What is most vivid in my memory of the time when Mahathir was Prime Minister and Anwar Ibrahim his Deputy was in the manner by which they both conducted themselves. God and demi God! Tales abound as to how Mahathir dominated Cabinet and all facets of Government – if need be he knew who was the OCPD of any District and if required would and did direct that OCPD to do his bidding at district level. Anwar was no slouch at getting things done. The manner by which he turfed Ghaffar out of the DPM post is now stuff of legends. These two rule the roost and Malaysia was their stomping ground. Any lesser being then these two had reason to fear their ire.
How things have changed today. Mahathir is now a caricature of himself.
While in the past during the Mahathir’s years as PM this Ibrahim Ali would not have been able to approached Mahathir even on bended knees, today Mahathir is Advisor to Ibrahim Ali’s Perkasa! Now Mahathir stands beside this Ibrahim Ali waving a Kris to denote his support of Ketuanan Melayu to the Malays?
Where Mahathir once could silence the Malaysian Cabinet by letting it be known that he was not amused with the antics of its Members, today he is reduced to using sarcasm to show his displeasure at the antics of KJ, Nazri or anything else that displeases him. More often than not his words falls upon deaf ears or are dismissed with contempt by the recipient of his ire.
He could once decide the fate of Deputy Ministers, Ministers and Menteri Besars. Today he shots blanks at Pakatan Rakyat and increasingly finds himself to be the target of an ever increasing group of people that treats him with utter contempt and disgust. And these are people whom Mahathir would not have the time of day for in his years as PM.
Anwar is not any better then. In Mahathir he had a good teacher and Anwar was an eager disciple. Do you all not remember the rarefied atmosphere of the rich and the powerful that Anwar moved in then? He had his people everywhere - especially in the corporate world.
I marvelled at how these two have managed to put themselves into that strata of the high and the mighty without ever considering the need for humility in the job that they do – that of being leader to the people of Malaysia. Humble leadership was not in their vocabulary!
To them being ever so confident, bombastic and extrovert without an ounce of humility was what they perceived to be the way to go! If you were to see any humility in them it was feigned and certainly insincere! But those were the days.
Things are different today. No one now fears Mahathir anymore. Mahathir is politically impotent and has been so for many years now though through bouts of self medicated Viagra in gestation he has from time to time manage to stand erect above the UMNO fray to spout forth his views on what ever he thinks would give him that fleeting recognition from the public that he so much craves. What self imposed humiliation is worse for Mahthir than to be the Advisor to PERKASA. The old Mahathir would have considered it beneath his dignity to even be in the same room as Ibrahim Ali what more be his ADVISOR!
DSAI is finding his feet again. Standing tall amongst his peers but this time in a different arena, in the strange world of those not in government. To succeed in the new world that he is now in he has to distance himself from the world he was once part of. And there my friend lies the problem for Anwar Ibrahim.
Anwar and Mahathiir knows enough about each other to bury the other! So why have they not done so? They both know that even if one of them were to strike the mortal blow to the other, there would still be enough time for the dying to do enough to kill the other. So for self preservation they will joust with each other but not kill each other.
For both the days of glory, unbridled power and influence is long gone and will never comeback. Today Mahathir and Anwar fear the people they once dominate.
When the people fear the government there is tyranny, when the government fears the people there is liberty.”
Liberty is close for us but not yet a certainty. But I think there are more good people amongst us than evil one.Those in political power can no longer deceive or overawe us with the pomp and circumstance that they surround themselves with.
My greatest hope is that Anwar Ibrahim is a change man. We all would like to believe that the sum of all the experiences that he has gone through has made him into a better man. We have need of a changed Anwar Ibrahim. Many of us will give Anwar the benefit of the doubt but there are still many who will not do so. But as I have often asked before…if not Anwar then who?