23-Day Countdown to 13GE Polling Day – Dr M in his post-PM decade has emerged as the greatest enemy of his own Bangsa Malaysia concept in Vision 2020 and the single greatest threat to Malaysian nation building

Tun Mahathir had no qualms in breaking his pledge to leave politics “completely” when he stepped down ten years ago as the country’s longest Prime Minister for 22 years, and despite his brief departure from the UMNO Baru which he had formed, Mahathir is now so firmly ensconced in the corridors of power that he is undoubtedly the most feared man by all UMNO/Barisan Nasional politicians.

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak fear him most as Mahathir has proven that he could make and unmake Umno Prime Ministers, and the last thing Najib wants is to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Tun Abdullah of being toppled as Prime Minister after failing to secure an acceptable winning majority in Parliament in the 13GE.

But the saddest and most tragic aspect of the second rise of Mahathir in the UMNO/BN corridors of power is his baleful and baneful influence on Malaysian politics and nation-building, as he has emerged in his post-PM decade as the greatest enemy of his own Bangsa Malaysia concept in Vision 2020 and the single greatest threat to Malaysian nation building.

In the past week, Mahathir provided two examples of the baleful and baneful influence as the arch-enemy of Bangsa Malaysia and the greatest threat to Malaysian nation building.

Firstly, Mahathir’s sky-high praises for the Perkasa chief Datuk Ibrahim Ali, elevating the patron of the Malay supremacist group as a “saviour” of the nation and leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind that Ibrahim Ali would be the ideal candidate for Mahathir to be Prime Minister of Malaysia!

Secondly, his utterly racist blog yesterday warning of a “race confrontation” if I win in Gelang Patah in the 13GE.

Mahathir made the most irresponsible, wild, baseless and unworthy allegations that I am contesting Gelang Patah with dishonourable objectives, namely:

  • Because Gelang Patah has a Chinese majority and I want “the Chinese there and in Johor to reject working together and sharing with the Malays”;
  • I am going to play on Chinese sentiments; and
  • “to bring about conflict and antagonism between the races, to urge the Chinese to dislike and hate the Malays”.

This is a most rabid and irresponsible rant from the former Prime Minister who made the dire prediction:

“An unhealthy racial confrontation would replace Sino-Malay cooperation which has made Malaysia stable and prosperous. That cooperation will end when Kit Siang wins Gelang Patah. Even if there will not be violent clashes as seen in many countries where people are divided by race or religion, but confrontation between the three major races in Malaysia will be disruptive and will not be conducive to the development of Malaysia.”

I feel both outraged and sad at Mahathir’s blog – outraged that the former longest-serving Prime Minister could make such a wild and baseless allegations heedless of the harm such irresponsible rantings could cause to the nation-building process and sad that Mahathir has circumnavigated a full circle from a communalist to a Malaysian visionary who could advocate the inclusive “Bangsa Malaysia” concept in Vision 2020 and back to the earlier communalist stance.

Mahathir’s blogpost on “Gelang Patah” is a most disgraceful, unworthy and communalist ranting completely unworthy of a person who had been the longest serving Prime Minister spanning 22 years.

Let me rebut Mahathir’s irresponsible, wild and baseless allegations in his blog yesterday.

In the first place, I do not know what Mahathir is driving at when he blogged that I am contesting in Gelang Patah because it has a Chinese majority.

This is because all the previous five parliamentary constituencies which I had contested in the past 10 general elections, namely Kota Melaka, Petaling, Tanjong, Bukit Bendera and Ipoh Timor had a Chinese majority.

What should stand out in Gelang Patah as compared to the other five Parliamentary constituencies which I had contested is that it has the least Chinese majority, comprising some 53% with Malay voters at some 33% and Indian voters at 12%.

What should stand out in Gelang Patah as compared to the other five Parliamentary constituencies which I had contested is that it has the least Chinese majority, comprising some 53% with 33% Malay voters and Indian voters at 12%.

I do not expect praise from Mahathir for moving from a comparatively safer Ipoh Timor parliamentary seat where I had won in 2008 with more than 21,000-vote majority to a high-risk Gelang Patah where the MCA/BN candidate won with nearly 9,000-vote majority in 2008 and a humongous majority of 21,666-vote in 2004, but it is just mind-boggling for Mahathir to completely ignore this fact and to go on a rampage on the ground that I would be contesting in Gelang Patah because it was a Chinese-majority seat when the other parliamentary constituencies I had contested, like Ipoh Timor had over 80 per cent Chinese electorate.

Is Mahathir seriously suggesting that if I win in Gelang Patah there will be “race confrontation” but not in the other five parliamentary constituencies I had contested although the percentage of Chinese electorate is very much higher?

In the second place, has Mahathir any evidence that in the Gelang Patah campaign, I want the Chinese in Johore to hate the Malays and to reject working together with the Malays?

The contrary is in fact the case, as I had been speaking and exhorting all voterrs, regardless of race, to work together as one Malaysian, which is why DAP is in the multi-racial and multi-religious coalition of Pakatan Rakyat comprising DAP, PKR and PAS.

Is Mahathir aware that in all my speeches in Gelang Patah in the past three weeks, I had stressed that I want to win not just on Chinese votes but also with the support of Malay and Indian votes, to emphasise the importance of all racial groups in Johore and Malaysia working together for the common good of the plural population in the country?

Mahathir is just continuing the demonization campaign by UMNO down through the decades painting the DAP as anti-Malay and anti-Islam when these are totally untrue, false and downright lies.

Which UMNO leader for instance had sacrificed like the DAP Secretary-General and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who had gone to jail for 18 months and disqualified as an MP because he went to the defence of the human rights and dignity of an underaged Malay girl?

Right from the very beginning of DAP history in 1966, DAP had stood for the rights and interests of all Malaysians, regardless of race and religion, and this is why the second by-election contested by the DAP in our 47-year history was the Tampoi by-election in the UMNO stronghold of Johore in September 1967 and our candidate was Daing Ibrahim Othman.

In the 1969 general election, the first in DAP history, two DAP Malay candidates were elected as State Assemblymen, one in Perak and the other in Negri Sembilan, and down the decades, we had fielded Malay candidates both at Parliamentary and State Assembly levels, with Sdr. Ahmad Nor being the first Malay DAP leader elected as MP for Bayan Baru, Penang in 1990.

The Gelang Patah election will be a test whether the decades of lies and falsehoods by UMNO propagandists and by Mahathir in his blog yesterday that I am anti-Malay and anti-Islam could be demolished, whether the politics of lies to incite racial hatred and religious distrust could be debunked – for this is the first precondition for the realisation of the Malaysian Dream where all Malaysians regardless of race and religion unite as one people for the advancement of the country and its people.

Mahathir should withdraw and apologise for his lies and falsehoods against me in his blog or he should produce evidence to substantiate his baseless allegations and not to spew more lies and falsehoods.

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur