Hornbill Unleashed

April 6, 2014

Zaid losing the plot

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
Tags: , ,


Acutely aware that Pakatan Rakyat is full of rotten apples and characters obsessed with ambitions, I have long remained silent despite the series of public spats between the opposition camp and Zaid Ibrahim since they fell out. Sometimes, the tit-for-tits between the two are so trivial and ridiculous that one wonders how Malaysians have been able to put up with childish politicians for so long.

Having said that, the former law minister did win my respect when he resigned from the government in protest at the blatant use of the Internal Security Act back in September 2009. But that was then, and this is now. How sad it is to know that the once feisty leader is fast becoming a national joke himself.

Everyone knows nothing has gone right since Najib Abdul Razak took over the helm from Abdullah Ahmad Badawi exactly five years ago. Rampant corruption continues to plague the economy, and innocent lives still end in police custody. Racist sentiments are on the rise, and the ordinary folk are increasingly feeling the heat of an economic downturn worsened by rising costs of living.

Internationally, Malaysia is getting media attention for all the wrong reasons: the Lahad Datu incursion, the shameless manipulations of the electoral process, the mysterious disappearance of MH370, and the kidnapping incidents in Sabah by Filipino rebels, you name it.

All this has prompted some to question, Malaysia masih boleh?

And we all know the catchy slogan was mooted by none other than Mahathir Mohamad who ruled the country with an iron fist for 22 years. Now that Malaysia’s fortunes are dwindling, it comes as no surprise the urgings for the government to bring back Mahathir are becoming louder and more boisterous by the day.

Be that as it may, for Zaid to echo the immaturity of others in this regard is unbecoming of his stature as a senior lawyer and politician, to say the least.

That Malaysia experienced staggering economic growth in the first half of the 1990s is no dispute. It is also true that the country’s infrastructure took a quantum leap on Mahathir’s watch. The opening of KLIA2 has been delayed for nearly three years, but the KLIA itself was officially inaugurated in June 1998, just in time for the Commonwealth Games.

Those were the days when Malaysians felt proud of the economic achievements and material wealth that ensued, as if Mahathir was so omnipotent that nothing could stand in his way if he wanted to get things done including, of course, putting his political opponents in jail one by one and sacking en masse judges who refused to be beholden to him.

For some, even the crumbs would suffice

As I often say, Malaysians are a misguided and selfish lot. Instead of rising to the occasion and joining the tough that get going when the going gets tough, they choose to look to the strongman who once ruled them like a flock of meek sheep. So long as there is a bowl of rice on table, they would be happy to turn a blind eye to the injustices around them. For some, even the crumbs from the table would suffice.

Hence, when Mahathir rebuked Haris Ibrahim in public recently, what really makes me sick was not the untenable defence of cronyism on the part of Mahathir himself, but the audience who applauded his deceitful words that practically show him to be a paltry coward.

But was Malaysia ever really capable, or boleh, as a nation even during Mahathir’s tyranny?

Irene Fernandez (right), one of the bravest souls, has just passed on, and we shall never forget what she began back in 1991 – the founding of Tenaganita that is – was epoch-making. For the first time, the plight and misery of migrant workers were brought to international attention.

That was a time when most Malaysians were indulging in the seemingly incessant wealth created by Mahathir’s ‘miracle’, conveniently leaving behind the dark chapters of Operasi Lalang and the judicial crisis just a few years before.

But Irene paid a heavy price when the authorities charged her with ‘publishing false news’. She almost went jail for speaking up, and was only vindicated when the High Court overturned the guilty verdict years later. Irene has fought a very good fight on earth and may we carry on the torch onto a higher ground.

What Irene had fearlessly uncovered was just a tip of the iceberg, for human rights abuses and corruption became so entrenched that we are still suffering from the consequences of Mahathir’s autocracy. Mahathir did bequeath the country with impressive monuments and infrastructure, but he has also made corruption, cronyism and nepotism a very part of Malaysian politics, destroying our public institutions along the way.

Rule-based and sustainable institutions decide if a country prospers or withers, which is why parliamentary democracy, checks and balances, independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press and a professional civil service are vitally important to ensure the long-term survival of a nation. But Mahathir represented and still represents the complete opposite of all this, for he ruled the country on a whim.

With him gone, his successive governments have been saddled with incompetent ministers, a bloated bureaucracy, and political leaders who are only there to protect their own interests. Unwilling to enhance and strengthen the initially viable institutions, Mahathir only ended up producing through his arbitrary and capricious rule mediocre Barisan Nasional leaders who are too timid to make decisions.

Perhaps that was precisely what he had intended. After all, only a bunch of idiots would ensure that the fond memory of a ‘benevolent dictator’ lives on.

Reversing his own policy

Towards the last days of his administration, Mahathir forced all the schools to change the medium of instruction for science and mathematics to English without adequate preparations and capable teachers in place, reversing his very own policy as education minister in the early 1970s.

While Malaysia has seen more universities since the 1990s, none of them has quite lived up to international standards, but many private ones are now nothing more than rent-seeking businesses albeit in the name of education.

Mahathir indeed fought hard against hudud law, but he is also responsible for turning Islam into a political tool to gain votes. The secular nature of the constitution and a greater democratic space are the best safeguard against theocracy, otherwise Zaid would have to resurrect Mahathir again and again even when the latter is already six-feet under!

As for Zaid’s view that Mahathir would be able to unite the various ethnic groups, all I can say is the non-Malays have themselves to blame for saving the tyrant’s skin in the 1999 general election. The fact that the volume of racist venoms spewed by Mahathir since then has escaped the former law minister sufficiently attests that he and I live on different planets, let alone in a same country.



  1. He even needs his wife permission to contest an election which he will most likely to lose his deposit. What a pathetic arse hole he is now!

    Comment by Mata Kuching — April 7, 2014 @ 5:33 PM | Reply

  2. Irene, though you’ve gone but you shall be remembered by many for your excellent works done on the human rights. I salute you. Whereas, for Zain the high regard and respect that I once had for you had gone stale over the months. You had gone from a good apple to bad and then finally a rotten one, which is deserved only for discarding into waste bin. You’re totally lost. What a sad thing for a once conscientious man to end up.

    Comment by owl — April 6, 2014 @ 12:57 PM | Reply

  3. What a shame…….. Zaid is now a lost man …….. takde hala tuju.. Unwanted by both sides of the divide (politically).. shame shame shame!!!!

    Comment by Just concerned — April 6, 2014 @ 11:46 AM | Reply

    • He is a mole from Umno.

      Comment by Suresh — April 6, 2014 @ 1:41 PM | Reply

      • it looks like FAT FROG ia is going to have another new member soon.

        Comment by tiuniamah — April 7, 2014 @ 8:48 AM | Reply

  4. This bugger has downgraded himself to become a pathetic fool craving for attention.

    Comment by Sharpshooter — April 6, 2014 @ 9:44 AM | Reply

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