Can we trust Mahathir Mohamad to be PM again? Don't bet on it

By Simon Peter
I am very much confused with the antics of leaders from PKR and DAP associating themselves with Mahathir Mohamad and his party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, just because they want to dislodge Prime Minister Najib Razak and Umno-led BN government from power in the federal government.

PKR leaders like Anwar Ibrahim and DAP leaders like Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng and the late Karpal Singh have suffered much when Mahathir was the prime minister for 22 years.

At one time or another, Kit Siang, Guan Eng and Karpal have been detained under the draconian Internal Security Act (now already abolished by PM Najib) and Anwar was jailed under trumped-up charges for sodomy.

There are other opposition leaders who have suffered under Mahathir-iron rule regime.

Who could forget the arrest and detention of Jeffrey Kitingan of Sabah for raising up the 20-Point Agreement, the Malaysia Agreement and the Inter-Governmental Committee Report?

When Mahathir was prime minister, nobody dared to raise up these issues for fear of being detained under ISA or worse accused of trying to pull Sarawak and Sabah out of Malaysia.

I am not saying Najib Razak is a saint, but at least, we are "free" to talk openly on the Malaysia Agreement and IGC Report.

I don't remember hearing anyone having been arrested and detained for talking about Sarawak's rights and autonomy under the Najib government.

Can we trust Mahathir that he would not  repeat those harsh and unreasonable treatment against his political opponents or detractors  should the opposition, led by Mahathir, comes to power after the next general election?

Don't bet on it. We better not take the chance.

Does anyone ever remember that it was Mahathir who first stated that Malaysia was not a secular state, but an Islamic state in 2002?

Speaking to lawmakers in the Malaysian parliament, Mahathir said Malaysia was an Islamic state.

Many Christian and non-Muslim leaders opposed Mahathir's statement, saying that Malaysia was founded based on the secular principle although Islam is the country's official religion.

They said that Mahathir's statement went against the assurance of the first prime minister Tunku Abdul Rahman to the leaders of Sarawak and Sabah when the negotiation to form the Federation of Malaysia was in progress.

The founding leaders from Sarawak and Sabah were adamant that Malaysia must be secular state before they agreed to sign the Malaysia Agreement in 1963.

Since then we have seen a surge in anti-Christian bashings, the latest being that of Azril Mohd Amin, CEO of the Centre for Human Rights Research and Advocacy (Centhra), who has suggested that the Christian evangelicalism in Malaysia be outlawed because it is a “dangerous movement” without producing any supporting evidence.

Who could forgive Mahathir for dismantling the judiciary in 1988.

It all started with a series of events that began with Umno elections in 1987 and ended with the suspension and the eventual removal of the Lord President of the Supreme Court, Tun Salleh Abas, from his seat.

The Supreme Court in the years leading up to 1988 had been increasingly independent of the other branches of the government.

Matters then came to a head when Mahathir, who believed in the supremacy of the executive and legislative branches, became Prime Minister.

It was also around this time that not being able to endure ‘the various comments and accusations made by Mahathir against the Judiciary, not only outside but within Parliament, Salleh Abas following a meeting with about 20 judges, including Hamid Omar, decided to sent a letter to the King and the State Rulers on March 26, 1988.

Following this letter, Mahathir reacted and this led to the  removal of Salleh Abas as Lord President on August 8, 1988  by the King based on the recommendation of the Tribunal chaired by the then Chief Justice Hamid Omar.

Thereafter, based on the recommendations of a Second Tribunal chaired by Edgar Joseph Jr which was set up to look into the conduct of five Supreme Court Judges, the King on October 4, 19888 ordered the dismissal of Supreme Court Judges  Wan Suleiman and George Seah.

Many saw his eventual sacking of Salleh Abas and two other Supreme Court judges as the end of judicial independence in Malaysia, and Mahathir's actions were condemned internationally.

Mahathir has a habit of openly criticising and condemning every Malaysian prime ministers, from the Tunku to Najib, except himself.

Unable to unseat Najib within Umno, he switched to the opposition with a hope to see Najib defeated in the coming general election.

Unlike the tame Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Mahathir finds Najib a tough nut to crack. Of course, Mahathir joins the bandwagon in accusing Najib of being corrupt and scandalous.

But can we forget him for handing over the country's prized government-linked companies into the hands of his few cronies?

Malaysia Airlines (MAS) was a profitable company, making hundreds of millions of profit every year, before his crony friend took it over.

MAS went into deep financial trouble due to mismanagement because a person who took it over has no experience in an airline business.

Since then, MAS has never recovered from the mess Mahathir has created.

There are so many messes that Mahathir has left as his legacies.

So, do we still trust him?

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