Reading Tun Dr Mahathir

TK Tan, The Micah Mandate

I read with interest TDM’s article entitled “Perkasa and me” and marveled at his ability to twist facts to suit his point of view. So I thought it would be an interesting exercise to pick out some of his key statements (or omissions).

The article starts by analyzing the present weakness of UMNO and lays the blame squarely on Badawi.

When the 5th PM took over, it became obvious he was incompetent and unable to govern the country and grow its economy. He was seen as weak by the Malays as well as by the Chinese and Indians. He flipped-flopped, making decisions and policies and reversing them, arresting opposition members under the ISA and then releasing them shortly after, claiming that he wanted to protect them.

Never mind that Badawi was handpicked by TDM even though the option of crowning Najib was his. Never mind that Badawi took BN to one of its best showing in the 2004 elections. Never mind that Badawi was badly weakened by TDM through his incessant attacks on him and his son-in-law and was never allowed to implement his promises.

The PR government in Perak was considered a Chinese government by the Chinese.

Because of the poor handling of the Perak crisis, the Chinese who considered the Pakatan Government of Perak as a Chinese Government, swore not to support BN anymore.

Perhaps the Perak Chinese enjoy regular chats with TDM.

The main message of the article is that in the context of Chinese and Indian extremists emboldened by the 2008 elections making demands for the removal of policies and schemes to help the Malays, Perkasa was merely trying to defend the status quo.

Is Perkasa racist? If anyone cares to study the statement by Perkasa he will not fail to note that it has confined itself to rebutting allegations that the non-Malays have been discriminated against, that the Malays need to retain their present position. If it is really racist then it would be demanding the abolition of the special treatment of the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia.

Here TDM writes about “allegations that the non-Malays have been discriminated against” and about “the abolition of the special treatment of the Chinese and Indians in Malaysia”. So the issue of the NEP is reduced to a group complaining of discrimination. And they are mere allegations. And he plants the notion that actually this group enjoys special treatment. Here he treats this as fact. And so in the context of such unreasonableness, Perkasa was merely trying to defend the Malays and maintain status quo. The Malays need to retain their present position. Never mind that “Ketuanan Melayu” is the position that is being bandied about.

Mahathir speaks with purpose, to lay the context for his ideas to be acceptable. He uses blunt, stark statements to serve as truth, rarely attempting to provide justification for those statements because justification can be disputed. When confronted he would either make an audacious remark, or use sarcasm, or just bluntly refuse to respond. “I don’t remember” is a famous refrain. As a person in authority, who enjoys the respect and even adulation of the public, he has tremendous power to influence and bend people to his point of view.

Finally TDM says that his involvement with Perkasa was merely to help ensure that UMNO continues to enjoy the support of the Malays by making sure that the rights of the Malays are defended.