DR M unearths old letters to rebut his former number two's memoir 'Frankly Speaking'.
1. Out of curiosity I read Musa’s book “Frankly Speaking”. I agree entirely with what he says about me. Of course I was a dictator for 22 years, requiring everyone to be absolutely loyal to me. The Majlis Tertinggi of UMNO and the Cabinet were quite dumb as I was the only one to speak. They merely nod their heads and shout yes.
2. I agree that Musa’s resignation had nothing to do with Tengku Razaleigh. To prove this I append two letters written by Musa to me about his support for the appointment of T.R. as Minister of Trade and Industry. I cannot uphold his desire for secrecy as he speaks frankly, implying he has nothing to hide.
3. Incidentally I would like to point out that all dictators, Hitler, Mussolini and Stalin, resigned voluntarily like I did. The mystery was how I managed to be elected five times. But now we know that elected Prime Ministers can also be dictators. There really was no mystery.
4. It is a pity. If I had been defeated by T.R., we would be able to see the close friendly relation between T.R. and Musa in the Government. The country would probably become fully developed by 2000 or earlier.
5. We missed a great opportunity.
6. To see how truthful Musa’s frank story about himself please read his two letters. The copy of the original is not legible. So I have printed the contents. You can compare.
APPENDIX1: TR IN THE CABINET
YAB Dato Seri Dr Mahathir bin Mohamed (sic)
Perdana Menteri Malaysia,
TR in the Cabinet
This letter is written with a very heavy heart and the greatest reluctance.
I did think that you were merely testing TR, quite confident that he would not accept it , until I learnt of your offer of the new Ministries to him.
His acceptance of Trade and Industry will carry the following implications :-
He shall use it to the full by giving out the following perks to his followers and would-be followers – import permits (cars, materials, etc.) licenses for business (MTI looks after Registrar of Companies); licenses and control/supervision of manufacturing ventures.
He shall have a very strong hold on the take-overs, purchases, distributions, approvals over companies wanting to divest or transfer shares either ordinarily or to comply to the NEP.
He shall choose, recommend, suggest Malaysian (Malay, more important) partners to foreign investors wishing to invest in Malaysia.
He shall control the licencing and supervision of the distributive trade
He shall choose, recommend, suggest names of individuals for distribution of shares.
He shall not only continue to have the support of the monied group but widen it greatly to the general business (Malay especially) community.
PATRONAGE would be aplenty to those of his choice. And MON DIEU! He shall have the greatest opportunity ever to prepare himself for his political future even better than Finance! Finance only give him prestige, influence and the ability to give tenders, licences etc. to a very limited top lucky few who would use their influence to get support for him.
But MTI would give him direct access to the actual UMNO voters in the widest way ever! Please remember he is not you, Hussein Onn, Tun Dr Ismail, Hamzah or Tengku Din, to mention past Ministers! Just as in Finance, he shall politicize the Ministry for his personal interest.
Personally, while in Finance he had been very difficult and I could only intervene in the most urgent/important circumstances. So was it, I believe, with you. In MTI, I would personally be rendered almost ineffective and whatever influence I could already assert on MTI so far, very crucial for NEP etc. shall certainly be blunted whichever way you look at it. But more important, the other Ministers would again have to seek his patronage and …. well, I cannot possibly go further without being accused by you as going into a tantrum and being irrational!
Before your final decision, I feel it now absolutely dutibound to remind you of the above. Personally, even though I never had done this before, with the greatest respect, I would like to register my strongest views against TR’s appointment at MTI.
Assuming that you go ahead with the appointment, I would have to review my own plans in a much hastier manner, which I would like to discuss with you after the announcement.
I would like vehemently to assure you that I have no intention of upsetting your administration and, as I said beginning this letter, I am doing this with a heavy heart. I am sure that events in the coming years will prove me right. For God’s sake, do ponder over my points and do remind yourself of the type of personality you are dealing with.
Again God Bless us all. God Bless you.
(DATO’ MUSA HITEM (sic))
5 Julai, 1984 (sic)
APPENDIX2: NOTA KEPADA PERDANA MENTERI
31hb Julai 1984
YAB Perdana Menteri
Berasas kepada percakapan-percakapan kita dalam jangka masa beberapa bulan lepas dan surat saya bertarikh 5hb Julai 1984, a salah Saya dengan perasaan begitu keberatan dan dukacitanya memaklumkan bahawa saya bercadang bersara daripada memegang jawatan Timbalan Perdana Menteri bermula daripada 1hb Ogos 1985. Keputusan saya ini adalah muktamad.
Saya members “notis” Selamat satu tahun ini sekarang-mata bertujuan supaya Saudara akan dapat membuat apa-apa jua proses pengambil alih dengan secara licin dan teratur olih (sic) sesiapa jua yang Saudara akan pilih nanti mengambil tempat saya.
Surat ini sengaja saya tikis dengan tangan sendiri untuk menjaga rahsia nya. Sementara itu, saya akan terus menjalan kan tugas seolah olah keadaan biasa.
Oleh sebab perlunya keputusan saya ….not legible…. bersetuju dengan hakikat ini bermakna saya tidak boleh berbuat sesuatu persediaan bagi kepentingan sara hidup saya selepas bersara kelak. Olih itu, saya memohon supaya Saudara memberi saya cuti sebelum bersara selama tiga bulan bermula 1hb Mei 1985 atau mana-mana tarikh sesuai bagi memboleh kan saya “menggulung tikar” dan mencari apa-apa kerja untuk menampung sara hidup saya kelak.
Saya sangat insaf atas segala implikasi keputusan saya ini.
Sekiranya Saudara memutuskan saya perlu dihenti kan lebih awal lagi, saya serahlah kepada kebijaksanaan Saudara sendiri. ineligible.
Saya akan menulis surat rasmi pada masa yang sesuai nanti.