Cowards — all in the family

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Mahathir dreaming
Mahathir's views are obsolete and frozen in a bygone era of Old Politics

It was Shakespeare who said that cowards die many times before their death. It appears that in Malaysian politics, this saying also rings true – but with a twist, as our special correspondent observes.

Mahathir dreaming

Dr M saw it fit to call his once anointed successor to Abdullah Badawi a coward for being a ‘yes-man’and constantly saying “saya sokong”to his boss.

Apparently, over the last fifty years UMNO gave birth to many cowards, nurtured them and sustained them through corruption to demonstrate at all times unquestioning loyalty to the party leadership.

Shafee Yahaya’s sworn testimony regarding Dr M’s abuse of power was given on 12 June 2000. Dr M had the opportunity between 12 June 2000, and 8 August 2000 to give under oath his version of what transpired. It may be construed that he was a coward for not having done so. Instead he relied on “government agencies” staffed by his chosen “kangaroos” to clear him of any wrong-doing.

Just imagine, the police carried out a thorough investigation into the testimony of Shafee by 15 February 2000! The papers were submitted to the AG and the case was closed. QED. What efficiency by the police, what honesty, what integrity.

Dr M proved that he was telling the ‘truth’ and nothing but the ‘truth’ about what happened during the 1988 Judicial Crisis when he appeared before the Royal Commission investigating the “Lingam” video clip. His standard answers “No”, “I don’t know”, and his arrogant “I don’t have to answer that” convinced Malaysian he was indulging in “terminological inexactitude”. Dr M claims that he always speaks the truth. Remember his saying that Anwar’s black eye was self-inflicted! More recently, he claimed that his very trustworthy lawyer, Lingam, was videotaped for blackmail purposes. There are many examples in politics, both local and international, of the impossibility for serial liars to change their ways.

The Asli Report was the product of thorough research by eminent and reputable academicians led by Dr Lim Teck Ghee. Mukhriz had gone through the Report and had agreed to its release; when the Report was made public he was overseas. Umno, led-by Najib, criticised the Report for having used the wrong criteria to calculate Malay equity.

When this happened, Mukhriz proved his bravery by disassociating himself from the Report. He was clearly a yes-man’ and said “saya sokong” to Najib’s arguments. Dr Lim Teck Ghee stood by everything in the Report and had no alternative but to resign.

It was Shakespeare who said that cowards die many times before their death. It appears that in Malaysian politics, given the trend of electing father-son, husband-wife, father-in-law-son-in-law combinations, whole families can die many times before their death.

Originally published in aliran.com on 3 May 2008

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