Time to hand over power without burdening Dr Mahathir

Time to  hand over power without burdening Dr Mahathir

One of the tenets of democracy has always been that there must be fair contest in periodically held elections where the people can decide who they want to represent them in government. The key here is that there must be a level playing ground for all contestants to be heard and for people to freely choose. For many years in Malaysia this did not appear to be the case, and this is probably the very reason why we did not have proper check and balance to avoid the many scandals and bail outs over the years culminating in 1MDB.

When Tun Mahathir first announced that he would lead the coalition and had received the blessings of the Pakatan Harapan Presidential Council, there was a somewhat collective albeit apprehensive sigh of relief that we finally had a Prime Minister candidate with experience and acumen to replace Najib Tun Razak. Tun Mahathir being a formidable politician of guile and required ruthlessness to take on some one with all the levers of power at his disposal and his advantage.

Eventually even the most fiercest of Mahathir critics gave in and accepted that maybe this was God’s way of giving Tun Mahathir an opportunity to redeem himself. To put this in context we must remember that Mahathir is credited for the good and the bad during his first stint in power as Malaysia’s 4th Prime Minister. While Malaysia grew under Tun Mahathir as an Asean Tiger, we were also faced with the weakening of the institutions of check and balance to government, the weakening of race relations, weakening of human rights and marginalised communities, the rise in corruption and the rise of capitalistic greed.

For all the good Tun Mahathir had done, his iron fisted rule had tarnished his legacy in his last remaining years in office as Malaysia’s 4th PM.

Fast forward to 2018, Tun Mahathir is back as PM and now has a chance to right everything wrong with Malaysia and save his legacy and leave a national hero.

After one year, Tun Mahathir is once again battling to put out fires on a daily basis, and in danger of leaving without having missed out on his God given second opportunity to leave on a high.

Tun Mahathir by his own admission has said that he is a poor judge of character when it comes to choosing his successor, some would say quite a few of his chosen Captains of Industry have not done so well either. Quite a few of his current pick in cabinet have failed to shine, placing an even bigger burden on Mahathir.

Still credit must be given where and when due, Tun Mahathir has scored some major victories, the lowering of the voting age of Malaysians, the appointment of key positions in institutions not clouded purely by traditional appointment based on race or religion, many more women in key positions, credible picks for both PDRM and MACC and many more. For all this and more, Malaysia will forever be thankful for the change of government.

Tun must be allowed to leave office on a high, he should not be burdened to have to stay just because people around him need him to stay for their own survival. As the saying goes, nobody is indispensable. Tun should not be burdened by once again having to choose a successor, he should let this burden lie with the Presidential Council of Pakatan Harapan, the same Council that had the good sense to give Tun Mahathir a second shot at the Premiership, now it is once again time for the Presidential Council to pick a new worthy successor to Tun Mahathir and set in motion the process of transfer of power.

The longer Tun Mahathir stays in power, the more there will be jockeying for positions among Pakatan Harapan politicians, wider divisions within and between the parties in Harapan and ever an ever present fear that whatever good done by Tun Mahathir so far will be undone if there is chaos due to uncertainty of transfer of leadership.

The last thing we want is continuous instability because the Presidential Council was not able to relieve Tun Mahathir of the burden we as Malaysians are at fault for placing upon him. Tun Mahathir has done enough for Malaysia, it is now time for Tun to be with his family.

By Ariff Farhan who reads The Leaders Online

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of The Leaders Online.

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Dr Mahathir Mohamad