The Mahathir way showed the way?

umar mukhtar

Mahathir chose to hijack a function he was not invited to, takeover the stage, pour scorn to claim the higher ground, and then act the victim


Picture a scene where a local gangster was snubbed from whatever. Once he hears that his target was not turning up for him to confront publicly for whatever reason, he begins to throw tantrums and reveal his true colours. A decent protagonist would turn to go away and maybe issue whatever statement later and let the decent-thinking public make their own conclusion.

But Mahathir chose to hijack a function he was not invited to, takeover the stage, pour scorn to claim the higher ground, and then act the victim. He got away with it at first because people in awe never expected such behaviour from a gentleman ex-prime minister. Only ‘keling mabuk‘ (with apologies) do that, not an ex-premier. For those in the know, this neediness-for-attention kind of behaviour is typical of a megalomaniac being devoid of the spotlight.

Maybe some would think that this is the kind of behaviour and tactics that can tackle Najib. I beg to differ. The reason there’s no fisticuffs in the House of Commons or the U.S. Congress unlike in Taiwan’s legislature is because the standards of civilised behaviour is led by its leaders and not by its hoods. One has to believe that decency will overcome the ruffians’ show of cockiness. My dick is bigger than yours kind of smirk on stage.

Imagine if the police had acted the way they were during Mahathir’s time as Prime Minister. He would have been arrested and thrown into a Black Maria and persecuted not just prosecuted. Of course he would love that too. It would give him a chance to do a Hishamuddin Rais. Already he was saying he was not carrying any weapons. Nobody alleged that. Perhaps he was anticipating his own actions as PM alleging Hishamuddin was hiding parangs along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman with rocket launchers.

The PM’s aides were very much at fault of two-dimensional behaviour. Why didn’t they follow up Najib’s act of obedience to the law by persuading him to call Mahathir and expressing regret about the cancellation, and invite him for a better-organised one soon? Someone can pass a hand-phone to Mahathir’s aides in the crowd. Mahathir would have been stumped.

He has to be seen to take the phone. He would have preferred a private conversation, his playground is the public arena. He is never really interested to find solutions, just more chances to belittle the man he has made up his mind to remove. As if we have elected him our leader for that purpose. Not in a million years, chief hypocrite.

But Najib aides are not the pro-active thinkers they should be. They are there to bask in and rubbing off the glamour of high office, and to sneak away projects or sell access to the PM. The result can now be seen. The PM seems to be acting by his own wits, unaware of the real goings-ons in the public sphere. Remember, when he almost lost Pekan in 1999, “Boss ok, Boss!” Things have not changed.

After the Baling violent demonstrations in 1974 led by Anwar Ibrahim, I proudly balik kampung to show off my six-stitches, the result of a policeman’s ‘chotar‘. From the far corner, my aged father’s voice came through, “You act like a gangster, you will be met by one.” Mahathir too would have had the benefit of such counsel. But to a machiavellian, that’s actually the deal.

We will deal with Najib our way. With aides like that, it won’t be long to get to the truth. Don’t be the over-the-hill pop star that believes your songs still rule the airwaves. Your credentials? Father of Clean Malaysia. BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!