Not the X-Factor

A few years ago, The Star newspaper was one of the most strident critics of Mahathirism. The term is used loosely to signify anything; policies and projects that were associated with Dr Mahathir. Whatever Mahathir did and accomplished were regarded as baneful for Malaysia.

Bold business decisions were taken as cronyism, vision 2020 regarded as wasteful personal dreams, development taken as ecological disaster, assertive foreign policies regarded as quarrelsome. Accordingly, to be associated with Mahathirism is an unforgivable sin.

I remember reading Star editors who were among the most virulent and contumelious of critics. Sometimes they were openly contemptuous. And not one Malay writer worth his salt defended Mahathir. Certainly not those who now jump and go berserk whenever disagreeable comments are made on Dr Mahathir or on the greenhorn Mukhriz Mahathir.

Every major newspaper editors and lesser writers acted in unison in condemning Dr Mahathir. After 2003 until the exit of Pak Lah, Mahathir was treated almost like a pariah.

Now The Star is singing a different tune. Its chief spokesperson, Jocelyn Tan is saying Dr Mahathir is the X factor in the government. Usually one treats an X factor as the determining factor that ensures success. Like many people, I am puzzled. How can a person who was treated for a number of years as an untouchable now becomes the X factor?