I am sure Dr Mahathir would agree that the New Economic Policy (NEP) has failed to achieve its target; but who failed the NEP? He had 22 years to fix the inequality that existed back then, but now, he is saying that there is a wider gap between the rich non-Malays and the poor Malays!
TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in an interview with Noel Lim of BFM, said that he did not care to leave behind a legacy.
I beg to differ with the former prime minister. His is a legacy of dictatorship during his first 22 years as premier and of betrayal, during his tenure as prime minister a second time.
When he joined Pakatan Harapan (PH), he needed the coalition more than the coalition needed him. Against all analyses done, I think PH won mainly because of the shift in the voting pattern of East Malaysians.
We all knew that if not because of the seats won in both Sabah and Sarawak, PH would not have enough seats to form the federal government.
Dr Mahathir has forgotten that it is the people who voted for PH, not him. His own party, Bersatu only won a few seats. If he thinks that he can still win the next general election, I dare him to contest again.
Going back to 2016, although I was one of the first few who came forward to salute the former Umno president’s decision to join PH, I had one clause attached to it.s
In March 2016, I wrote: “Most of us would agree that Dr Mahathir would be one despicable old man if he chose to ignore carrying out some serious institutional reforms after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has been removed.”
What I said about him back then has come true, that he “would probably go down in history as a sly fox who can never be trusted.” To many of us, he could have gone down to history as a statesman, but the public opinion appears to have shifted.
Claiming to fight for Malay rights, he is now ostracised the most in social media linked to Umno, the party that he helmed for many years. In other social media, too, I do not see anyone praising him a bit.
He had not only humiliated the Malays by labelling them as ‘forgetful’ but pitching them against the other races who have to work their guts out to just earn a decent living. This has been his narrative throughout his political career, and he has not changed, judging from the one-hour breakfast grill on BFM.
This narrative that Dr Mahathir has been using is most unhealthy for a nation that is multiracial, and coming from a prime minister himself, is simply unthinkable. He has forgotten that poverty exists in every society regardless of race, and the worst of the lot are, in fact, the Bumiputra of Sabah and Sarawak.
While Dr Mahathir’s children have emerged as among the richest men in the country, driving expensive cars and living in luxurious mansions, how can he claim to be against nepotism, while thousands if not hundreds of thousands of Malays are now scraping the bottom of the barrel?
Many of the Chinese and Indian career-oriented citizens of this country are still caught in the middle-income trap, whereas their counterparts in Singapore have become better off financially. Today, the Singapore dollar is three times of the Ringgit.
When Mirzan Mahathir’s debt-laden Konsortium Perkapalan Bhd (KPB) was in trouble, did Dr Mahathir stop Petronas money from being used to buy over the shares of KPB? No? If not, why not?
For 57 years, the Government had the opportunity to lift the standard of living for majority of the Malays, but till today, many of them are still struggling to survive with some taking two jobs just to feed the family.
One cannot help but admire the hard working young men who are now working as delivery boys; so what happened to their economic wellbeing after all these years?
Into whose pockets did the country’s wealth and taxpayers’ money go? Why is it that for every major contract, there are so many levels of middlemen, and by the time it reaches the sub-contractors, there is left only the bones to be chewed?
I am sure Dr Mahathir would agree that the New Economic Policy (NEP) has failed to achieve its target; but who failed the NEP?
He had 22 years to fix the inequality that existed back then, but now, he is saying that there is a wider gap between the rich non-Malays and the poor Malays!
I think this is just an excuse that he uses in order to cover his own failures. And, in the next 50 years, after he is gone, the people to benefit from the NEP are not the B40 Bumiputra, but the top 20 percent elites.
Turning 96 very soon, the unrepentant nonagenarian should realise that this country has become what it is today because of his own legacy. I need not say too much about it, as net citizens have been actively commenting about him.
What I see now is that he is reaping what he had sown. Complaining that Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin had betrayed him, he is simply being recompensed for his one act of betrayal to the people who gave PH the mandate to rule the country.
So to say that he does not care for his own legacy, in some sense, he is right; but the truth is that he will leave behind a bad legacy for any politician who chooses to take his path. – April 27, 2021
Stephen Ng is an ordinary Malaysian who speaks the voice of conscience to the nation since 2008. He is a media consultant and an author of over 10 books.