Wednesday, July 9, 2008

THE APOLOGISTS


Posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at www.chedet.com on July 8, 2008 1:11 PM

(versi Bahasa Malaysia di akhir artikel ini)

1. At a press conference called to explain about the police report on judge Ian Chin, a Western reporter blamed me for the authoritarian rule of Prime Minister Dato Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

2. It seemed that he had inherited this behaviour from me. And she suggested that I was worse than Dato Seri Abdullah.

3. The Western press and my detractors among the opposition and certain members of the local press had of course labelled me a dictator when I was Prime Minister.

4. Labelling is one way to destroy the image of a leader and to reduce his popularity.

5. Lee Kuan Yew labelled me "the Malay Ultra" and the Chinese in Malaysia were shocked when I was named the Deputy Prime Minister by Tun Hussein. They thought I would be dispossessing them of their wealth and rights in favour of the Malays.

6. But soon after I took office they changed their minds and became very supportive. Before I stepped down the Chinese electorate ensured that I got the 2/3 majority in 1999, the last election over which I presided.

7. But the Western journalists prefer to retain their own fiction about my being a dictator, my anti-Chinese feelings and my being corrupt and favouring my cronies. Now their journalists would read these old reports and presume that they were God-given truths. They never ever do any real research. And so every time I criticise the Abdullah Badawi regime, they and the local Abdullah apologists would rebut by saying that I was worse when I was Prime Minister.

8. In particular my alleged authoritarian management of the party and the Government. What they ignore is the fact that during my Presidency of UMNO, other leaders were not afraid to challenge me.

9. Dato (now Tun) Musa Hitam, my first Deputy resigned from his position in the Government and the party. I was naturally angered by his action. But the Supreme Council of UMNO decided to send a delegation to appeal to him to come back. I did not oppose this move, and accepted his decision to return as Deputy President of UMNO but not as Deputy Prime Minister.

10. I had to appoint (Tun) Ghaffar Baba as Deputy Prime Minister.

11. Then Musa persuaded his arch enemy, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to contest for President against me while he contested for Deputy President.

12. The two were supported by (Dato Seri) Abdullah Badawi, (Dato Seri) Syed Hamid Albar, (Tan Sri) Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, (Dato Seri) Rais Yatim and many others. They went around the country to persuade UMNO divisions and members to dump me and elect them at the UMNO General Assembly.

13. I did not stop them from campaigning although they made scurrilous allegations against me. UMNO members were not prevented from attending campaign meetings held by them. It is believed that money was used to persuade UMNO delegates to the General Assembly to vote for them.

14. In the event I just managed to win with a 43 vote majority while my running mate, Ghaffar had a 41 vote majority.

15. Tengku Razaleigh's supporters took this issue to court seeking to force a new election. The court decided that UMNO was an illegal party. I had to re-register UMNO as New UMNO, UMNO Baru. Tengku Razaleigh formed a new party which he called Semangat 46 or Spirit of '46 (the year UMNO was formed).

16. Both parties tried to attract the members of the former UMNO. UMNO Baru (New UMNO) gained the most number of the former members and new members.

17. Dato Seri Abdullah opted to join UMNO Baru. Even though he supported Tengku Razaleigh I did not stop him. However I did not appoint him as a Minister.

18. Semangat 46 did badly in the General Elections in 1990 and again in 1995. Tengku Razaleigh dissolved the party and rejoined UMNO. I did not bear a grudge against him. His colleague Dato Seri Rais Yatim was reappointed a Minister.

19. Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi contested for membership of the UMNO Supreme Council and won. At the next election he contested for Vice President and came in second.

20. After that I concluded that UMNO members wanted him and I reappointed him as a Cabinet Minister. I could not ignore the wishes of UMNO members. The party belongs to them, not to me alone.

21. He then went on to be made Deputy Prime Minister and was accordingly elected by UMNO Assembly as Deputy President.

22. All these things were possible when I was President of UMNO and Prime Minister. But the moment I stepped down I was not allowed to meet UMNO Ministers and other UMNO leaders and they were not allowed to meet me or attend any function where I spoke. This remains the directive to this day.

23. UMNO members who invited me to speak were called up by UMNO Menteri Besar and the Police and told to withdraw their invitation. After that UMNO branches stopped inviting me. They had to persuade NGO's to invite me so that the few brave souls among them could attend anonymously. UMNO Members of Parliament and State Assemblymen would not attend even the NGO organised meetings.

