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The cute old man

  • For a cute old man to become the country's alternative choice of prime minster is enough to send chills down my spine. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

Sin Chew Daily

I've got to admit, from the angle of a caring society, that Mahathir has been really cute of late.

What I was trying to say is that the old gentleman has been doing things rather unusually. But again, who on earth will ever bother to censure a 93-year-old?

So, calling him cute could just be a form of showing respect for an old man in our caring society.

Anyway, his "cuteness" does deserve some deliberation.

He said Federal Court Lord President Tun Salleh Abas was not fired by him at the height of the 1988 judicial crisis, but by the King for making noise over palace renovation by Sultan.

That didn't sound very logical.

In a constitutional monarchy, all the three branches of the government are fully independent of one another. Even though the King is the supreme ruler of this country, he usually stays out of political and judicial disputes.

Even if there was indeed this noise over palace renovation, there was no necessity, nor any legal avenue, for the King to fire the Federal Court judge.

Malaysia is not a sultanate, and indeed during Mahathir's time, the status of the royalty was at rock bottom.

During the 1987 Umno elections, Mahathir edged out Tengku Razaleigh by a razor thin margin of 43 votes. Ku Li's camp, unhappy that 78 who had voted did not actually have the right to do so, brought up the case in the court and demanded a re-election.

Mahathir's camp tried to have the case struck out but to no avail. Before long, nine High Court judges were dismissed, and the court later ruled that Umno was illegal.

Mahathir began to blast the judiciary and proposed a constitutional amendment to cap the powers of the court.

That drew the ire of Tun Salleh who was concerned about executive intervention of the judiciary and issued a statement to defend judicial independence.

Salleh was instantly summoned by Mahathir, and was asked to resign. He refused, and was soon given the axe.

A judicial arbitration was later set up by the government to officially terminate Salleh's service.

Mahathir then formed the new Umno and succeeded in defusing the crisis.

Such a landmark incident of sabotaging the independence of three branches of the government was, ironically, twisted by the former PM into a "noise over renovation" kind of thing.

Was he being too cute or did he just treat Malaysians as brainless Teletubbies?

On the very same occasion he also talked about his election "foresight".

He predicted PAS to be completely washed out in GE14, by far the boldest election projection I have ever heard. If this were to become reality, I am very positive I won't be any less elated than the old man himself.

Election projections and comments must never be made out of one's feelings. PAS must have its own calculations for going lone ranger this time. Even if it may not win more seats, at least it will not be left with no seats at all.

In many constituencies, including those in Selangor, the party will lose the support of non-Muslims in the absence of Pakatan endorsement. But in Muslim-majority seats, especially those in Kedah, Terengganu and Pahang, it might enjoy improved chances in three-cornered fights.

So, if Mahathir wants a bet from you, don't turn him down for goodness sake.

As for the apology, he has given the word a brand new definition, that apology does not mean confession of own wrongdoings.

If he is cute just because of his age, then that is fine. But, for a cute old man to become the country's alternative choice of prime minster, that is enough to send chills down my spine!



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