Dr Mahathir Mohamad was not the first Malaysian leader to put our country on the world map. That honour goes to the late Tun Abdul Razak, Malaysia’s second premier and Mahathir’s onetime mentor. Razak opened the eyes of the west when he became the first ASEAN leader to have the guts to extend his hand in friendship to China in a deep and meaningful way. Mahathir swooped in almost a decade later and shifted our country’s gaze to the east in a bid to destroy Razak’s legacy once and for all.
But didn’t Mahathir confess that he owned a debt of gratitude to Razak?
Yes, he did.
But he also told us that tolls would be abolished the minute Pakatan Harapan (PH) came into power. As a matter of fact, he told us that the previous Attorney-General (AG), Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, had completed investigations into 1MDB and had sufficient evidence to throw Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak under the bus. And let’s not forget the fuss he made when Gani was sacked in 2015 upon discovery that he (Gani) fabricated a charge sheet together with the MACC’s Tan Sri Abu Kassim. Mahathir insisted that the charge sheet was legit and could be used to incarcerate the son of Razak.
Well, where is the charge sheet now?
It’s been three months since Barisan Nasional (BN) lost the 14th general election (GE14). PH is already in power, but Najib has yet to be charged on any count directly related to the RM2.6 billion that ended in his personal bank account. All we’ve been hearing about is Najib did this, Najib did that, nothing even remotely related to the RM2.6 billion that Mahathir swore heaven and earth “was the albatross around Najib’s neck.” So what happened to all the evidence Gani was supposed to have accumulated against the former premier?
Did he burn it?
Mahathir says a lot of things he never really means. On the 26th of August 2018, I published part one of a four part interview that an American gentleman named Mark Ruffalo conducted in Kuala Lumpur. During the interview, I exposed Mahathir’s innate aversion towards the aristocrats in a very detailed and systematic manner. Basically, Mahathir hated Razak for a variety of reasons, each one of them having everything to do with the late premier’s aristocratic lineage. Razak probably never knew anything about it as Mahathir was careful never to cross-swords with him. The former-premier-turned-premier-again was desperate to become Prime Minister and knew that Razak’s patience wasn’t without limits.
For one, Razak was intolerant of those who stepped over others just to get ahead in the political rat race. For another, he never condoned the idea of one speaking ill of anyone even if the information one was conveying happened to be the truth. There are pros and cons to such virtues, as many of those closest to the late Ghaffar Baba would probably be able to tell you. One of the cons happens to be the fact that nobody dared tell Razak what Mahathir was all about. But if you ask me, the late premier was probably fortunate enough not to have discovered Mahathir’s darkest side during his lifetime.
His son, however, is not.
Najib probably has a very good idea by now what Mahathir is made of and knows just how bottomless his “vengeance pit” is. He can tell you for sure that the Prime Minister will do whatever it takes to destroy him before the time comes for him (Mahathir) to kick the bucket. But regardless what Najib thinks, if things are done right, I can tell you with an absolute degree of certainty that he can and will return as Prime Minister of Malaysia by or before 2022, no questions asked.
What? Najib returning as Prime Minister?
There are many doors leading to the path. I have been engaging with several distinguished thinkers both local and foreign on the state of affairs in our country. Almost all of us agree that Najib can make a comeback if he so desires. But we also agreed, after much deliberation, that UMNO and BN has unknowingly locked the door to that path.
UMNO’s comprehension of history is as limited as the Tunku wanted it to be. The former premier told early historians to keep things diplomatic so as not to offend party aristocrats and elders. It is for this reason, above all, that everybody thinks fifties and sixties UMNO was all about Malay nationalism and upholding the dignity of the Malays. But that is not quite how a certain group of Young Turks led by Mahathir saw and discussed things behind the Tunku’s back. The Tunku eventually came to know what they were up to but left many details untold for a great number of reasons.
As long as our politicians do not understand these reasons, they will never be able to appreciate the ‘colours’ they unwittingly projected to the rakyat and will forever be out of sync with the people. It will take a helluva lot of reflection and rethinking on their part to understand what went wrong and how the situation can be reversed. Many aren’t aware how Mahathir took advantage of the Tunku’s version of history to turn young party leaders against the aristocrats and the elders.
Why not explain this?
What’s the point?
Have you seen how some UMNO leaders have been treating Najib lately? Do you see Dato’ Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi actively defending our former Prime Minister? Almost everyone in UMNO hasn’t the faintest idea what he (or she) is doing and is taking his (or her) supporters down the garden path. They’re too egotistical and unwilling to admit that they haven’t a clue what’s going on in the country. They’re too busy leveraging on the party’s predicament to shine their own stars at the vanguard of national politics.