24. Invitations by universities are not allowed and a few who did had to withdraw their invitations.

25. When I requested to see Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak, the UMNO Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister after the Election he said he had to get the permission of the Prime Minister.

26. After a long time when the Press asked if I had met the Deputy Prime Minister, I had to explain that I had not because the Deputy Prime Minister had not obtained the permission of the Prime Minister yet. When I was Deputy Prime Minister I never had to get the permission of the Prime Minister to see anyone. Neither had my four Deputies to ask permission from me. They were free to see anyone they liked.

27. After the Press reported my reply, the Prime Minister denied he did not give permission. Subsequently Dato Seri Najib invited me to see him in his house. I went and I found that he was not willing to go against anything the Prime Minister said or did. It was obvious that he was afraid of the Prime Minister. Why he is afraid I do not know. But all the Cabinet Ministers, Members of the UMNO Supreme Council, Divisional Heads are afraid of Prime Minister Abdullah. They were never afraid of me when I was Prime Minister.

28. After the 2008 Elections even UMNO members blamed Dato Seri Abdullah. Many had secretly voted for the opposition because they did not like him or his administration. He was asked to step down by many UMNO Division heads who were not in the Government. Those in the Government gave unlimited support fearing to lose their jobs.

29. None of the UMNO top leaders dared to challenge him. None dared to say anything openly against him. UMNO Supreme Council members and Cabinet members all chorused their support of him. Support for me when I was Prime Minister was never total.

30. Despite the frequent challenges and criticisms against me when I was UMNO President and Prime Minister, despite the fact that UMNO members and leaders actually stood against me and nearly toppled me, despite UMNO leaders contesting against me, Abdullah apologists and the Western press still insist that I was a dictator who is worse than Abdullah. That I had stepped down voluntarily, something which dictators have never done, has not lessened this dictator label on me.

31. This argument that I was worse than Dato Abdullah will be trotted out every time I criticise or point out the authoritarianism of the Abdullah regime. If people are so blind as not to see who is the dictator and who is not, it is their right. But when you deliberately ignore the truth you will lose credibility. That is why today very few read the Government controlled mainstream newspapers or watch the news reports on Government controlled television. Blogs have replaced the conventional media as sources of information.

32. That is why I have taken to blogging. The number of visitors I get (three million in two months) and the comments they make tell the true story about how the people really feel. To a huge majority of these people I am not a dictator. For me that counts.

33. The apologists will go on repeating the old cliché but it will get them nowhere. Clearly people just don't believe.

****


PEMBODEK

1. Pada sidang akhbar untuk menerangkan berkenaan laporan polis terhadap Hakim Ian Chin, seorang pemberita asing menyalahkan saya kerana pentadbiran kuku besi Perdana Menteri.

2. Kononnya sikapnya ini diperturunkan daripada saya. Malahan pemberita itu juga mengatakan yang saya lebih buruk daripada Dato Seri Abdullah.

3. Media Barat dan pengkritik-pengkritik saya di kalangan pembangkang dan sesetengah pihak di kalangan media tempatan telah melabelkan saya sebagai diktator semasa saya menjadi Perdana Menteri.

4. Label adalah satu cara untuk burukkan imej pemimpin bagi mengurangkan popularitinya.

5. Lee Kuan Yew melabel saya "Malay Ultra" dan rakyat Malaysia berketurunan Cina terkejut atas pelantikan saya sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri oleh Tun Hussein Onn. Mereka jangka yang saya akan merampas kekayaan dan hak mereka untuk diberikan kepada orang Melayu.

6. Tetapi selepas saya mengambil alih, mereka bertukar fikiran dan sokong saya. Sebelum saya letak jawatan, pengundi-pengundi Cina telah pastikan saya dapat majority 2/3 pada 1999, pilihanraya umum terakhir yang saya terajui.

7. Tetapi pemberita barat masih kekal dengan khayalan mereka yang saya ini diktator, anti kaum Cina dan perasuah disamping memberi keistimewaan kepada kroni-kroni saya. Pemberita mereka akan membaca laporan-laporan lama dan akan menganggap ianya sebagai benar. Mereka tidak pernah membuat sebarang penyelidikan. Sebab itu setiap kali saya mengkritik rejim Dato Seri Abdullah, mereka dan pembodek-pembodek Abdullah akan tuduh yang saya ini lebih buruk semasa menjadi Perdana Menteri.

8. Terutama sekali tuduhan berkenaan pentadbiran kuku besi yang kononnya saya amalkan dalam Kerajaan dan parti. Hakikat yang mereka tidak mahu lihat ialah semasa saya pegang kerusi Presiden UMNO, pemimpin-pemimpin lain tidak takut melawan saya.

