Mahathir – a racist or a hard right-winger?

Only for a brief spell in 2018 did he go against everything he believed in

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What’s the point in interviewing Dr Mahathir Mohamad and making police reports throughout Malaysia after what has been said? 

Why burden the police with these political matters?

To know Mahathir, just read his book The Malay Dilemma, and you will get the parasitical hard right-winger’s racial ranting of the highest order. 

But calling him an outright racist is confusing. The fact is the core premise of his many arguments is based on uplifting ‘his own race’, the ethnic Malays.

We must not ignore the fact that many politicians from various ethnicities – whether they are in the opposition or in the “unity government” – use this premise as the main narrative for their argument in support of their own community.

Mahathir started his political career as a hard right-winger, and he will not budge from this position, even to the end. 

We can’t expect him as a Malay hard right-winger to utter good things about the ethnic minorities.

He is doing what other hard right-wingers do. He will not change, because it is an innate behaviour to appraise one’s own race to a higher plane. In fact, such nasty behaviour comes naturally to them.

At times, he does wander off blissfully into the orbit of the extreme hard right. If we give him a tiny Lilliputian nudge, he will glide into the arms of fascism effortlessly. So he can blend in well with the likes of Geert Wilders of Netherlands and Marine Le Pen of France.

But in the 2018 general election, he did an unbelievable thing, a Machiavellian somersault shift to the centre. 

READ MORE:  Mahathir, what does citizenship mean to you?

Mahathir, after over two decades as prime minister, knows that the centre is the sweet spot for the ethnic minority votes.

Difficult as it was, he went ahead against everything he believed in. He must have felt uncomfortable, but it was a small price to pay. His reward was a second bite at the apple, sworn in as PM again in 2018.

Well, Machiavelli’s advice to the prince was well taken by him. About four centuries ago, Machiavelli advised his prince to be “brave as a lion and cunning or sly as a fox” as opposed to Plato’s “philosopher king”.

But, within months of assuming the PM’s post again, he flipped back to his normal self: a hard right-winger.

In sum, labelling him as a hard right-winger or a Machiavellian will be a much better identifier to use in his case than a racist.

What bothers me most is that Mahathir lacks the decency to acknowledge that many ethnic Indians, Chinese and other East Malaysians gave their lives defending our nation.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.
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Khoo Soo Hay
Khoo Soo Hay
11 Feb 2024 9.21am

That … from Kerala is power-obsessed! Even if he ascends to the clouds, he will still be seeking power from our friend, Satan.

11 Feb 2024 2.44am

… he is neither but he … cheated the country for decades !

Gram Massla
Gram Massla
9 Feb 2024 1.47pm

“One swallow does not a summer make,…” quote attributed to Aristotle.

Benedict Lopez
6 Feb 2024 12.02pm

TDM should pay a visit to this cemetery.

Somebody should remind him about the non Malays like former Perak CPO Tan Sri Khoo Chong Kong and Captain Mohana Chandran who gave their lives for their country.