How should we judge a government?

In Malaysia, if you don't watch television or read newspapers, you are uninformed; but if you do, you are misinformed!

"If you're not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing." - Malcolm X

Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience - Mark Twain

Why we should be against censorship in a court of law: Publicity is the very soul of justice … it keeps the judge himself, while trying, under trial. - Jeremy Bentham

"Our government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy appetite at one end and no
responsibility at the other. " - Ronald Reagan

Government fed by the people

Government fed by the people

Career options

Career options
I suggest government... because nobody has ever been caught.

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?

Corruption so prevalent it affects English language?
Corruption is so prevalent it affects English language?

When there's too much dirt...

When there's too much dirt...
We need better tools... to cover up mega corruptions.

Prevent bullying now!

Prevent bullying now!
If you're not going to speak up, how is the world supposed to know you exist? “Orang boleh pandai setinggi langit, tapi selama ia tidak menulis, ia akan hilang di dalam masyarakat dan dari sejarah.” - Ananta Prameodya Toer (Your intellect may soar to the sky but if you do not write, you will be lost from society and to history.)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Why I think Dr. Mahathir was a dictator

To be honest, when I first read about his challenge to people to prove he was a dictator, I was stumped when trying to list out the reasons. It was such an accepted fact that he was a dictator that we tend to assume that he was one because there were loads of articles about his getting everything his way.

The fact that he was PM for 22 years could be a reason, but not necessarily so. I would count his 'never having to say sorry' more so. More recently, at the PKFZ trial, Dr. Ling said he dared not cheat on Dr. Mahathir, and that to me, was telling of how much power the latter wielded then. Much earlier, Dr. Ling commented that he was guilty if Dr. Mahathir said so! Dr. Ling was a Transport Minister then and he gave the impression he hadn't a clue about the land valuations and accepted the professionals' opinions. We can presume the rest of the Cabinet had relied on his opinion, but more so, because it was Dr. Mahathir's decision to go ahead with the project, so everybody could rest and relax that it was Dr. M's ultimate responsibility. They did not dare think of questioning him! This scenario must have been usual of the cabinet meetings every Wednesday, for all of the important decisions perceived to be collective decisions but actually decided by Dr. Mahathir alone.

Petronas, the country's biggest revenue earner was, and still is, accountable only to the PM, a precedent started by him. Since we have no access to its accounts, hundreds of billions were unaccounted for but we could see some ostentatious icons like the Twin Towers and a new capital in Putrajaya. It was during Dr. Mahathir's watch that we saw mega projects and bail-outs, financed mainly by oil revenues. Only a dictator could insist on a failing project like Proton, to be sustained by forcing every purchaser to pay higher prices for imported and locally assembled vehicles as a result of protective import and excise duties. Some people are very proud of what Dr. Mahathir had done, but cynical ones would question why Malaysia could not be as successful as Singapore despite having blessings of oil and other natural resources.

The privatisation of North-South Expressway was an excellent idea, but by benefiting concessionaires controlled by the ruling Umno party, its lop-sided contracts resulted in either periodic increases in toll rates, compensations or extensions of toll period. It was definitely robbing the public to benefit a few, with option of either penalizing road users or general taxpayers.

The use of ISA to control oppositionists (infamous Ops Lalang) and the persecution of Anwar were two examples of his excessive use of executive powers. The OSA was used to hide corruption in high places and whistleblowers were charged instead.

The removal of Lord President, Salleh Abbas was unprecedented, and it went through tribunals presided by someone who succeeded him!

Only Dr. Mahathir had the guts, due to his absolute power, to curtail some of the privileges of the Malay Rulers. This must be, by far, the most convincing fact of his dictatorship.

Update on July 20:  Selected comments in Malaysiakini...
History will not be kind to Mahathir

No comments: