Mahathir wants me dead but I pray that Mahathir will live to 100 years to see the decline and end of Mahathirism

Mahathir wants me dead and that is why he embarked on his mission in the 13th General Election to campaign in Gelang Patah to turn it into my political “burial ground”.

Before the 13th general election, Mahathir called on the people of Johore to pool their energy to ensure that the state of Johore will be my “kubur”, which elicited rapturous response from the Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin who declared that I was “trapped” in Gelang Patah and that I was “finished” politically.

Gelang Patah in the 13GE was my “life-and-death” political battle as I fought not just the popular four-term Johore Mentri Besar, Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, but another three UMNO stalwarts – Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin and Malaysia’s longest-serving Prime Minister Tun Mahathir himself.

But I was prepared to put my head on the chopping block, leaving the safe parliamentary seat of Ipoh Timor which I had won in 2008 with more than 21,000-vote majority to a high-risk Gelang Patah where the MCA/BN had won with nearly 9,000-vote majority in 2008 and a humongous majority of 21,666-vote in 2004.

I want to thank members, supporters and well-wishers for their support and prayers on the night of May 5, 2013, as I have learnt from my travels throughout the country in the past half-year that they were very worried about the outcome of the Gelang Patah parliamentary seat as, just like me that night, I have no idea of the outcome and I left my political fate completely in the hands of the voters of Gelang Patah.

On that night of May 5, 2013, Mahathir lost and I won. I proved Mahathir wrong as the former Prime Minister had indulged in gutter-politics of the most despicable and immoral kind, disseminating lies and falsehoods that I was contesting in Gelang Patah to cause a racial confrontation between the Chinese and Malays, that I wanted the Chinese to hate the Malays and reject working together with the Malays.

The contrary was in fact the case, as throughout my campaign, I had spoken and exhorted all voters, regardless of race, to work together as one Malaysian people in pursuit of a common Malaysian dream in support of the multi-racial and multi-religious coalition of Pakatan Rakyat comprising DAP, PKR and PAS.

In all my speeches in Gelang Patah during the three-week election campaign, I stressed that I wanted to win not just on Chinese votes but also with the support of Malay and Indian voters.

I was humbled and vindicated on Polling Night as I could not have won Gelang Patah with a majority of over 14,000 votes without the support of the Malay voters – a powerful testimony that the Malays in Johore were not easy victims for the Mahathirish lies and falsehoods to racialise the Gelang Patah campaign.

Mahathir’s failures in the 13GE particularly in Gelang Patah, Shah Alam and Pasir Mas where the former Prime Minister had staked his entire political reputation on his ability to affect the electoral outcomes, were not the only signs that the power and influence of Mahathir and Mahathirism were not that all-powerful and all-mighty as they had been made to seem.

In fact, there had been earlier signs of such vulnerability like Mahathir’s ignominous failure in 2006 to get elected even as a delegate of his old Kubang Pasu UMNO division to the Umno General Assembly, which led to his resignation from UMNO and escalation of his campaign to topple the then Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

But Mahathir’s setbacks in the 13GE, particularly in Gelang Patah, Shah Alam and Pasir Mas are the first of a trio of significant signs in the past six months after the 13GE that the influence of Mahathir and Mahathirism are on the wane.

The other two are:

  • The failure of his son, Mukhriz Mahathir to be elected as one of the three UMNO Vice Presidents in the Umno party elections last month, with him blaming money politics for Mukhriz’s defeat; and
  • His failure despite eve-of-polling appearance/campaigning in Monday’s by-election in Sungai Limau (part of the Kota Setar Selatan parliamentary constituency that he had represented as an MP between 1964 and 1969) to swing victory for Mukhriz, who is Mentri Besar of Kedah.

Mahathir’s realisation of his waning influence may explain his bitterness which caused him to blog that I am afraid of his “shadow”, asking: “When will Kit Siang retire? When he is dead?”

There is no reason for anyone to be afraid of Mahathir’s “shadow” when it has become quite a penumbra.

What Malaysians should be concerned is the bane of Mahathirism – the legacy which Mahathir has left behind after his 22-year premiership.

The chief bane of Mahathirism is Mahathir’s repudiation of Vision 2020 and his Bangsa Malaysia policy (as well as Najib’s1Malaysia Policy) by becoming the Godfather of Malaysia’s Ku Klux Klan movement with its dangerously divisive rhetoric and politics of hate in championing racist supremacy instead of Malaysian supremacy. This has led to the worst racial polarisation in Malaysia in the nation’s history.

Other banes of Mahathirism include:

  • Subversion of a truly independent judiciary and a just rule of law;
  • Lack of national and international confidence in the efficiency, quality, professionalism and integrity of key national institutions;
  • Degradation of a world-quality educational system – primary, secondary and tertiary; and
  • Rampant corruption, cronyism and abuses of power in high political places.

Mahathirism will continue to be a bane and not a boon to Malaysia’s aspiration to become an united, successful and competitive nation in the global community.

Mahathir wants me dead but I pray that Mahathir will live to 100 years to see the decline and end of Mahathirism.

To his question “When will Kit Siang retire? When he is dead?”, let me dedicate a famous saying by the Sung Dynasty scholar-general Wen Tianxiang for him to ponder: “All men are mortal, but my loyalty will illuminate the annals of history forever”.

For Mahathir’s ears, the “loyalty” here refers to loyalty to Malaysia.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah