Is Dr Mahathir a drowning man clutching on the race card to stay afloat?

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad is like a drowning man, grabbing onto anything to ensure his political survival.

He has refused to accept the fact that has become irrelevant, evidenced by his former party, Parti Pejuang Tanah Air’s total rout in the 15th General Election last November.

Almost all the candidates, himself included, lost their deposits.

The writing on the wall is clear but he does not see it as a rejection, rather as a challenge to mount an offensive to rejuvenate his flagging political fortunes.

To add to his ire, his arch-nemesis, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, is now prime minister – helming the country and basking in both the national, and international limelight.

It must be grating for Dr Mahathir to see Anwar at the top of the ziggurat. Dr Mahathir did his best to deny Anwar the premiership. Yet, man proposes, and God disposes.

Dr Mahathir now faces a predicament.

His decision to abandon Pejuang and join Putra is a desperate attempt to find a platform to achieve his objective, under the guise of fighting for the Malays, and to reinstate their economic, and political dominance.

He lamented that other races were in control of the economy, and have side-lined the Malays. According to him, the Malays, have all along, been at a disadvantage.

It is mind-boggling to think that the Malay political parties, specifically Umno – in which Dr Mahathir played a significant role as its president, and in government as education, trade and industry, and later, as prime minister of 22 years – did nothing to alleviate the economic plight of the Malays, to the extent that they are economically handicapped and destitute, today.

The Barisan Nasional government, which held political and economic power for 60 years, implemented various initiatives, including the New Economic Policy, ostensibly to help the Malays.

Even though political power and the civil service were overwhelmingly in the hands of the Malays, they were, according to Dr Mahathir, still economically and professionally handicapped.

The problem was the mismanagement of the country’s resources by the Malay political elites, the privileged class, and the politically-connected corporate figures who enriched themselves, their families, and their cohorts at the expense of the common Malays, with a significant portion of them mired in poverty.

The 1Malaysia Development Bhd fiasco, linked to Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is a clear example of how the political elites squandered the country’s wealth to enrich themselves.

Successive governments after the 14th General Election were equally culpable. Dr Mahathir, when he led the 22-month-old Pakatan Harapan government, did not do much to alleviate the economic plight of the Malays because they were too busy bickering and politicking among themselves.

The governments under Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob were burdened by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr Mahathir’s statements that the Malays were economically bereft, had been sidelined, and handicapped because “foreigners” were in control of the economy, smacked of mischief.

Dr Mahathir and other Malay politicians have conveniently shifted the blame for the predicament the Malays are in onto others.

He is like a drowning man, grabbing at anything to keep himself afloat.

The sad part is that Dr Mahathir’s desires have sent him stumbling, from a multiverse cosmopolitan universe, to a myopic, parochial, stigmatised dogma of exclusive ethnicity.

He now stokes the communal fire with his incendiary remarks that foster hatred and racial conflict.

Dr Mahathir risks putting asunder what our founding fathers worked so hard to put together, just so that he could not only spite and spew his venom on Anwar and his unity government, but also reassert himself politically.

He is willing to destroy the fabric of harmonious living in order to serve his political agenda.

This drastic change is the sign of a desperate man trying to cling on to a political life that is no longer relevant.

As the sands of time trickle down towards the final countdown, wise men can sometimes turn into fools, bent on creating a world in their own image, just to satisfy their lust for power, arrogance, and self-importance.

This is the personal opinion of the writer and does not necessarily represent the views of Twentytwo13.