Harapan needs to expunge the 'ghost' of Mahathir

Harapan needs to expunge the 'ghost' of Mahathir  ADUN SPEAKS | There are many reasons why the alternative three-party coalition of Pakatan Harapan is not doing well in politics after having done so well in the recent past.  It was a great achievement for Harapan to capture political power in the 2018 general election.  It was proven beyond doubt that Harapan was not a mere opposition but had the trappings of a federal government.  Paradoxically, it also set the stage for the coalition to disentangle itself from the corridors of power.  The question as to why Harapan become less than an attractive force in the politics of the country within a brief span of time is subject to debate and analysis.  Alternatively, the party of the kleptocrats Umno led BN the coalition that was dethroned by Harapan is becoming a force to be reckoned with.  BN’s victory in the recent by-elections is a testimony that the coalition might even win the next federal election.  Twenty-two months in power Harapan’s stint in the federal government for 22 months is crucial to an understanding of why it has become a non-attractive political force.  The 22 months in power is very much related to Harapan’s association with none other than the infamous cunning fox twice former prime minister Mahathir Mohammed.  How he became a sudden darling of the opposition before the 2018 election will remain a mystery for some time.  But bringing him and his party (at that time) Bersatu was the biggest mistake Harapan ever made in the history of this country.  Endearment of Mahathir  Mahathir’s incessant attacks against the former prime minister Najib Tun Razak in particular and corruption, in general, endeared him to Harapan.  With PKR’s president Anwar Ibrahim in prison and the need for pivotal figure to head the coalition were among the reasons why Mahathir was brought within the fold of the opposition eventually to be termed as the prime minister-designate.  It was generally thought in the absence of Anwar, Mahathir would be the ideal candidate to be the prime minister with his capacity to pull the Malay crowd to the side of Harapan.  Mahathir might have given indications that he was not the same person who imprisoned his opponents earlier during his first term as the prime minister and the very fact he resigned from Umno to join the opposition were factors that endeared him to the opposition.  Mahathir a changed man?  But unfortunately, the opposition was duped into believing that Mahathir had changed for the better.  In fact, it was soon proven that he was not interested in advancing the reform agenda of Harapan.  He had other plans that ran contrary to the interests of Harapan.  He ridiculed the Harapan’s manifesto to the extent it ceased to be the basis of critical reforms necessary to politically sustain the Harapan government.  Not only did Mahathir place obstacles on the realisation of the goals of the Harapan government, he overtly and covertly prevented PKR president Anwar Ibrahim from succeeding him after two years.  He gave all kinds of excuses to prevent Anwar from taking over the post.  Naivety of Anwar  Anwar might have realised that rather than challenging Mahathir to keep his promise, he thought he would patiently wait for his turn.  Unfortunately, Anwar paid for his naivety in the belief that Mahathir would hand over the reins of power at some point.  But the other component parties of Harapan rather than pressuring Mahathir decided to give him the benefit of doubt in the interest of government stability.  Time was the essence, but unfortunately, Harapan failed to act to dislodge Mahathir.  Mahathir was no fool as he clandestinely worked to unseat Harapan from power first by undermining Anwar and then second by encouraging racist attacks against the DAP.  The total effect was devastating to Harapan as a whole before it was ousted from power by the infamous ‘Sheraton Move’.  Mahathir might not have directly fuelled the ‘Sheraton Move’, but he has undoubtedly had a hand in encouraging the forces of dissent against Harapan.  Of course, Mahathir’s ambition to become the sole administrator of the country under emergency conditions was rebuffed.  Mahathir might be the ultimate architect of the fall of Harapan from power, but the latter was not completely blameless.  Harapan is not blameless  Not only did Harapan fail to stand up to the dictatorial ways of Mahathir, but it caved into his whims and fancies.  In the larger interest of government stability, Mahathir was given an unchallenged free hand to do what pleased him.  Criticisms against the Harapan leadership for succumbing to the dictates of Mahathir were deflected admonishments Harapan leaders by saying that the government must be given chance to function.  The Malay dignity conference launched by Mahathir was an eye-opener to many.  His speech basically undermined the non-Malays to the extent he called them “pendatang”.  His criticisms of the Malays were directed to how easily they gave in to the British colonial power that led to the influx of the non-Malays into the country.  Harapan’s association with Mahathir for a brief period was one costly mistake.  The successive losses in the recent by-elections by Harapan were due to this association with Mahathir.  Ghost of Mahathir  Harapan must confront the ghost of the past.  It serves no purpose to tell the public about the achievement of the coalition during the 22 months stint.  There might have been achievements, but there were considerably dwarfed by the evils of Mahathirism.  There is serious need to expunge the ghost of Mahathir if Harapan wants to seriously forge ahead.

