Dr M warns government

Dr Mahathir

(Kuala Lumpur Post) – In blunt remarks over a perceived culture of obsequiousness permeating the corridors of power, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned the government that this was preventing it from seeing the groundswell of discontent forming in the country.

Although acknowledging that the practice was observable even during his time as prime minister, Dr Mahathir further cautioned that the layer of sycophants insulating the leaders from the pulse of the country only served to incense citizens more, with historically disastrous results.

“We witness in history kings and powerful men finally faced with forceful and violent uprisings by the people. This is what happened to some kings and dictators in the Middle East.

“Malaysians are unaccustomed to violence. They may use elections to address their grievances. But let us not be too sure they will always be soft,” Dr Mahathir wrote on his blog, chedet.cc, yesterday.

The country’s longest-serving prime minister added that any party that seeks to remain in power must not allow itself to be lulled into believing that it has carte blanche to act as it wishes or that its mistakes, beyond reproach.

Dr Mahathir reminded the country’s leaders that support is not always sincere, and that this often came with the implicit aim of leeching off some of the their influence through the dint of association.

Once within the inner circle, such flatterers will seek to cut off their marks from outside contact so that only their influence held sway with the leaders, he said, while those watching from the outside are often too afraid to speak for fear of losing their own positions.

“There is a Western saying: ‘Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.

“A corrupt people and a nation known for its corrupt people cannot possibly progress, but will even fall,” he added.

Dr Mahathir had previously excoriated the administration of his hand-picked successor, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, over the same issue, accusing the latter of being influenced by an inner circle of advisors that included his son-in-law and now minister, Khairy Jamaluddin.

The former prime minister then led a campaign of attrition against Abdullah, which was partly credited for Barisan Nasional’s loss of its customary two-thirds parliamentary majority during Election 2008.

BN lost further ground during the 13th general election last year, but managed to retain power in the poll that saw the opposition pact of Pakatan Rakyat snatch the psychological win in popular votes.

PR went on to rally public support, claiming that it was robbed of a victory through electoral fraud.