An Open Letter to the 4th Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad

Dr Mahathir

Almost all the incompetent key players in our country’s administration are people from your UMNO presidential era.

Addin Aiman

Umar Al-Khattab stood up and said “O Muslims, straighten me with your hands when I go wrong”, and at that instance a Muslim man stood up and said “O Amir al-Mu’minin (Leader of the Believers) if you are not straightened by our hands we will use our sword to straighten you!”. Hearing this Caliph Umar said “Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah) I have such followers.”- World Heritage Encyclopedia

Dear Tun,

My name is Addin Aiman. I was born in 1995 during the period when you were leading the country into prosperity. I am writing this letter to highlight one of the flaws you have, Dr Mahathir, the same as what you did to Tunku Abdul Rahman while Tunku was still the Prime Minister. Even though you are an ex-prime minister, you still appear to have the power of deciding the fate of the nation. So, allow me to be critical of the man who shaped Malaysia towards betterment. Put yourself into Tunku’s shoes while reading this humble letter of mine.

You sir, with all due respect, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad the 4th prime minister was probably the best Prime Minister Malaysia had had surpassing Tun Abdul Razak or Tunku Abdul Rahman. Bar-none your policies had transformed Malaysia which was merely an agricultural back-water prior to the 80s into a highly-industrialized economy. Your strong demeanour for greater equality can be seen since the early 1960’s where you had been critical of the government for having failed to include Malays’ participation in economy i.e. trade and commerce to the point that you had written an open-letter demanding resignation of the then PM, Tunku Abdul Rahman.  

Prior to your ascension to the prime-ministership, you were an exceptional goverment officer in which when you were the Minister of Education that showed no nonsense towards discipline to the point of making yourself arrive at the office early to wait and observe the MoE staff clocking in. Your strong character led by your conviction in building the nation brought Malaysia to where it is today, one step closer to becoming a developed nation. If it weren’t for your policies Malaysia may still be a developing nation for more decades to come. Even though Malaysia is already a highly-industrialized economy, it still managed to hinge on that 5-7 GDP figure. Meaning to say that we are still improving even when we are already relatively good. However, although Malaysia wouldn’t be relatively prosperous today if you were not the Prime Minister for 22 years, there is still a flaw in yourself, an esteemed statesmen, also referred to as Tun. For every human is imperfect, and you are also not free from imperfections.

Among your flaws is that you failed to provide the nation with good quality leaders. A good leader is a leader that nicely grooms and selects the people to become future leaders when that leader has moved away from power. Take for example the late Tun Abdul Razak. The 2nd Prime Minister was aware that in-order to build the nation, his party which has a substantial amount of control over the course of the nation, he must pick men and women of quality -namely intellect and passion – to become future leaders. He did this by giving them experience in administrating the country in order for them to taste bigger responsibilities. Up to this day his proteges are influential people that have played and are still playing a role in nation-building. Among them are Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz and you yourself. Tengku Razaleigh was given the responsibility to become Finance Minister in his late 30s and as a result of Tun Razak’s grooming, Rafidah Aziz became one of the best politicians that brought industrialization and trade opportunities to Malaysia.

With the great respect I have towards you, why the aforementioned is related to your flaws is that you did not do as what Tun Razak did, which is to choose men and women that were suited to become leaders. Post-independence up until Tun Hussein Onn’s resignation, people were appointed based on meritocracy. Relatively inexperienced people that have the merit were groomed to become politicians by entering the cabinet or heading top GLCs so that they would make good leaders when they are elevated to have greater power and authority.

The current state of affairs surrounding the nation alone is the proof of what I have said earlier. When you were the president of UMNO you failed to maintain the quality of the party. UMNO which has great control and power in running the country should not be left in a state of corruption in terms of integrity and morality. This is because it would be detrimental to the country that hinges heavily on UMNO’s administration. Unfortunately this has happened, specifically during your time as the head of UMNO.

I wish I was born earlier to tell you that it was very important for you, the then president to protect the sanctity and relevance of what UMNO is fighting for. Also, it is telling that UMNO is the party that our fathers of independence belong to. The sacrifices made by UMNO forefathers with the likes of late Dato’ Jaafar Onn, Tunku, Tun Razak and others must appreciated. BUT that is not the case now. People in UMNO especially senior party officials are discrediting what UMNO forefathers had done for the nation.  

