Malaysian Indians Today


Dr M slams PM’s sycophants in new book

Posted by chaanakyan on January 14, 2008
James Wong Wing-On | Jan 14, 08 11:50am

“Poor Malaysia!” This is the prognosis for the country from ex-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the prologue of his newly-published
book, in relation to the captaincy of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his hardcore supporters.While continuing to take potshots against his successor, he reserves some of his ire for the “sycophants” surrounding Abdullah.

In the prologue to `Dr Mahathir’s Selected Letters to World Leaders’,he writes: “It did not cross my mind that after I left (office in October 2003), there would be such a change as to make pleasing the prime minister more important than anything else.”

Referring to the state of media freedom under the Abdullah administration, Mahathir writes that news in the mainstream media is “so censored and spun by spin doctors that the prime minister cannot possibly know the feelings and frustrations of the majority of the people … fortunately for the government, Malaysians abhor violence when expressing their anger”.

He then notes: “So things must become much worse before they would show their (people’s) true feelings in any way. In the meantime, the
sycophants will continue to enjoy their day. Poor Malaysia!”.Mahathir was prime minister and Umno president for 22 years from 1981. He left office, initially undertaking not to intervene in either administrative or political matters.

When Abdullah began reversing decisions on projects such as a bridge to replace the causeway to Singapore, Mahathir came out with stinging
criticism of his leadership qualities and the `undue influence’ that his kitchen cabinet has had on policy making.On one-time protege-turned- nemesis Anwar Ibrahim – currently the PKR de facto leader – Mahathir describes the series of massive protests that the latter’s sacking inspired in 1998-1999 as an “organised anti-government agitation (that) was not a broad-based movement (but) merely the expression of frustration of an ambitious personality over losing his job”.

The book is a compilation of 71 previously confidential letters that Mahathir wrote to such world leaders as George H Bush, George W Bush,
William Jefferson `Bill’ Clinton, John Major and Jacques Chirac.

“These letters should be read in the context of the time in which they were written,” he states.

The letters are in listed in four categories – under `terrorism’, `globalisation’ , `war and conflict’ and `economic and diplomatic relations’.

`Imposed choice’

According to the editor of the collection, former Kok Lanas MP Abdullah Ahmad, Mahathir initially wanted to publish about 200 letters.However, the government only allowed 84 to be declassified and 13 were further dropped with the consent of the editor and publisher “because they are relatively unimportant” .

The editor’s introduction states that those letters withheld by the current government are actually “more noteworthy and interesting” .

“The selection, to my mind, of the letters to be released was poor.It was imposed on him (Mahathir) by the government of his successor,”
he said, adding that Mahathir is currently writing his memoirs.The editor was political secretary of premier Abdul Razak Hussein and former ambassador to the United Nations. He was detained under the Internal Security Act from 1976-1981.

In 2000, he was appointed editor-in-chief of the pro-government daily New Straits Times, but was sacked soon after the current prime minister took over the helm of the country.


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