One thing that can be dubbed for the Malaysian political scene arena these days – it is so much better than the corny soap operas on TV. So much things happened and if you blink an eye, you are about to miss the wagon!
First and foremost, of course was the re-elected Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad as our 7th Prime Minister. Who would have thought that this beloved 4th Prime Minister would be sworn-in after 15 years abdicating the post in favour of the younger leaders? In 2003 Mahathir knew he had to leave the top post as soon as possible as his popularity declined after the Anwar Ibrahim incident. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that the friction between Malays was eminent when Anwar Ibrahim launched the “Reformasi” campaign against Mahathir and the latter was dubbed as dictator by Anwar Ibrahim’s camps (fondly known as The “Anwarinas”). So Mahathir made up his mind – it would be better for him to abdicate the post, leaving with honour rather than being “cast away with no dignity”.
Mahathir in the UMNO Assembly 2002 after announcing the shocking news that he would abdicate in 2003. According to my Supervisor Prof Muati, UMNO Assembly speeches texts were the only texts that Mahathir would pen himself every year – a testament of how Malay affairs are his deep interest. Wait, was that Azalina?? Well, well, well. Didn’t she recently bashed Mahathir prior to this 14th General Election? LOL!
Anwar Ibrahim’s 1998 infamous “Reformasi”. A campaign that managed to split Malay Muslims into two camps. As a son of an FRU policeman, I witnessed my father and neighbours in Penang were forced to undergo rigorous training in order to execute the assigned task – to disassemble the crowd. I remember that the little children in my neighborhood were asked to throw rocks and all sorts of things to the FRU troops – serving as simulation to face the real threat in KL. It was such a sad scene seeing the policemen being treated as such. And I remembered that an elderly relative accused my father for being “Malay traitor” just because he was working as an FRU policeman against this Reformasi – and this was lashed out during Aidilfitri 1998. I remember things vividly.
Political analysts saw this as the transition from Mahathirism into “Islamic Hadhari” (proposed by 5th Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi) and then the infamous “1 Malaysia” (coined by 6th Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak). Mahathir is never shy to express his opinions during the reigning of these two prime ministers. Tun Abdullah abdicated the post when Barisan Nasional witnessed major loss but thankfully was still able to secure enough seats to form Government whereas Datuk Seri Najib Razak was seen as somewhat a ‘saviour’ successor that would be able to ‘pick up the pieces’ weakened by the Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s mediocre leadership.
Unfortunately, when Najib started to introduce GST and the scandalous 1MDB – along with the infamous reputation of his wife, Datin Seri Rosmah (will write on this later on); the favouritism wavered. Mahathir intensified his defiance against Najib’s regime and the latter who initially tried to make peace with the former but proved to no avail, had decided to throw red paint back at Mahathir by illustrating him as the “traitor of the Malays”. The iconic KLCC image was taken out from TV3’s news slot (TV3 is known as an avid media supporter – to the extend of being EXTRA avid!) and Mahathir’s legacies (images, contributions, etc) were excluded in all of the government’s official occasions! And there was even a suggestion by a BN fanatic supporter that the KLCC to be bulldozed! The level of ignorance clouded by political preference, I say.
So, the rest was history. And no one sees this coming. After 60 years, an Opposition Coalition managed to topple the BN-ruled governance. The historical 9th of May 2018 will be marked as the Red-Letter Day – a symbol of People’s Power – finally the Rakyat stands together to combat the corrupted politicians. It was said that a total of 82.32% voters turned up that day to exercise their rights as Malaysians (and so did I via the Postal Vote as well as acting as the Voting Clerk!). After so much controversy ignited prior to the Election Day (being that Wednesday was chosen as the Election Day, forcing the then-Government to grant public holiday after pressured by the Malaysian netizens; Mahathir’s face poster was taken down by The Registry of Societies Malaysia, ROS; etc), the Opposition Coalition namely The Pakatan Harapan managed to secure 113 seats (121 seats as Part Warisan Sabah who managed to secure 8 seats in Sabah) against Barisan Nasional’s 79 seats.
In 1981, Mahathir took the oath as our 4th Prime Minister.
And now in 2018, Mahathir took oath as the 7th Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Malaysians were waiting anxiously on the 10th May 2018 for the live telecast of Prime Minister Oath-Taking ceremony. First it was said that occasion would be held at 9.30 a.m. (I was still feeling drowsy and dizzy due to the commitment as the Voting Clerk on the previous day BUT I forced myself not to fall asleep! Haha!); then they said it would be held at 5.00 p.m.; and finally adjourned to 9.30 p.m. It was such a melancholic event, seeing the visibly tired 92 years old Mahathir bravely weathered the essential protocol. In addition it is also very inspiring to note that despite Malaysians were given 2 days of public holidays, Mahathir was not wasting anymore time to work; setting up committees to iron down ruffled matters. It is said that the given 4 days off (inclusive the weekend) were not due to being “jovial, merryweather matter” but in order to “freeze the outflow of the currency” as KLCI was closed – I am not sure whether this is true or not; friends who are more well-versed could rectify this fact for me.
So, at this juncture 10 days after the election, Mahathir has already enlisted “The Council of Elders” that would be shaping the skeleton of Government’s directions with prominent members such as Tun Daim Zainuddin. Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Tan Sri Hassan Merican, Tan Sri Robert Kuok and Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram. He also announced the whole set of new ministers (initially it was said that Mahathir would also be the Minister of Education but later backed off out of respect to the Pakatan Harapan’s Pledge; I honestly disheartened by this. I had wished that as a teacher, I would have the opportunity to be directly under the governance of Mahathir. But, I am sure the newly-appointed Dr Maszlee Malik is the best choice as so far, I only read good reviews from friends who are familiar with his works). GST and the toll pricing would be reviewed later on. Honestly, I am inspired by Mahathir – at 92 years old he could resort living a simple life by taking vacations all over the world with his family – but he chose to serve the country until his last breath. You can’t help but adore this man who was branded as a Malay Ultra. As a commoner who did not have affluent upbringing like the previous Prime Minister, Mahathir understands the plights of the Middle Class and Lower Class Malaysians, especially the Malays.
The Council of Elders @ The Eminent Persons – established to shape the skeleton of our nation’s direction within these 100 days. Amin.
And now after 8 years serving as a Government civilian, I could proudly declare that “I Love My Prime Minister”! Haha!
God bless him. At 92 years old. Amin. You inspire me so much as a Middle Class Malay Muslim. Whenever I feel so tired travelling from my school serving as a teacher to UPM for my PhD affairs, I think of you and your age; and I am instantaneously almost inspired. Amin.