“Thank you, Dr. Mahathir!”

Hmmmm. Maybe there are actually some Malaysians who don’t adore Mahathir. An astute reader emailed me the link to this glowing tribute to Malaysia’s outgoing strongman, pasted in full below. He says it mirrors the feelings of many, many Malaysians. I don’t know if it is all true, and I must say I have been impressed with some of the things I’ve read about Dr. M., but I do know there’s enough reality here to make it worth reading. And it’s damned good reading.

Thank you, Dr Mahathir

By Martin Jalleh

You have been such a tolerant leader. You tolerated the abuses of your cronies, the wastage of billions by government departments and the corruption of cabinet ministers, numerous menteris besar and members of the ruling coalition.

You have transformed Parliament into a robust ‘rubber stamp’ of the executive, with MPs virile in verbal brawls and vulgar jokes, and more keen on venturing into the cafeteria than vital issues, and a venerable Speaker of 19 years becoming so much part of the varnish.

You have been so very courageous in your dealings with the judiciary as to declare “Hang the lawyers! Hang the judges!” and you have translated your true sentiments into reality. Chief Justices are ‘free’ – to go for holidays with lawyers and promote whom they want.

No other prime minister has brought so many changes to this country – especially to the Federal Constitution – the number of amendments to which we have lost count of. (The Internal Security Act was amended 18 times.)

You have nudged this country on in imitating feats already long established by others. Indeed, Malaysia Boleh! – we have achieved world standards in road accidents, drug addiction, crime, corruption and violence against women.

You have worked so hard and contributed much to unity as a one-man-show. You have made us feel so proud of being one as a nation – made up of predominantly one Malay party, one Chinese party and one Indian party.

You have been an example of cooperation and collaboration, made evident in your working relationship with the cabinet where open discussion and decision-making supposedly reigned – albeit the differing opinion of your first and third deputy.

Such is your versatility – you constantly warned us about re-colonisation and at the same time employed and honed to perfection the very tools left behind by the colonial master to silence those who disagreed with you.

You have been a powerful voice of the poor and the marginalised – in spite of the groups like the orang asli, plantation worker, Sarawak and Sabah natives not being fully aware of this nor enjoying the fruits of your pronouncements.

Our children and their children should be grateful to you for making them so much a part of the mega projects you have given us today, for they will have the privilege of contributing to the loans taken and the maintenance costs of these monuments.

Your openness to change could be seen in your passion for privatisation and in putting public utilities in the hands of a few private corporations (and compensating them handsomely when they failed) – whilst we paid more for supposedly better services.

A leader of the Third World, you have boldly spoken against the concentration of power in the hands of a few rich and powerful countries – to continue doing this you had to use every means, institution and person possible, to consolidate and perpetuate your own power.

You were loud and clear when you said that currency speculation was the cause of the economic crisis in the country. You should know, after all Bank Negara’s speculation in the forex market in 1992 resulted in the loss of RM9 to RM15 billion.

You stood up for the small and weak nations of the South against the bullying West, and due to such preoccupation it was inevitable that you had little time or thought for the small man or woman in Malaysia without cash, clout or connection.

You were so wise in telling Malaysians to be wary of globalisation, as you traveled round the globe seeking foreign support for your government and putting the country’s opposition parties in a poor light.

You have turned the police into a formidable and a fearsome force whose achievements are documented in Suhakam’s book of records – which help confirm the late Tunku Abdul Rahman’s prediction before he died that Malaysia has become a police state.

You have been so humble in insisting that the people who voted for you and the government are obligated to say “Thank You”; that government servants must pledge their loyalty, and that Malaysians should fly the national flag to express their patriotism.

Thank you Dr Mahathir, thank you for retiring. 22 years of hype, humbug and heights of hypocrisy is more than enough.

I just hope they don’t stop me at the airport tomorrow….

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