal’ who, when he does not like a person, would go all out (to get the person out of his way).

Therefore, it comes as no surprise to Pairin when Mahathir would form a new party and work with his enemies just to try force Najib Razak out of office.

In politics, anything goes – wrote Awang Selamat, a pseudonym used for Utusan Malaysia’s editorials. And that includes trying to erase his dark past by working with DAP’s Lim Kit Siang whom he had put behind bars without trial during his tenure.  It was Mahathir whom had planted the idea that DAP is nothing less than the enemies of the Malays and what Malaysia stands for, in the mind of the Malay masses.  Equally disgusting is Lim Kit Siang whom had spent most of his life in DAP slandering Mahathir as being the most corrupted dictator, now seen being in the same bed with Mahathir.

Another person who would know Mahathir well is Tan Sri Musa Hitam, who was Mahathir’s deputy from 1981 to 1986. While he described Mahathir as “observant, innovative, and meticulous” he also used the words “authoritarian, contemptuous, and belligerent”.

In an article by The Star, Musa said Dr Mahathir could be pleasant and engaging at times, but would often come off as being disinterested in dialogue or debate.

“Discussion and debate were never the order of the day,” he wrote in his book ‘Frankly Speaking’ which was recently launched by His Royal Highness the Sultan of Perak.

memali-dr-mahathir-dan-musa-hitam
“Discussion and debate were never the order of the day.” – Musa Hitam describing Mahathir

In his book Musa wrote:

“Malaysia today is going through a difficult transition. Trying to establish a mature democracy after more than two decades of authoritarian rule is not easy. Moreover, there is no guarantee that the current, more open political system will continue. Malaysia would, in fact, find itself gripped by reactionary forces that even now are advocating policies and practices that – if adopted – would eventually result in the country becoming a failed state.”

This was echoed by the former Grand Mufti of Jordan, Professor Dr Amin Mohammad Sallam al-Manasyeh in an interview with the portal MalaysiaGazette. “I am of the opinion that if Allah gives him (Najib) time, he will continue to develop and position Malaysia as the best country in the world. That’s what I think about him,” he said in the interview.

I, too, had doubts about Najib Razak’s ability to do well as the leader of this country.  Up until April of 2015 at least, I and like-minded friends did not think that he would last in the face of relentless acrid attacks by Mahathir. By May, Mahathir faltered and changed goalposts several times while Najib Razak stood firm, unwilling to budge even a bit.  Most of us saw that the light shone by Najib in the tunnel of lies made by his detractors is far brighter than the one shone by Mahathir.  And this year, Mahathir received multiple slaps first in the form of the resignation of his son Mukhriz as the Menteri Besar after being told by the Council of Regent of Kedah that he had lost majority support of the State Assembly.  This was followed by his own resignation from UMNO. Then came the hattrick wins in Sarawak, Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar elections where, despite Mahathir’s claims, Barisan Nasional still won. And then he was conned by his own people for faking more than half a million signatures of people reportedly in support of his ‘Save Malaysia’ declaration.

mukhriz
Mukhriz, seen here with Tan Sri Tunku Sallehuddin ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah, Chairman of the Council of Regent of Kedah (right), and council member Tan Sri Tunku Abdul Hamid Thani, leaving the Wisma Darul Aman after a meeting with the Council of Regent.

One would think that at 91, Mahathir would take it slow and call it a day.  Well, that is not Mahathir. In the end he sets up another political party called Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (BERSATU) where Najib’s former deputy Muhyiddin Yassin becomes the pro-tem President, and his son Mukhriz the pro-tem Treasurer.  And where is Mahathir in this party? He positions himself as Lim Kit Siang has – the Puppet Master.  Despite being a political giant, Muhyiddin has all but lost support in Pagoh and Muar.  Many Johoreans still remember him for his sins committed against the Malays. He would now have to find another seat to contest in.  Otherwise his political career is as good as over.

Admitted to the National Heart Institute for medical complications the day his party’s registration form was submitted to the Registrar of Societies, Mahathir’s first act upon being ill was to post a blog article attacking Najib, not taking care of his health or coming to a realisation that his days as a mortal are numbered, and that instead of creating more sins, he should repent. No, things like that never seem important to Mahathir. And neither would the parasites who call themselves “his advisers” advise the old man to slow down. Instead, they feed his anger, and he in turn feeds them for making him angry. And Mahathir should remember that whenever he, the authoritarian, gets angry, he loses support.  Zuraidah Ibrahim aptly puts it in the South China Morning Post:

Instead of departing on his terms, as he did in 2003, he may now find himself leaving the scene a loser.

For Najib Razak, it is business as usual. As in the old adage wrongly attributed to Thomas Jefferson:

In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.

And like a rock does he stand.