Dr Mahathir Mohamad is the ‘last person’ who can steer Malaysia as it enters into unchartered political territories, says a Malaysian politician.
In a blistering attack on the two-time former Prime Minister of Malaysia who is again being projected to helm the Malaysian government, DAP lawmaker Ramkarpal Singh said he regretted ever working with the 93-year old leader.
“You are why this country is today. You are why this country needs reform,” the often outspoken Ramkarpal said in Facebook entry today (Oct 20).
The criticism against Dr Mahahtir were definitely more blunt and direct than most fellow members of the Democratic Action Party (DAP), which was part of the Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government after a surprise victory in the 2018 general elections.
His brother, Gobind Singh Deo, was made a minister – the first Sikh federal government minister in the world aside from India and Canada – under a government then led by Dr Mahathir, who himself made a comeback as PM after the first 22-year stint between 1981 and 2003.
The PH government collapsed spectacularly in February 2020 when Dr Mahathir resigned as the PM, citing the loss of support from members of Bersatu, the political party that he helped to form and energise before the 2018 polls. The episode also brought a grinding halt PH plans to handover the premiership to Anwar Ibrahim.
“This man resigned as Prime Minister. He says he did so because he purportedly did not have the majority at the material time. Never mind that he didn’t bother to consult his government or cabinet. He did it his way,” wrote Ramkarpal.
Dr Mahathir’s move caught off-guard the other PH component parties – Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR), Amanah and DAP. In a surprising turn of events, Muhyddin Yassin then ended up cobbling together a coalition to become the PM.
On 17 Oct, Mahathir’s newly created vehicle Pejuang declared that it intended to nominate him for yet another stint as the PM, in a bid to ‘save the country’, until the next general election.
“The committee members have unanimously decided that Mahathir is our candidate for prime minister to replace the current prime minister pending the next general election if the country wants to be saved,” Mahathir’s political secretary Abu Bakar Yahya said in a Facebook posting.
The move was seen as yet another attempt by Dr Mahathir to deny Anwar — his former deputy PM whom he sacked in 1998 after a political falling out between the two — a chance to secure the premiership.
“Are we going to appoint the same person who promised the country that he will pass over the baton to Anwar Ibrahim at some point but to tell us today that he is wrong for the country?” asked Ramkarpal.
“The same man who promised all those reforms only to tell us he never thought he would have won the elections? I used to believe him. Today he is dead bent on a government without Anwar, which begs the question: why did you lie in the past, promising him the throne?
“I respect what you have done in the past. But you destroyed the judiciary, put countless people inside because they went against you,” he added.
Time for Sikh women to join politics, urges lawmaker Ramkarpal (Asia Samachar, 6 Aug 2019)
Gobind makes history as first Sikh minister in Malaysian Cabinet (Asia Samachar, 18 May 2018)