Mariam Mokhtar: Hadi and Mahathir – the odd couple…they make strange bedfellows

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These two men will never admit that their divisive policies, and their use of race and religion have failed.

Malays are no different from their Chinese, Indian, Orang Asli, Orang Asal and Eurasian cousins. They want the same things in life; security for their families, employment, crime-free communities, education for children, accessible healthcare, affordable housing, political stability.

Not all Malays have lost their values. Not all rural Malays are ignorant. The townie Malay with better wireless connection, newspapers and publicity organisations at his disposal can be more clueless than his kampung cousin.

On 28 February, PAS President, Hadi Awang, said that former prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, had invited him to his house after GE-15 to share their concerns about the future direction of the country.

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Their target? The Malays, or rather the Malay mind.

One works on the race angle, whilst the other controls religious sensitivities.

Don’t let these two men fool you!

For close to half a century, they sold Malaysia a myth about Malay unity. There is none.

Mahathir’s Vision 2020 failed to materialise and ironically, despite his mixed ancestry, Mahathir prefers to champion only the Malay race.

Hadi declared in his “Amanat Haji Hadi” that Muslims should go against the constitution of the colonials, and that by separating politics from religion, Muslims will become infidels.

Hadi’s teachings are dangerous. He labels bribes as donations. Ironically, his ramblings have confused many Malays, because some cannot decide if they are Arab, or Malay. Many Malays fear integration.

The two make strange bedfellows, given they are sworn enemies with a relationship that has spanned over four decades.

In the late 1970s, PAS’  domination was on the rise, especially in Mahathir’s home state of Kedah.

Divisional Umno heads who felt threatened by PAS warned Mahathir about their rising threat and that Umno would lose the coming general election if PAS’ influence continued.

Older Malays may recall how Friday prayers had to accommodate two sermons, One for PAS supporters and a second one for Umno. What Malay unity?

Last month, Hadi warned that Malaysia could be controlled by non-Muslims if Malays had low political awareness. He claimed that Mahathir was worried about the GE-15 results.

Hadi claimed that PN won because of the Malay/Muslim vote, whereas Harapan was boosted by the non-Muslim vote.

These two men will never admit that their divisive policies, and their use of race and religion have failed.

Mahathir was the PM for 22 years. He had the state apparatus behind him. Despite four decades of affirmative action policies the Malays have not progressed in leaps and bounds as projected, and they remain economically backward.

Instead, they have become more entitled. They have forgotten their culture and abandoned many Malay rituals because religious men say these age-old traditions are heathen.

Malays had all the advantages that other races could only dream of.

The only people who gained were Mahathir’s Malay and non-Malay cronies and his favourites.

Some Malay politicians are so wealthy that we only find out about their wealth from exposés like the Panama and Pandora Papers leaks or when one of them dies, and their relatives openly squabble about the billions of ringgits that they left behind.

How did one former ambassador amass billions of ringgits on an ambassadorial salary? Many Umno-Baru’s politicians refuse to list their assets claiming that they were successful businessmen before they were politicians and feared being kidnapped. Business acumen or political bribery?

Older Malaysians will recall the days of the Ali Baba business model. Projects cost more because the taxpayer had to pay several layers of sub-contractors and reward the politician and civil servants whose decision making was crucial.

Today, the Jana Wibawa11 scheme has replaced the former Ali Baba business model. At least in the past, non-Malay companies with expertise in particular fields would complete the construction job;  but as we saw last week, a non-Malay furniture company was allegedly the company refurbishing roads in a particular government project.

The president of the Malaysian Malay Contractors Association (PKMM), Mohamed Fadzill Hassan, had last month complained about   projects being awarded to companies that were friendly with certain political parties, despite having no experience and expertise in the job.

If Hadi and Mahathir join forces, Malaysians must ask themselves if this is what they want? When will all the lies end?

Many good people, including Malays have left the country for good.

Families split up and are now scattered around the globe, because children were denied opportunities and were forced to seek their fortune overseas.

Freedom of religion is only in name, and Muslims must wear their faith on their sleeves.

Like many Malay leaders, Hadi and Mahathir’s addiction to power has changed them. They are probably very nice people at home, but when in the driving seat of politics, they show a lack of remorse for the damage they have done to Malaysia.

They avoid accountability for their actions, and they become hardened authoritarians when they hold power. They and their families have become immensely wealthy but around them, peoples’ lives are ruined by their policies.

The irony is that four decades later, these two men, who were once sworn enemies, may team-up and wreak more havoc on Malaysia.

Only you can stop them. – Mariam Mokhtar