Monday, December 12, 2005

Dr. Mahathir can't be all wrong either

The big-bang reappearance of former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad in the public discourses and debates has certainly been noted by many people throughout the world. As I have said before in this blog, there are still some people who dislike him for the many terrible things he did and said when he held supreme powers in Malaysia, like the 1987 Operation Lallang, the 1998 sacking and continuing smearing of Anwar Ibrahim as well as the stereotyping of the Jewish and European peoples. I share some of these verdicts on him in the court of public opinion.

However, now that the old man is without executive power, why should we still fear or hate him for merely expressing his personal opinions in the public domain unless we feel we are intellectually more inferior than him? Why not let him say whatever he think is right so that we can have second thoughts of what we think is right? After all, he is certainly more intelligent and articulate at least on certain issues than many currently serving ministers and deputy ministers like Noh Omar and Zainudin Maidin.

One may still argue that Dr. Mahathir's mercantilist economics is outdated but he is still better than those politicians who have no basic ecomonic knowledge at all. His opinions on international relations may be controversial but he is now at least not enthralled by pomps, pageants, ceremonies and the feel-good (FG1), feel-great (FG2), semua-pun-baik (SPB1) or semua-pun-boleh (SPB2) rhetoric. He goes instead directly into the fundamentals of power relationship as Realists E.H. Carr did for Britain or Hans Morgenthau for the United States once upon a time.

So, our attitude toward the arguments and ideas of the old man should that of buang yang keruh, ambil yang jernih on case-by-case basis

Again, welcome back to public discourses and debates, Tun, but don't get too personal, racial or emotional either.