Politicians say the darndest things, but some just say things with their brains on the table.
Last Thursday, it was reported that the Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Dr Salleh Said Keruak The Government could have easily erased Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s legacy by demolishing the iconic Petronas Twin Towers if it wanted to.
The Star reported Salleh saying this in response to the former prime minister’s allegation that the Government wants to erase his legacy by killing off his brainchild, national carmaker Proton.
Salleh said if that is true, there are numerous other legacies of Dr Mahathir that could have been erased.
“If the Government wanted to erase his legacy, we could have just demolished KLCC.
“But the Government today always prioritises the people and develops infrastructure for the benefit of everyone, not just a few like what happened during his tenure,” he was quoted as saying by Barisan Nasional backbenchers’ news portal bnbbc.com, The Star reported.
However, former minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz refuted Salleh and said that the Petronas Twin Towers is not a personal legacy of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad but “a collective legacy of the government of the time.
“Rafidah, former International Trade and Industry Minister, said the Towers “represented how far Malaysia came as a rapidly developing nation, something that the world acknowledged.”
“In a curious unbelievable turn of events, someone said that the government can even bring down the twin towers … if it wanted to erase a former leader’s legacy. Am I hearing right?” she said in a Facebook post on Friday.
“She queried if the country was adopting the Osama bin Laden and Taliban approach to things, and whether heritage meant anything to anyone in authority.
“Rafidah said those administering the country should cut out the trivialities that border on the incredulous and ridiculous,” reported The Star.
While Salleh showed how he thinks that the whole country belongs to the government, Rafidah is right to a certain point: that Salleh was wrong.
Both of them, however, need to be informed that whatever that was built or done during the tenure of a certain government is not the government’s legacy, but the legacy of what the rakyat has allowed the government to do.
Every success and failure of Mahathir during his tenure – or of the past PMs – do not belong to the PM, but the people of Malaysia of that time who allowed them to do so.
For the people are the voters, taxpayers and the ones who keep these politicians and PMs up there. Without the will of the rakyat, and the permission of the rakyat, these politicians and PMs could not have done or achieved anything.
If the people wills, they can change the politicians and the PMs, according to democracy which this country follows. Until then, they can stay where they are.
Mahathir, even after 22 years and despite having built the Twin Towers and started Proton, had to resign when the people decided it was time for him to step down.
Thus, politicians of the ruling party – of yesterday and today – must understand when they open their mouths that Proton, Petronas Twin Towers, the country and their positions now belong to the people and the people only – not to Mahathir, not to any PM.
It is best for politicians not to bandy around and say the darndest things.