ADUN SPEAKS | There are many reasons why the alternative three-party coalition of Pakatan Harapan is not doing well in politics after having done so well in the recent past.

It was a great achievement for Harapan to capture political power in the 2018 general election.

It was proven beyond doubt that Harapan was not a mere opposition but had the trappings of a federal government.

Paradoxically, it also set the stage for the coalition to disentangle itself from the corridors of power.

The question as to why Harapan become less than an attractive force in the politics of the country within a brief span of time is subject to debate and analysis.

Alternatively, the party of the kleptocrats Umno led BN the coalition that was dethroned by Harapan is becoming a force to be reckoned with.

BN’s victory in the recent by-elections is a testimony that the coalition might even win the next federal election.

Twenty-two months in power
Harapan’s stint in the federal government for 22 months is crucial to an understanding of why it has become a non-attractive political force.

The 22 months in power is very much related to Harapan’s association with none other than the infamous cunning fox twice former prime minister Mahathir Mohammed.

How he became a sudden darling of the opposition before the 2018 election will remain a mystery for some time.

But bringing him and his party (at that time) Bersatu was the biggest mistake Harapan ever made in the history of this country.

Endearment of Mahathir

Mahathir’s incessant attacks against the former prime minister Najib Tun Razak in particular and corruption, in general, endeared him to Harapan.

With PKR’s president Anwar Ibrahim in prison and the need for pivotal figure to head the coalition were among the reasons why Mahathir was brought within the fold of the opposition eventually to be termed as the prime minister-designate.

It was generally thought in the absence of Anwar, Mahathir would be the ideal candidate to be the prime minister with his capacity to pull the Malay crowd to the side of Harapan.

Mahathir might have given indications that he was not the same person who imprisoned his opponents earlier during his first term as the prime minister and the very fact he resigned from Umno to join the opposition were factors that endeared him to the opposition.

Mahathir a changed man?

But unfortunately, the opposition was duped into believing that Mahathir had changed for the better.

In fact, it was soon proven that he was not interested in advancing the reform agenda of Harapan.

He had other plans that ran contrary to the interests of Harapan.

He ridiculed the Harapan’s manifesto to the extent it ceased to be the basis of critical reforms necessary to politically sustain the Harapan government.

Not only did Mahathir place obstacles on the realisation of the goals of the Harapan government, he overtly and covertly prevented PKR president Anwar Ibrahim from succeeding him after two years.

He gave all kinds of excuses to prevent Anwar from taking over the post.

Naivety of Anwar

Anwar might have realised that rather than challenging Mahathir to keep his promise, he thought he would patiently wait for his turn.

Unfortunately, Anwar paid for his naivety in the belief that Mahathir would hand over the reins of power at some point.

But the other component parties of Harapan rather than pressuring Mahathir decided to give him the benefit of doubt in the interest of government stability.

Time was the essence, but unfortunately, Harapan failed to act to dislodge Mahathir.

Mahathir was no fool as he clandestinely worked to unseat Harapan from power first by undermining Anwar and then second by encouraging racist attacks against the DAP.

The total effect was devastating to Harapan as a whole before it was ousted from power by the infamous ‘Sheraton Move’.

Mahathir might not have directly fuelled the ‘Sheraton Move’, but he has undoubtedly had a hand in encouraging the forces of dissent against Harapan.

Of course, Mahathir’s ambition to become the sole administrator of the country under emergency conditions was rebuffed.

Mahathir might be the ultimate architect of the fall of Harapan from power, but the latter was not completely blameless.

Harapan is not blameless

Not only did Harapan fail to stand up to the dictatorial ways of Mahathir, but it caved into his whims and fancies.

In the larger interest of government stability, Mahathir was given an unchallenged free hand to do what pleased him.

Criticisms against the Harapan leadership for succumbing to the dictates of Mahathir were deflected admonishments Harapan leaders by saying that the government must be given chance to function.

The Malay dignity conference launched by Mahathir was an eye-opener to many.

His speech basically undermined the non-Malays to the extent he called them “pendatang”.

His criticisms of the Malays were directed to how easily they gave in to the British colonial power that led to the influx of the non-Malays into the country.

Harapan’s association with Mahathir for a brief period was one costly mistake.

The successive losses in the recent by-elections by Harapan were due to this association with Mahathir.

Ghost of Mahathir

Harapan must confront the ghost of the past.

It serves no purpose to tell the public about the achievement of the coalition during the 22 months stint.

There might have been achievements, but there were considerably dwarfed by the evils of Mahathirism.

There is serious need to expunge the ghost of Mahathir if Harapan wants to seriously forge ahead.
Previous Post Next Post