Is Dr M really the devil?

The country’s public institutions could not have been ravaged without the blessing of the electorate, especially the non-Malays.

G Vinod, FMT

Dr Mahathir Mohamad, that name itself would evoke strong mixed reactions from various quarters, politically savvy or otherwise.

Those who thrived under his leadership could see no fault in the man. Nevertheless, a large section of the masses revile and blame him for all the ills plaguing Malaysia.

The man’s 22-year iron-fisted rule brought prosperity to Malaysia, not to mention putting our beloved nation on the world map. For that, we must thank the man.

However, during his administration we saw human rights and the independence of our public institutions taking a backseat, paving the way for rampant corruption and abuse of power.

But this article is not about Mahathir. This piece is about the voters who gave him near absolute power to lord over us for more than two decades.

The writer recalls a conversation he had with former corporate colleagues in 2008, when Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s government provided compensation to the judges victimised by Mahathir during the infamous 1988 judicial crisis.

When discussing the gross injustice the judges suffered, one colleague said: “As long as the economy is good, who cares about the judiciary?” The answer stumped the writer.

When the conversation veered towards rampant corruption and abuse of power, another colleague replied: “For Chinese ah, as long as the economy is good, this is all that matters.”

It is not the intention of the writer to talk about the good or the bad of any race but let’s call a spade as spade. It was that sort of attitude that kept Mahathir smiling during his premiership.

Barisan Nasional, during Mahathir’s leadership, was kept alive and kicking by the non-Malays. This is a reality that was even acknowledged by the former prime minister on many occasions.

The business community thrived. For the non-Malay businessmen, as long as the Bumiputera requirements were fulfilled, they prospered during the economic boom of the 1990s, aided by Mahathir’s business-friendly policies.

The working class Indians suffered under Mahathir’s rule, but a majority of them hero-worshipped the man nonetheless.

Many of them loathed former MIC president S Samy Vellu even then, but their love for Mahathir superseded their hatred for the man, resulting in them voting for BN for many years.

The Malays, however, were wary of Mahathir. Some of them were his harshest critics. That resulted in the Malay votes to be split from the late 1970s, between Umno and PAS.

But the strange part now is that, the Malays do not vilify Mahathir much but the non-Malays make the most noise about the evils of Mahathir.

Malays ready to discard BN

Just peruse the comments made after an article is written about Mahathir. The man is called by many names; Mamak Kutty, Mahazalim, Mahafiraun, Kerala Kutty, just to name a few.

And some of this racially charged attacks against Mahathir come from the non-Malays, those who are supposedly aspiring to break Malaysia’s racial and religious barriers.

Looking at the comments posted, it can be assumed that those who resort to such attacks range from the ages of 20 to 40.

Now to those people of that age group who revile Mahathir, here is a test. Go back home and ask your parents and their peers which party they voted for between 1981 and 2003.

If they say they have voted for the opposition, well and good.

But if they say that they had voted for BN, it is best to target your attacks against them first before hitting out at Mahathir.