This is so because the party that had once been called the (sole) protector of the Malays has turned into a corrupted party with members of inferior moral grounds. At the present moment the party is plagued with so much immorality to the extent that party members that possess merit have no place within the party. Also, it is impossible for people (Malays) with idealisms that can be useful for the nation to be interested in joining UMNO, even when UMNO is helming the government and the country’s administration.  

A lot of Malaysians, particularly Malays, are addled over the situation that is surrounding UMNO. Of course they know that UMNO is a corrupted party but what caused the corruption in this once esteemed party?  

You should know because you were the party president for two decades and currently still hold dominance in the party. With all due respect, Sir, you have been an exceptional politician since the day you entered politics. Credit must be due, but what you did to UMNO either directly or indirectly is one major taint to your illustrious carrier as both politicians and statesmen.

The seeds of corruption began to spread in UMNO while you were president. UMNO members began to operate as sly Machiavellians in-order to fulfill their self-interests and desires instead of party interest and desire. One of the more known Machiavellian was none other than Anwar Ibrahim, the man you groomed to become the Prime Minister and ironically the same man that is fighting for greater justice and transparency nowadays.

Were you not aware that in order for UMNO members to win divisional votes they resorted to bribery? Were you also not aware that to maintain their authorities in the party they have to turn to cronyism? Your close party associates and even your protégés had resulted to what I said above, damages. For the fact that you had the power to bring reforms to UMNO, why didn’t you do so?

In contrast, if you look at political parties in developed countries, what is happening there doesn’t apply over here. These countries are stable socially and economically because administrations are spearheaded by political parties that have integrity and ethics. It is also maybe because Party members within a certain party have only a sole purpose which is to act as a buffer between politics and interests of the society. What is happening in UMNO is the opposite. Politics are disconnected from interests of the society and politics for them are based on their selfish and self-centered attitudes.

A certain amount of party members enter UMNO not to partake in the nation-building process but to enrich themselves because UMNO is synonymous with power. With power you can do anything.

Nowadays UMNO is served as a wealth-making machine. Unlike any other political parties in matured democracies UMNO and unlike the past UMNO, at this present moment isn’t interested in creating equality and justice among the people and upholding the rule of law and principles of religion. Power is itself a powerful tool to create changes to society, but Members in UMNO crave for power for no valid reason. And these men with distorted convictions that has clinched power in UMNO themselves have corrupted UMNO.

Also, as the then Prime Minister you wanted to allow the continuation of your legacy, precisely Wawasan 2020 which encompasses the advancement and positive progression of the nation but you failed to do so. Your legacy can be continued only if you did better in grooming. You selected the wrong people in UMNO to become future leaders of the country which are now ministers and even Prime Ministers. Almost all the incompetent key players in our country’s administration are people from your UMNO presidential era.

If you were aware of the importance of continuity of efficiency and transparency in the government, you would long ago have selected people based on meritocracy and their respective convictions. Unfortunately that did not happen. When you were the Prime Minister, cabinet and GLCs appointments were based on the level of obedience towards you. Those who disagreed with you would always be left in cold-storage like the brilliant Tengku Razaleigh. Do not get me wrong, every political player must submit to their leader. Obedience is not a problem for those people who have the merits as politicians and administrators who disagreed with you. It is only because they don’t subscribe to blind obedience. It might be that these people only believe in the truth righteousness.  

I am assuming that the justification that you had acted in that way is because you didn’t want external elements to be present when charting and implementing policies. You did not want individuals preventing you from accomplishing your vision for a better nation. Although this may be a valid justification, the manner in which you had acted by associating yourself with Yes-men and apple-polishers and elevating them to higher administrative positions have caused many problems.  

One of the problems that I can rightfully mention now is the weak administration of the current government led by UMNO. These yes-men or apple polishers that I have said earlier have caused mediocrity to surround decision-making and policy-making of the country. This is because the men and women that you have chosen are nearly of no-capability and doesn’t have the required drive and passion to build the nation.

With the above being said, with all due respect, it is high time that you cease your hegemony in the political system to prevent further disruptions. Your concept of protecting your own legacy itself is distorted. I suggest that you leave the people in power to administer the country according to their own respective ways, rightfully.

Remember, if Tun Razak did as what his successors did, you wouldn’t be “Mahathir” in the first place.