LETTER | Last week, in an interview with the Financial Times, Dr Mahathir Mohammad expressed that he will not step down as Malaysia’s prime minister until he has resolved the problems facing the country.
But Dr Mahathir, the biggest problem we face right now may very well be you.
When the Pakatan Harapan coalition dethroned BN in a dramatic victory in 2018, many were convinced that Dr Mahathir was just the man we needed. After all, what’s better than a familiar face to enable a smooth transition?
Sure, there were those that feared Dr Mahathir’s talk of being a "new man" for a "New Malaysia" was pure rhetoric, those that feared he had not changed from the kleptocratic and Malay-favouring ways of his past.
After all, he was purely the prime minister assisting in the transitional phase. As soon as Pakatan Harapan was steady, Anwar Ibrahim would step in with new ideas and new visions.
But here we are, not only does it seem Dr Mahathir will hold on to his power seat till his knuckles are black and blue, but his second round as prime minister has been a tremendous disappointment.
First off, we have his constant pandering to the Malay majority in an effort to secure their vote. He squashed Pakatan Harapan’s promise to get rid of Affirmative Action - the policy which ensures preferential treatment to the ethnic Malay majority - and he has made several racist remarks including claiming that Malays were forced to accept orang asing (foreigners) during British rule in exchange for independence, a blatant blow to non-Malays living in the country.
Despite Dr Mahathir’s cringe-worthy efforts at scoring support, even the Malay community has seen through his charade and their support drops by the day.
Then we have his inability to keep to his word. He pledged that he would uproot government corruption and act with total transparency, yet he has made many important decisions by himself without consultation, including appointing the head of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (the irony is not lost on us). He pledged to ratify the UN treaty against racial discrimination and repeal the Sedition Act, but he failed on both accounts. He has also pledged to hand over power to Anwar after two years.
Last but not least, we have his constant meddling in other countries’ business as if Malaysia does not have enough problems of its own.
He meddled with China when he suggested Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam to quit. It doesn’t take a genius to understand that meddling with China is a bad idea.
He meddled with India when he claimed that they “invaded and occupied” Kashmir, causing major tension and encouraging Indian businesses to avoid purchasing palm oil from Malaysia. Palm oil is one of our most valuable exports and India is (was) one of our best customers.
And don’t get me even get started with the Zakir Naik situation.
So, when I watch videos in which Dr Mahathir states that “they want me to solve the problems before I step down”, I wonder which “they” he is referring to because I know that most Malaysians want Dr Mahathir to step aside. Gracefully and immediately.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.