Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Unmaking of Malaysia

This article is in Malaysiakini. He is right, in my opinion.
Tackle poverty first, the people are the making of Malaysia, not big tall building or the longest bridges etc.

Ex-aide: Dr M impatient and aloof
Beh Lih Yi
Nov 13, 07 11:58am Adjust font size:

Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad was an “aloof” person and a “man in a hurry,” wrote one of his former aides in a book which is to be launched tomorrow.

It is with this impatience that Mahathir, who became the country’s fourth prime minister in 1981, had disregarded rules and regulations and broke away from the pattern set by his predecessors.

“The whole structure was more or less dismantled starting with Mahathir,” said Ahmad Mustapha Hassan, the former premier’s ex-press secretary, who authored The Unmaking of Malaysia.

“There were checks and balances (in the system) during (second prime minister) Tun Abdul Razak’s time but come Mahathir, all of these were discarded. He was very impatient,” he told Malaysiakini in a recent interview.

Ahmad Mustapha, 71, had also served as the press secretary for the late Abdul Razak. The former’s book, which chronicles his experience working for the two statesmen, will be launched by ex-deputy premier Musa Hitam.

The 282-page book also draws a comparison between the leadership styles of Abdul Razak and Mahathir. It provides insights into how the political administration operated during their respective tenures, including the ‘modus operandi’ of businessmen lobbying for lucrative government projects.

Different personalities

Comparing the duo, Ahmad Mustapha said Abdul Razak (left) was a humble person who cared for the people, placing the eradication of poverty and promotion of unity as his top priorities.

“(Abdul) Razak was a working politician and not a feudal sultan who had come to receive homage from his subjects. He had come to know, understand and provide solutions for the problems faced by the ordinary rural people,” wrote Ahmad Mustapha in his book.

There were also different personality traits in the two leaders, he recounted during the interview.

“(Abdul) Razak listens to views. Every time we travelled overseas, he had breakfast together (with his officials) to discuss things, he was very comfortable being around people and his officials.

“Mahathir, would only have breakfast with his wife and would ask the officials to organise a meeting later to have a discussion and (he would) sit down (at this meeting) with a stern face. He is very aloof. He does not play sports and has no friends,” said the author.

Previously, Ahmad Mustapa, who is Mahathir’s nephew, ran into problems with his former boss and left his post to join national news agency, Bernama.

Quizzed on this, Ahmad Mustapha attributed it to the different visions shared by Mahathir and Abdul Razak.

“Mahathir had some ideas which were not in focus with what I had, such as on rural poverty,” he explained.

Pak Lah disappoints

In his book, Ahmad Mustapha also spoke about Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi who succeeded Mahathir in 2003.

According to him, Abdullah had reverted back to Abdul Razak’s aim of tackling rural poverty.

“Abdullah had to embark on a mending mission as he inherited a country with a lopsided social and economic structure.

“He opted to go back to (Abdul) Razak’s original version of eradicating poverty first,” he wrote.

However, during the interview with malaysiakini, Ahmad Mustapha expressed disappointment with Abdullah. He said the premier had failed in his ‘mending mission’.

“He started off well, with catchphrases like ‘work with me’ but no action had been taken (since). Okay, we sent someone to space but what is there (in that)?

“I also thought he would spend more time in the country, particularly in rural areas. But no, he spends more time overseas,” he added.

Ahmad Mustapha also took a swipe at Abdullah’s economic policy, which had seen the birth of a series of economic corridors.

“You can’t expect (Abdullah’s son-in-law) Khairy (Jamaluddin) to advise Pak Lah (Abdullah)as he is urban-trained. Maybe there are various economic corridors (now) but they may just be election gimmicks,” he said.

Khairy, a 32-year-old Oxford graduate, was once touted by Mahathir as the country’s de facto prime minister.


Anonymous said...

Learn some etiquette in Blogging
How can you quote a wholesale article Top Story from Malaysiakini and use it your Blog completely? Malaysiakini survives on Subscription; you have violated their Copyright to the articles.

You can mentioned it, quote a few sentences and make YOUR comments; Write something original, put in some effort, do some research and not publish blog after blog within minutes and monopolized the Malaysiakini space.

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1. Publish Regularly.
As your readers become familiar with the frequency of your posts, it will influence their visiting behavior. If your readers know that you post fresh content every day, they will probably come every day to read it. If they know you post on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, that’s when they will come.
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Poliklinik Salehudin said...

biasala, abdullah want to out do mahathir.
the same thing with mahathir want to out do abd razak.tun hussein was considered the weakest, he don't have any mark on his administration.

Borneo said...


Thank you for highlighting the differences in the personality traits and leadership styles of our former Prime Ministers in your blog which you rightly acknowledged as being an article from Malaysiakini. You have every right to express your views and opinions without fear of being belittled by criticism from “anonymous”.

Yes, both Tun Abd Razak and Tun Dr Mahathir left positive legacies towards the country’s success to what it is today especially on the international stage. We are indebted immensely to both of them but I feel their good work is slowly but surely is being “undone” with the current political climate. I am distressed with the current shenanigans and the disunity and strife being caused by political infighting and the use of race and religion as weapons.

I too live abroad but am a true Malaysian and follow the “goings on” in our country by regularly reading Malaysian newspapers and blogs “online” including Malaysiakini, The Malaysian Insider, Malay Mail, NST, Berita Harian etc…. as well as the Straits Times of Singapore. BTW I too am a fan of Uji Rashid. Mej (B).