Mahathir’s father taught him to hate aristocrats

“Mahathir was born to the family of Mohamad bin Iskandar Kutty, a man of Keralan descent who despised aristocrats just the way his ancestors did. Being the first Indian community to embrace communism, Keralans are opposed to members of Indian royalty who typically refer to themselves as the descendants of Gods”

THE THIRD FORCE

One of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s biggest grouses against the late Tunku Abdul Rahman was the latter’s penchant for spending leisure hours at bars, dance lounges and golf courses. During his first term as parliamentarian for the Kuala Kedah constituency, Mahathir confided in his peers that the Tunku’s mannerisms was “what you’d expect from a member of Royalty born with a golden spoon in his mouth.”

As a matter of fact, it wasn’t just Mahathir, but his own father, Mohamad bin Iskandar Kutty (fondly referred to as Master Mohamad), who had problems with the Tunku. Back in the 1910’s, the Tunku was a ‘spoilt brat’ who would impress upon schoolmates that he was the son of a ruler and needed to be revered. Very often, during recess, the young Tunku would parade around the school grounds accompanied by ‘loyalists’ who would demand ‘sembah’ (obeisance) from other pupils.

Master Mohamad was a headmaster at the “Government English School” (or GES, later renamed Kolej Sultan Abdul Hamid) where the Tunku studied. At one point, he was forced to approach the Tunku’s mother to seek her ‘permission’ to discipline her son. Mahathir’s dad found it most annoying that the young Tunku would arrive to school on the shoulders of an aged and hunching palace attendant “who seemed as if his life was draining from him.”

As a matter of fact, he would often find the Tunku loitering around the school compound garbed in a gold-laced scarf (typical of the Keralan Manja Thunni) along with other palace regalia. In the Tunku’s memoir’s (as they were related to a former historian, unpublished), he confessed to joking with Mahathir one day about how Master Mohamad had disciplined him before expressing “shock” at Mahathir’s reply.

“That joker had the cheek to tell me right on my face that his father reminded him every other day not to become arrogant like me. The cheek of him…”

That, according to Tunku, may have been the primary reason why Mahathir detested the aristocratic class “to a degree that was so perplexing.”

“I often asked (Tunku) Abdullah what had gotten into that Paki (bursts into laughter).”

Yes, “that Paki.”

The Tunku, who traced his ancestry to the Thais through his mother, often joked about how persons of Indian heritage – particularly the Keralans – were a cunning breed of “Manja Thunnis” (an old Keralan reference to a yellow/golden laced cloth, worn by traditional Keralans around the waist). The Tunku was probably referring to tales of Keralan assassins who would sneak up on their enemies from behind before strangling them with “Manja Thunnis.”

“He found out about it and asked Abdullah, who then asked me if the rumour was true that I referred to him as “that Paki” and spoke of Manja Thunnis. Abdullah related to me that the Kedah boy was slighted by it and felt it unbecoming of me to do that. Ah…the sensitive brat…”

According to the Tunku, Mahathir often confided in Abdullah that the Tunku was a hypocrite for invoking his (Mahathir’s) Indian lineage, a secret Abdullah kept with Mahathir and, as the Tunku put it, “probably even the guy who sold chendol, who knows…but I knew.”

Yes, ladies and gentlemen.

Once upon a time, Mahathir used to confide in a certain Tunku Abdullah bin Tuanku Abdul Rahman – a flamboyant playboy and member of the Negeri Sembilan Royal family – that he had no qualms “with his Indian heritage” and wished the Tunku (Tunku Abdul Rahman) would “see people beyond their skin colour and ancestry.”

“That Mahathir never forgave me for being a kid born to a rich family. I was just being a kid, born with a golden spoon in my mouth. It wasn’t my fault. I was a spoilt brat, and Master Mohamad half-fixed me. Bloody hell, he (Mahathir) wasn’t even born then.”

The Tunku may have been right.

The fact is, Mahathir was born to the family of Mohamad bin Iskandar Kutty, a man of Keralan descent who despised aristocrats just the way his ancestors did. Being the first Indian community to embrace communism, Keralans are opposed to members of Indian royalty who typically refer to themselves as the descendants of Gods.

Mahathir was probably indoctrinated to despise aristocrats the way his father did. So perplexing was his detest for rulers, in 1992, he emasculated the Monarchical institution just to turn his administration into a full-fledged dictatorship. If there is one thing the former premier can never tolerate, it is the idea of an aristocrat leading the country beyond his natural lifespan.

And that is one reason why he wants Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak removed as Prime Minister at all cost, as soon as possible.

To be continued…

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