They’re not aware, that the longer they persist with these attitudes, the lower they’re sinking the party edifice. They are too obsessed with their ‘self-worth’ to appreciate the fact that they’re washouts and the byproducts of Mahathir Incorporated.
Well, it was more of corporate-capitalization, but yes.
During Razak’s era, UMNO was UMNO. It was all about the welfare of Felda settlers (who I’ll speak more about in an upcoming article) and the elimination of race identification through economic function. When Mahathir came, he turned it into UMNO Sdn Bhd and made the party a subsidiary of Mahathir Incorporated. He knew that the aristocrats were too rich and accustomed to principles of “arbitrary authority” and “succession by kinship” to be bothered with the Young Turks. He felt that the party’s younger echelons needed to be corrupted to a point that they would worship money more than they would the aristocrats.
“With money, you could get the young leaders to literally tell the party elders to (go) fly kites,” said the Tunku.
And that’s precisely what happened. But I’ll speak more of that in an upcoming part of this series. For now, lest some reader suddenly claim that I made public something that was kept hidden all this while, I was being sarcastic when I spoke of UMNO Sdn Bhd and Mahathir Incorporated. But you get the idea – Mahathir turned UMNO into his UMNO, as opposed to the late Razak, who ensured that UMNO wasn’t just for the Malays, but for the people.
What triggered Mahathir’s hatred for the aristocrats?
During the interview I spoke of earlier, I remember telling Mark of Mahathir’s father, the late Master Iskandar, and how his family bore strong anti-aristocratic traits. Master Iskandar traced his ancestry to Kerala, a place in India where inhabitants are largely communists and anti-aristocratic. You can read part one of the interview by tracing the link I provided below this article to understand just how anti-aristocratic the late Master Iskandar was. Suffice to say, Mahathir began displaying most of his father’s idiosyncrasies and blamed the Tunku’s ancestors for being stupid enough to hand over Penang and (the then) Province Wellesley to the British.
An excerpt from the interview reads:
“He (Mahathir) felt that the brighter Tunku would have been better off as the Yang di-Pertuan Agong and head of Islam instead of being the Prime Minister of Malaysia. He believed that the concept of succession by kinship as practiced by rulers was outmoded and reflective of ancient Hindu cultures that did not apply to Muslims. He seemed to think that a prince who knew he was next in line of would generally be lazy and sink to a level of stupidity that disqualified him from being the head of Islam.
“The late Tunku was the sixth…or was it the seventh…son of the late Sultan Abdul Hamid. The fact that he would never get to be ruler despite being wise, liberal and highly educated irritated Mahathir to the utmost degree. Mahathir felt that the palaces were breeding grounds for “intellectually backward” aristocrats who, upon becoming members of UMNO, brought along with them a culture of kinship and arbitrary authority. But when the Tunku became party president, Mahathir clung to a glimer of hope, confident that the culture of aristocracy would gradually dissipate into thin air.
“None of that happened though.
“As time went by, Mahathir saw that the Tunku was beholden to party elders who, for the most part, comprised aristocrats and village heads who were set in their feudalistic ways. The Tunku’s reluctance to reform their mindsets disillusioned Mahathir considerably. He began to believe that an aristocrat, no matter how educated or wise, would always have that chip on his shoulder and would forever retain some degree of “aristocratic stupidity.” Somewhere along the way, towards independence, Mahathir became absolutely disgusted with the late Tun Abdul Razak for insisting in 1951 that the Tunku be nominated for the post of UMNO president.”
And that’s why Mahathir hated Razak?
I am 44 years of age. There is no way on earth I could have known all this unless I have access to information left behind by someone who knew the late Tunku in person. The Tunku saw what was coming for UMNO. Some years before his death, he told that someone this:
“This fellow (Mahathir) told his friends that he needed 18 – 20 years to transform the country. He wants to be Prime Minister. I think he will make it by 1982.”
The Tunku even predicted that Mahathir would become Prime Minister at the age of 57, live up to the age of 86 and retain his premiership until the year 2001. He added that the son of Master Iskandar would plant the seeds of destruction in UMNO to ensure that the party would not survive beyond his lifespan. According to the Tunku, Mahathir did not believe that the culture of aristocracy could be eradicated from UMNO and confided in his friends that the party needed to die with him.
“He will end it (UMNO) by destroying the son of Razak. He knows (that), like his father, he (the son of Razak) will work with China and antagonise the west. Mahathir will (then) work with the west to destroy the son of Razak” (Tunku Abdul Rahman, 1979)
How can Najib make a comeback?
This article is getting long.
To answer that, I’ll publish parts two and three of my interview with Mark where I speak quite extensively about Felda, ZOPFAN, the late Barry Wain and a host of other stuff. But the answer isn’t what some of you who know me and have spoken to me may think it is.
To be continued….