9. Dato (sekarang Tun) Musa Hitam, timbalan saya yang pertama melepaskan jawatannya di dalam Kerajaan dan parti. Sudah tentu saya marah dengan tindakannya. Tetapi Majlis Tertinggi UMNO memutuskan untuk menghantar delegasi memujuk beliau kembali. Saya tidak bantah gerakan ini dan menerima keputusannya kembali sebagai Timbalan Presiden UMNO, tetapi tidak sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri.

10. Saya melantik (Tun) Ghaffar Baba sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri.

11. Selepas itu Musa menghasut musuh ketatnya, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah supaya bertanding kerusi Presiden menentang saya dan dia sendiri bertanding jawatan Timbalan Presiden.

12. Mereka berdua disokong oleh (Dato Seri) Abdullah Badawi, (Dato Seri) Syed Hamid Albar, (Tan Sri) Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, (Dato Seri) Rais Yatim dan ramai lagi. Mereka menjelajah ke seluruh negara memujuk Bahagian-bahagian dan ahli UMNO untuk menolak saya dan melantik mereka di Perhimpunan Agong UMNO.

13. Saya tidak sekat mereka berkempen walaupun mereka membuat tuduhan-tuduhan yang memburukkan imej saya. Ahli UMNO tidak dihalang menghadiri mesyuarat kempen mereka. Adalah dipercayai bahawa wang telah digunakan bagi memujuk perwakilan UMNO ke mesyuarat Agong untuk mengundi mereka.

14. Dalam pertandingan tersebut saya menang dengan majoriti 43-undi manakala Ghafar menang dengan 41-undi.

15. Penyokong-penyokong Tengku Razaleigh membawa isu ini ke mahkamah untuk memaksa pemilihan semula. Mahkamah putuskan UMNO sebagai pertubuhan yang tidak sah. Saya terpaksa daftar semula UMNO sebagai UMNO Baru. Tengku Razaleigh menubuhkan parti baru yang dipanggil Semangat 46 bersempena tahun kelahiran UMNO.

16. Kedua-dua parti cuba menarik ahli UMNO lama. UMNO Baru berjaya pikat ahli lama dan ahli baru yang teramai.

17. Dato Seri Abdullah memilih untuk sertai UMNO Baru. Walaupun dia menyokong Tengku Razaleigh saya tidak menyekatnya. Tetapi saya tidak lantik dia sebagai Menteri.

18. Semangat 46 kalah teruk pada Pilihanraya Umum 1990 dan sekali lagi pada 1995. Tengku Razaleigh membubarkan parti tersebut dan kembali kepada UMNO. Saya tidak menyimpan apa-apa dendam terhadapnya. Dato Seri Rais Yatim dilantik Menteri.

19. Dato Seri Abdullah Badawi bertanding dan menang kerusi Ahli Majlis tertinggi UMNO. Pada pemilihan seterusnya dia bertanding Naib Presiden dan mendapat tempat kedua.

20. Selepas itu saya membuat rumusan bahawa ahli UMNO hendakkan beliau dan saya pun lantik beliau sebagai Menteri Kabinet. Saya tidak boleh ketepikan kehendak ahli UMNO. Parti ini adalah hak ahli, bukan hak saya seorang.

21. Dianya kemudian dilantik oleh saya sebagai Timbalan Perdana Menteri dan sebagai kebiasaan oleh dipilih perwakilan UMNO sebagai Timbalan Presiden.

22. Semua ini berlaku semasa saya memegang jawatan Presiden UMNO dan Perdana Menteri. Tetapi sebaik sahaja saya meletak jawatan saya tidak dibenar berjumpa Menteri UMNO dan lain-lain pemimpin UMNO dan mereka juga tidak dibenar berjumpa saya atau menghadiri apa-apa acara dimana saya berucap. Arahan ini kekal hingga hari ini.

23. Ahli UMNO yang menjemput saya berucap dipanggil Menteri Besar UMNO dan polis dan diarah tarik balik jemputan mereka. Selepas itu cawangan-cawangan UMNO berhenti menjemput saya. Mereka terpaksa menggunakan Badan Bukan Kerajaan (NGO) agar yang berani di antara mereka dapat hadir secara senyap. Ahli Parlimen UMNO serta Ahli Dewan Undangan Negeri tidak akan hadir walaupun mesyuarat di anjurkan NGO.

