Hornbill Unleashed

July 27, 2017

Mahathir remains a deeply divisive figure

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

Dr Mahathir Mohamad may have been accepted among Pakatan Harapan leaders, but his five eventful terms as prime minister has made him a divisive figure among opposition supporters who attended a forum on his role in Harapan.

Organised by Kelab Bangsar Utama, the forum titled “Mahathir: Agent of Change or Agent of Destruction?” last night pitted opposition figures and activists organised into two opposing camps.

The audience of more than 150 people also seemed to reflect that divide, with many vocally lambasting Mahathir’s role in Harapan while others seemed content to applaud the camp supporting Mahathir’s leadership role in the coalition.

Of the 10 questions directed at the panellists from the audience during the question-and-answer session, eight of them were direct criticisms against Mahathir’s new position in the opposition coalition.

Among the most vocal critics were Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) leader S Arutchelvam (photo), who specifically slammed the arguments from social activist Hishamuddin Rais, who was one of the speakers supporting Mahathir’s position in Harapan.

Hishamuddin said Mahathir was the only one among the opposition leaders now who had clout with powerhouses from the corporate world as well as with the royalty.

Arutchelvam mockingly said that he now knows the real reason Harapan accepted Mahathir into its coalition: to make phone calls to powerful people.

At the end of his tirade, about half of the crowd burst into applause, with several shouting, “Arul for prime minister”.

Another emotional outburst during the question-and-answer session came from another PSM member, Muhamad Harris Nasril, who accused Hishamuddin of going back on his words of not trusting Mahathir.

“You (Hishamuddin) are the one who taught us that Mahathir cannot be trusted, so why are you saying otherwise now?” the man shouted, in reference to Hishamuddin’s prominent role during the reformasi-era.

‘The question is who our main enemy is’

However, Hishamuddin replied that he does not trust Mahathir, but the issue now was not about whether he trusts the former prime minister.

“The question is who our main enemy is, and why we are united and what is Mahathir’s role. Whether I trust Mahathir or not is irrelevant,” he said. The main enemy now, he added, is Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak.

However, despite the loud opposition to Mahathir’s role in the coalition, the pro-Mahathir camp was not without its supporters.

Another half of the crowd applauded each time Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) president Mohamad Sabu, a two-time ISA detainee under the Mahathir-administration, made his arguments for why Mahathir was a boon for Harapan, while Hishamuddin elicited much laughter from the crowd.

Two of the questions during the Q-and-A session also attempted to poke holes in the arguments by activist Haris Ibrahim and PSM Sungai Siput MP Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj, who expressed their disagreement with Mahathir’s leadership role in Harapan.

An audience member prodded Jeyakumar on what PSM intended to do in the long-run, as it appeared it was not even trying to win the coming election.

PSM has only one lawmaker currently – Jeyakumar – and has promised that it will only contest three percent of the 222 seats in Parliament.

However, Jeyakumar did not appear to answer this question, choosing instead to respond to Hishamuddin, who had earlier said the main enemy is Najib.

Instead, Jeyakumar said that the main enemy is actually the global capitalism system, where most of the wealth is consolidated in the top one percent.

Pakatan Harapan revealed its leadership line-up last week, with Mahathir as its chairperson, Anwar Ibrahim as the de facto leader and Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the president.

Mahathir had then later said that he was the “top dog” in the Harapan hierarchy, which prompted the discussion about trust in Mahathir.

Source : Malaysiakini by Geraldine Tong


1 Comment »

  1. Old Cina Babi saying:: DYNASTY MAY CHANGE, Otak Udang Won’t change,BEWARE that kacang yg dah Lupah Kulit kit-lin, who called his own Race Kit-lin, jikalau cakapan dia bolih bercaya, kita punya L. J. pun semua akan nyayi lagu kebagsaan lah…tiu

    Comment by tiuniamah — July 27, 2017 @ 11:07 AM | Reply

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