Why I cannot condemn Mahathir

wpid-drm-2010-05-22-11-39.jpgSome call him a power crazed dictator.
The Opposition vilify him without end, blaming him for the worst of Malaysia’s excesses, our endemic corruption and our current struggle to remain competitive.
Politics is a game of power. As everyone knows, power corrupts.

Mahathir understood the game better than most and he knew that to win, you needed strategy. Strategy would sometimes mean sacrifices and unfortunately, Mahathir subscribed to the school of ‘the end justifies the means’.

On the altar of his ambitions, he gave up press freedom. Made a bonfire from the judiciary, fed the hungry flames of profiteering.
He used the ISA with impunity and repaid every perceived slight or threat a thousand times over.

My stand has always been that Anwar’s downfall was not brought about by Mahathir, but by his own support base.
If Anwar’s supporters had just waited, fed Mahathir’s ego and patiently waited I have no doubt Anwar would have been prime minister.
Their mistake was to attempt to topple Mahathir, to go against the ultimate political player.

I believe that Mahathir truly had the best of intentions. He believed Malaysia could be so much more, that by empowering the Malays with development and riches, he could take the country forward.
His weakness was believing that he could make the Malays conform through the sheer strength of his will. That the power of his vision could mobilise the country and propel it along.

He never counted on the greed and sheer selfishness of the people he helped build up. That the fat cats would only care about their bellies and not the greater good.
Mahathir truly believed that his political decisions were justified and for the greater good.

So I salute his intentions even if I disagree with his methods. He was a man who believed in greatness and it is a tragedy that he will not be remembered as a great man.

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