24. Jemputan oleh universiti juga tidak dibenarkan dan yang menjemput terpaksa tarik balik.

25. Apabila saya minta untuk berjumpa Timbalan Presiden UMNO dan Timbalan Perdana Menteri Dato Seri Najib Tun Razak selepas Pilihanraya Umum, dia berkata yang dia terpaksa dapatkan kebenaran Perdana Menteri dahulu.

26. Setelah beberapa lama, pihak akhbar bertanya kepada saya jika saya telah berjumpa Timbalan Perdana Menteri, saya terpaksa terang kepada mereka yang saya masih belum dapat jumpa kerana Timbalan Perdana Menteri masih belum dapat kebenaran Perdana Menteri. Semasa saya menjadi Timbalan Perdana Menteri saya tidak perlu dapatkan kebenaran Perdana Menteri untuk bertemu sesiapa. Begitu juga dengan empat Timbalan saya, mereka tidak perlu dapatkan kebenaran saya. Mereka bebas berjumpa sesiapa yang mereka suka.

27. Selepas akhbar melapor jawapan saya, Perdana Menteri berkata dia tidak pun tidak beri kebenaran. Sejurus itu Dato Seri Najib juga jemput saya ke rumahnya. Saya pergi dan saya dapati yang dia tidak sanggup untuk menentang apa sahaja yang Perdana Menteri kata atau lakukan. Jelaslah yang dia takut kepada Perdana Menteri. Kenapa dianya begitu takut saya tak tahu. Tetapi semua Menteri Kabinet, ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO, Ketua-Ketua Bahagian memangpun takut dengan Perdana Menteri Abdullah. Mereka tidakpun pernah takut semasa saya menjadi Perdana Menteri.

28. Selepas Pilihanraya Umum 2008, ahli UMNO pun menyalahkan Dato Seri Abdullah. Ramai yang telah secara senyap mengundi pembangkang kerana mereka tidak sukakannya mahupun pentadbirannya. Dia diminta letak jawatan oleh ramai Ketua-Ketua Bahagian yang tidak memegang jawatan Kerajaan. Yang berada dalam Kerajaan memberi sokongan tidak belah-bagi kerana takut kehilangan jawatan.

29. Tidak ada seorangpun pemimpin tinggi UMNO yang berani menentangnya. Tidak ada seorangpun yang berani menyatakan apa-apa secara terbuka terhadapnya. Ahli Majlis Tertinggi UMNO dan Menteri-menteri Kabinet bersatu suara menyokong beliau. Sokongan kepada saya semasa saya Perdana Menteri tidak pernah menyeluruh.

30. Walaupun kerap berlaku tentangan dan kritikan terhadap saya semasa mejadi Presiden UMNO dan Perdana Menteri, walaupun ahli UMNO dan pemimpin parti jelas menentang saya dan hampir menjatuhkan saya, walaupun pemimpin UMNO bertanding melawan saya, pembodek-pembodek Abdullah dan media Barat masih lagi berkeras mengatakan bahawa saya diktator yang lebih buruk daripada Abdullah. Bahawa saya telah meletak jawatan tanpa paksaan, sesuatu yang tidak pernah dilakukan oleh mana-mana diktator, ini tidak sedikitpun mengurangkan dakwaan diktator terhadap saya.

31. Tuduhan yang saya lebih buruk daripada Dato Seri Abdullah akan dibangkitkan setiap kali saya mengkritik atau menunjukkan penguasaan kuku besi rejim Abdullah. Jika orang terlalu buta dan tidak dapat melihat siapa diktator dan siapa bukan, itu adalah hak mereka. Tetapi apabila kita sengaja menolak kebenaran kita akan hilang kredibiliti. Itulah sebabnya kenapa hari ini tidak ramai yang membaca akhbar arus perdana yang dikawal Kerajaan atau menonton laporan berita di stesen televisyen yang dikawal Kerajaan. Blog telah mengambil alih peranan media konvensyenal sebagai sumber maklumat.

32. Itulah juga sebabnya saya mulakan blog saya ini. Pengunjung yang saya terima (tiga juta dalam masa dua bulan) dan maklumbalas yang mereka buat mencerita keadaan sebenar tentang apa yang mereka rasa. Kepada majority yang besar di kalangan mereka saya bukan diktator. Bagi saya ini penting.

33. Pembodek akan terus ulang lagu lama tetapi ini tidak akan membawa mereka kemana-mana. Jelas sekali rakyat sudah tidak percaya.