Mahathir seemed to have crossed the Rubicon and is going for the kill in his campaign to topple Najib as Prime Minister

Former Prime Minister and UMNO’s eminence grise, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad seemed to have crossed the Rubicon and is going for the kill in his campaign to topple Datuk Seri Najib Razak as Prime Minister and add another item in his collection of the scalps of Prime Ministers and Deputy Prime Ministers in Malaysia.

Najib and his advisers might have thought that Mahathir would have been appeased at least temporarily with the Federal Court’s unconvincing dismissal of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s appeal and sending the 67-year-old one-time nemesis of Mahathir back to prison for the third time to serve a five-year jail sentence, but it is clear that such calculations were completely misplaced.

On the very evening of the Federal Court’s two-hour decision, which was forever tarnished by the outrageous three-paragraph statement of the Prime Minister’s Office raising the strongest doubts about the full restoration of a truly independent judiciary and a just rule of law in Malaysia, Mahathir wrote the infamous blog “Something Rotten”, quoting Marcellus in Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the immortal remark that “something is rotten in the state of Denmark”.

It was the most ironic culmination of a most “rotten day” of all decent and rational Malaysians, which saw a patriot and nationalist who had dedicated 47 years of his life to the pursuit of freedom, justice, human dignity and national unity returning to incarceration for the third time in his life, at the age of 67 on a most ridiculous charge and outrageous legal and judicial process.

There was no scarcity of ironies, for it was under Mahathir during his 22-year premiership from 1981-2003 that the rot started in Malaysia, where public and political decencies still respected and observed under the first three Prime Ministers, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Razak and Tun Hussein Onn, were thrown to the winds.

The ramparts of freedom, justice and human dignity came under ceaseless attack, resulting in the worsening of the rot with the destruction of democratic institutions and the doctrine of the separation of powers; the independence and integrity of the judiciary; the just rule of law; professional and independent national institutions whether the civil service, the police, the elections commission or anti-corruption agency; ethical and incorruptible leadership; a world-class education system and a dynamic and competitive economy which can compete with the rest of the world.

Yesterday marked another escalation of the battle of titans between Mahathir and Najib when the former Prime Minister declared that he would quit if he was the Prime Minister today.

He said that a PM should “make things easy” and resign if he cannot perform.

Ironically, Mahathir said this in his talk at a public forum titled ‘The Malaysian Dilemma’ in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, as Najib’s fate has morphed into a new “Malay Dilemma” for Mahathir.

While Mahathir should be applauded for adding his voice to those who questioned Najib’s brainchild, the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), saying that there shouldn’t have been a 1MDB at all and calling for accountability and transparency, is Mahathir prepared to allow his 22 years of premiership of Malaysia starting on the “rot of Denmark” to be fully investigated and examined?

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah