Former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed and many Malaysians may believe that the only way to end the ongoing crisis in Malaysia is to bring Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak down.
Unfortunately, that will not happen as Najib will remain in office for as long as he wishes, thanks to Mahathir’s legacy.
Prior to 1988, the Malaysian judiciary had become increasingly independent, even earning praises from abroad. This all ended in 1988 when matters went head to head with none other than Mahathir himself. The eventual sacking of former Lord President of the Federal Court of Malaysia Tun Salleh Abbas and two other Supreme Court (now known as the Federal Court) judges would spell the end of a glorious era.
Interestingly, Najib today has not only adopted Mahathir's skills, but has gone on to improvise his master’s kungfu by including the Attorney-General. Why were we even surprised when AG Tan Sri Apandi Ali cleared the PM of all charges in the RM2.6 billion scandal?
Mahathir has in his time, removed his Deputy Prime Ministers - Tun Musa Hitam, Tun Ghafar Baba, and most infamously, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. We see the same happening today via the removal of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin by Najib.
Were Najib and Mahathir wrong in removing their Cabinet Ministers and DPMs? Legally no, but morally in the eyes of the public, they definitely are.
Constitutionally, the PM can choose whoever he likes, whenever he likes and how often he likes. He can even swap his Cabinet once every week if he is too free.
Mahathir has had his fair share in removing Menteri Besars that did not go along with him. In 1996, Tan Sri Sanusi Junid, a staunch supporter of Mahathir was handpicked to replace the then Kedah MB Tan Sri Osman bin Aroff despite not having the majority support of the state assembly.
Constitutionally, the head of any state administration should be conceived from the majority’s support in the state assembly. This means neither the PM nor the UMNO Chiefs would have any say, unless they happen to be a state assemblyman/woman at the same time.
Economy under Mahathir did not fare too well either. Given the state of Malaysia in the 1980s and 1990s as a booming economy, any Tom, Dick or Harry would have achieved similar results. In fact, Mahathir should have fared even better given the circumstances Malaysia was in. Similarly, if Mahathir is the premier now, he would be suffering the same fate as Najib.
When Mahathir started criticising Najib for squandering 1MDB funds, he should also remember that his tenure too had its fair share of government scandals such as PKFZ, Perwaja Steel, Proton Holdings, and so on.
Mahathir believes in trickle-down economics, in which his moneymen would hold a large portion of the market shares through mega conglomerates. The business empires of those linked to him such as Tan Sri Vincent Tan, Ananda Krishnan and so forth is testament of how he wields a hidden hand in ensuring the economy is run the way he wants.
You cannot blame the likes of ministers Datuk Ahmad Maslan, Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri and Datuk Seri Azalina Othman for saying the things they say. UMNO today is a result of the patronage system cultivated by Mahathir.
This is not a disease exclusive to UMNO warlords. It is a system within the entire UMNO all the way to its grassroots and also in the government’s administrative system. Look at how the civil service is run today. No doubt, there are a handful of directors who want to improve the civil service for the better, but at the same time, they get tied down to the people in the corridors of power.
What Malaysia desperately needs is more than a new Prime Minister. The whole system must be reformed, revamped and undergo an overhaul immediately. This means powers held by the Prime Minister should be decentralized. Former opposition chief Anwar had once promised that. Checks and balances have to be in place, and this will only happen with the empowerment of the respective institutions.
Source from The Heat Malaysia