Tuesday, July 10, 2012

‘Mahathirism’ is alive and well

By Ali Kadir
JULY 9, 2012 — How sweet is this irony? Dr Mahathir Mohamad is frightened of “Mahathirism” and is trying his best to announce its death to all and sundry.
I just read a report of the former prime minister denying Lim Kit Siang’s assertion that he was trying to revive “Mahathirism”.
Dr Mahathir said that his favourite punching bag, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, ended all vestiges of his style of rule and, therefore, it was wrong to talk about a revival of “Mahathirism”.
As usual, the doctor is “too modest”. This is what “Mahathirism” is:
1) A complete hollowing out of the country’s proud institutions, with the chief casualty being the judiciary.
Recent examples: Excessive use of force by police against own citizens and reporters and the power grab in Perak.
2) Complete absence of the separation of powers, and check and balances among the different branches of government.
Recent example: The new chief secretary to government Ali Hamsa declaring that civil servants should support Barisan Nasional.
3) Poor governance/abuse of power/mega project cum mega failure.
Recent example: The National Feedlot Corporation scandal.
4) Cronyism/nepotism/lack of transparency.
Recent example: A company owned by friend of PM said to be in running for Ampang LRT contract despite being not qualified. A connected lawyer and former CJ get a RM2.2 billion road job. The list goes on and on.
5) Use of power of state to intimidate the opposition.
Recent examples: Charging Anwar Ibrahim and others for Bersih 3.0, and now starting a witch hunt against Rafizi Ramli, the man who has exposed BN’s wrongdoings.
6) Spineless media that only glorifies BN’s leaders.
Recent examples: Just read any mainstream newspaper.
7) Disdain for free expression and debate.
Recent example: Dr Mahathir saying that debating was not part of our culture.
Basically, I don’t need Kit Siang to state the obvious: “Mahathirism” is alive and thriving.

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