Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Ku Li's own abrupt U-turn and flip-flop

Former Finance Minister and arch nemesis of ex-PM Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is quoted today by the New Straits Times as effectively accusing the latter as a "dictator" who "brooked no criticism".

Not many people who remember Operasi Lallang and the closure of Sin Chew Jit Poh, The Star and Watan in 1987 as well as the 1998-2004 persecution of Anwar Ibrahim can seriously dispute Ku Li's accusation unless Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad himself now reveals hitherto unknown information to justify or rationalize anew all those decisions or actions.

( Of course, to be fair to Dr. Mahathir, it was also true that after coming into power in 1981, he immediately ordered the unconditional releases of many ISA detainees like DAP's Chan Heng Kai and Chan Kok Kit incarcerated by the previous Hussein Onn regime. There is also the argument that Dr. Mahathir's ex-nemesis Tunku Abdul Rahman, beside signing the 1957-1971 Anglo-Malayan Defence Agreement or AMDA to allowe foreign troops to be stationed and operated in Malaya and elsewhere after 'Merdeka', also detained more people without trial from 1957 to 1970 than Dr. Mahathir)

As a matter of public record, Ku Li did lead a good fight against Dr. Mahathir both as an Umno dissident as well as the opposition Semangat 46 chief for about ten years until he and his followers like Rais Yatim made an abrupt U-turn in 1996 by disbanding Semangat 46 and joining en masse Dr. Mahathir Mohamad's new party Umno Baru which they opposed in the period 1988-1996. The original Umno founded in 1946 by Onn Jaafar had already been deregistered in 1988 by the Kuala Lumpur High Court as the result of a law suit instituted by Ku Li's supporters against the now defunct Umno.

The question is: why did Ku Li, Rais Yatim and their anti-Mahathir followers joined Umno Baru founded by Dr. Mahathir in 1996 when Dr. Mahathir was still the president and there was still no signs at all of Dr. Mahathir resigning or departing from the political scene?

Was it because in (or since) 1996, Dr. Mahathir had become less "dictatorial" or more "liberal"? What did Ku Li do in Dr.Mahathir's party between 1996 and October 2003 to attempt to make the country more democratic, open and less "dictatorial"?

Why had Ku Li been keeping quiet on Dr. Mahathir's "dictatorial" past from 1996 to now? Why has Ku Li chosen to attack Dr. Mahathir's "dictatorial" past again now after he had already made peace with the "dictator" who "brooked no criticism" for ten years from 1996 to 2006?


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