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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Dr M has veered into the path of personal agenda



When a leader comes to power in a time of emergency, he is called on to follow a rigorous and strict agenda with the single aim of fixing and restructuring a broken society. That was the task of Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad when he and his Pakatan Harapan coalition emerged victorious in the 2018 Malaysian elections.
The country was certainly in a state of chaos- a combination of the monstrous 1MDB "state fund" scandal that stole billions of taxpayers' money and the excruciating tensions between ethnicities within the country.
The majority decided to put their faith in the 93-year-old leader, trust in his experience and believed in his repetitive pledges to weed out corruption, improve the economy, encourage a unified Malaysia that values all its citizens.
So why does it seem that Mahathir has not only gotten side-tracked but has totally veered off the path since he stepped into the power seat?

A new leader has a set window for implementing reforms - a time when approval ratings are still buoyant and the country expects some shake-ups. But so far, we have not seen Mahathir take any of these opportunities.
Affirmative action, the policy which ensures a preferential treatment to the ethnic Malay majority, hinders innovation and turns off foreign investors is still up and running. The Sedition Act- an archaic policy hindering free speech and encouraging censorship, is still being used and abused. And racial tension between the Malays, Indians and Chineses Malaysians is still high.
Where is Mahathir? And why is he not deep-diving into the complex fabric of the Malaysian problems he swore to repair?
Tun M is busy, you see. He is giving his outspoken opinions on New Delhi’s actions, criticising the Indian government for having “invaded and occupied” Kashmir.
He is calling for the resignation of Hong Kong’s chief executive Carri Lam amidst the ongoing protests there.
He is making plans, important plans, to open an embassy accredited to Palestine in Jordan with the aim of aiding the country and its plight.
He is keeping Zakir Naik safe and sound, providing him with a haven in Malaysia and making sure he is not exported where he will face an "unfair" trial in India.
Mahathir is revelling in his position, one which allows him to make bold statements and air his opinion from a podium of power, rather than dealing with the important Malaysian mess on the ground.
Let’s not forget, some of these so-called bold statements are hurting rather than helping Malaysia both in terms of national unity and the economy. His Malay-centric rhetoric and position on Zakir Naik have the non-Malay population worried while his out-of-place criticism on India is threatening the palm oil industry, Malaysia’s main export.
I expect these kinds of unsolicited and myopic rants from my grandpa after a long day while he smokes his pipe and sits on his rocking chair, I do not expect it from our prime minister. I also do not expect him to be busying himself with the plight of the those in Kashmir, the Palestinians, Zakir Naik, or any other group or individual no matter how legitimate the cause - he has a country to run, one with enough of its own problems to tackle.
Mahathir has left the difficult path of fulfilling his electoral promises, for the path of personal agenda. We can only pray he gets back on track, before he travels into dangerous territory, dragging Malaysia along with him.  - Mkini

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