How the DAP rode on Mahathir to evoke Islamophobia

“The DAP worked hard to widen the rift between Khairy and Mukhriz and constantly referred to the former as “Mahathir’s political son.” While all that went on, a strange new team of cyber troopers emerged from out of nowhere, crept into the social media and began censuring Abdullah’s Islam Hadhari approach. The Chinese were told that Hadhari was made to ‘appear’ progressive and dynamic so that the community would be tricked into supporting the Islamic State concept”

Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen

When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad resigned as Prime Minister in 2003, the majority of the Chinese, Malays and Indians heaved a huge sigh of relief and rejoiced the death of Mahathirism. They put their differences aside and came together a year later to deliver Barisan Nasional the biggest ever electoral victory the county had seen. Almost everyone was happy to see that “the age of darkness” had finally come to an end. People were optimistic that Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi had what it took to weed out the corrupt practices that greased Mahathir’s 22 years as Prime Minister. The DAP, however, was forced to take a back seat, as something told Lim Kit Siang that the Chinese were willing to give Abdullah all the time and space he needed to chart the course towards a truly unified Malaysia.

And he was right.


Not only did the Chinese believe Abdullah was humble, honest and corrupt-free, they felt that the MCA could get its way around him and seek middle ground with UMNO on a wide range of Malay-Chinese issues. All this meant Abdullah was on his way to becoming the first Prime Minister to be genuinely loved by the Chinese. Prospects of that happening did not go down too well with Mahathir, who began to see that Kit Siang’s step back served only to accelerate Abdullah’s rise to glory. It bothered Mahathir that PAS itself was willing to accommodate an Abdullah leadership on grounds that the ulamas trusted in him. Every indicator pointed to the idea that Abdullah would end up becoming the most powerful Prime Minister the country had ever seen and the man who’d end up uniting the Chinese and Malays for good.

It is that which concerned Mahathir the  most. He knew that a powerful Abdullah would be an arrogant Abdullah and that an arrogant Abdullah would want to remain in power for a very long time. Problem is, Abdullah had a son-in-law, Khairy Jamaluddin, who was always sticking his oars into the affairs of the Prime Minister’s Office. Mahathir knew that the longer Abdullah remained in office, the higher the chance Khairy would become Prime Minister and quash Dato’ Seri Mukhriz Mahathir’s hopes of ever assuming the role. It is for this reason, above all, that he began finding fault with Abdullah and assigned a team of bloggers to make it seem as if the Kepala Batas Member of Parliament (MP) was the worst Prime Minister the country had ever seen.

And the rest, as they say, is history.

From Khairy’s meteoric rise to fame to allegations of involvement in the Iraq Oil-for-Food programme, there were countless essays on corruption and power abuse that involved the Prime Minister and members of his family. There was never a stone that Mahathir and his team left unturned. They rode on a February 2004 New York Times claim that Scomi Precision Engineering Sdn Bhd – a company that belonged to Abdullah’s son, Kamaluddin Abdullah – produced and supplied nuclear components to support Libya’s secret uranium enrichment program. They even accused Abdullah of facilitating the distribution of import permits for foreign-manufactured vehicles to cronies by negotiating terms in smoke filled rooms.

And the DAP?

Well, it was the chance of a lifetime to prove that the MCA had no control over Abdullah. Kit Siang never let up on the opportunity to rip Abdullah apart and over-exaggerate the already exaggerated accounts of corruption involving the Prime Minister. That probably added some volumes to the “10 million words” the senior Lim claims he wrote since he first entered politics. The DAP worked hard to widen the rift between Khairy and Mukhriz and constantly referred to the former as “Mahathir’s political son.” While this went on, a strange new team of cyber troopers, said to be the DAP’s, emerged from out of nowhere, crept into the social media and began questioning Islam Hadhari. The Chinese were told that Hadhari was made to ‘appear’ progressive and dynamic so that the community would be tricked into supporting the Islamic State concept.

Initially, the Chinese did not seem convinced, though it did rekindle fears Mahathir evoked in 2002 when telling Parliament that Malaysia was a “fundamentalist Islamic country.” But when Abdullah himself referred to Malaysia as an Islamic State, the social media became abuzz with claims that no matter who became Prime Minister, as long as he was from UMNO, he would support the Islamic State concept. By 2008, the Chinese were convinced that the MCA was willing to sell the community down the river as long as UMNO gave it power and money. March that year, members of the community took to the ballot box and delivered BN the biggest ever electoral tsunami the country had (then) seen. The promise of a unified Malaysian race quickly faded to a distant memory that the Chinese no longer wished to retain. And who do we have to blame for all this?

Why, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, of course.

His obsession with turning Mukhriz into Prime Minister led to multimillion dollar smear campaigns that weakened Abdullah and made it easy for the DAP to evoke the fear of Islam. Mahathir should have learned to keep his mouth shut, walk away with the billions he looted and live the life of a king. But now that he’s back, many Chinese youngsters who once thought of him as “grandfatherly” are seeing what a liar he is. Those that I know are spitting right on his face and are waiting for him to kick the bucket so that a Malay stooge can take over and do the DAP’s bidding. And to think he had the cheek to tell us that we needed to be grateful for the peace, unity and harmony we all enjoy.

Seriously, can someone please throw this fellow a cookie?

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