Loyal Followers

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Enemies of the State

India, apparently is a country which has made the "mistake of being too democratic". And, "democracy can be a hindrance to progress because you spend so much time politicking that you don’t have time to develop your country. In China, there’s not much politics. So, they can spend more time developing their country.”

Those are statements attributed to Tun Dr Mahathir in a IANS report as quoted by Malaysia Today on 17.11.2009.

I love it when DrM is being philosophical. Because he makes philosophy, especially political philosophy, interesting. Interesting in a comedic way, I mean.

First and foremost, to put China and India in the same political sphere is an act of questionable wisdom.

India is a parliamentary republic deeply entrenched within the Westminster typed democracy as practiced in the United Kingdom. Malaysia, which was governed by DrM practices the Westminster typed democracy as well, save for the fact that we are not a republic.

China, on the other hand is not a democratic country at all. It is a communist country. The people have no freedom of speech or at all. They kill their own people for having the guts to stand up and be counted. The so called leaders do things according to their own whims and fancies. The people just have to accept. There is no election. No voting. No nothing.

(The only good thing about China's administration  is the fact that they shoot their civil servants for corruption.)

DrM must have confused China with Malaysia during his days as the Prime Minister. Save for the fact that Malaysia is not a communist country and we do not shoot our civil servants for corruption, of course.

According to DrM, the people "do not understand the limits of democracy”. And that dear Doctor, includes the leaders too, if I may add. Which begs the question, what can the people do when they do not understand, or misunderstand, the limits of democracy? Create chaos? If so, isn't it the duty of a responsible Government to educate and to protect the people and the State in accordance with the law and the power entrusted by the people?

The real danger to the State  is not the people not understanding the limits of democracy. The real danger to the State is the leaders not understanding the limits of their powers. The real danger to the State is the leaders not understanding democracy in itself and its inner working. Because there lies the root of abuses. There lies the root of wrongdoings, corruption, nepotism, cronyism and totalitarian absolutism.

While a responsible Government could crush, with all its might and powers, a revolt by people who do not know the limits of democracy, what, on the other side of the fence, can the people do to stop Government- sponsored terrors, abuses, financial misdeeds, tortures, transgressions of universal human rights and even downright murders?

Remember Memali? What could the helpless people who, in the mid 80s, were still eating ubi keledek for dinner, do? Other than to bath the dead, pray for them and bury them 6 feet in the ground? And believe that the dead are going to heaven as "syuhada"? What? And what danger were those  people to the State?

In a democracy the people trade some of their freedom for the greater societal benefits that the State manifestly offer. The Government is the trustee of the people's freedom and the powers conferred by the people. Those trust properties are to be used only, and only for, the betterment of the society and the State. And the people choose those who are to govern. That is the crux of democracy. But does it end there? We vote and so it is democratic? That's it? And upon being elected, we are at your mercy?

What about the performance of the trust?

And so, apparently, if the people know their limits, the leaders can concentrate on developing the country. Like in China. Oh, how blessed is our developed Malaysia. During 22 years of DrM's rule, when all of us knew our limits, or made to know our limits, he so concentrated on the development of Malaysia. Let's see. We have:

  • spanking nice highways but we have to pay tolls and the toll rate keeps on going up like an elevator to nowhere.
  • an education system which serves as a fertile breeding ground for racial segregation and good for manufacturing humanoids.
  • health care services which are almost non existent.
  • a huge new administrative centre with no viable transportation system and parking space.
  • a transportation system which is high on technology but really low on delivery.
  • nice tallest twin towers in the world.
  • nice race track which hosts 3 international races per year.
  • broadband services which is anything but broad.
  • etc etc

If DrM was right, that being undemocratic or not so democratic  was productive in terms of development, why is Malaysia still not a developed nation after 22 years of benevolent absolutist rule? Why are we now mired in:

  • racism - the least said the better.
  • religious extremism and persecution - Dr Asri was just charged as I am writing this.
  • corruption - look at the Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2009 published 2 days ago.
  • Governmental abuses - need I list them out?
  • human rights transgressions - read Operasi Lalang.
  • a societal beliefs in tahyul, bomoh and superstition.
  • a societal transfixion with celebrities weddings, house decor, body and physical decor and upliftment.
  • semi feudalistic idolatry of leaders and mini emperors.
  • stupidity, even in the House of Parliament.
  • a bunch of generation Z whose idea of progress is upgrading their iPhone3G to iPhone3GS.
  • fill in the blank

22 years after. And we have these. Do these exist because our people did not know the limits of democracy for 22 years? Or because our leaders did not know the limit of their powers for 22 years and beyond?

Yes. According to DrM, the Westerners are wrong for making democracy and freedom the cornerstone of progress. The British are so free they go on strike every other day. Well, who sent people to the moon in 1969? Which part of the world had an industrial revolution? Why have Russia, East Germany, Romania et al embraced democracy and freedom? From whom did we buy our Scorpene? Why Glasnost and Perestroika? So the people know the limits of freedom and how to behave themselves properly and in accordance with the Government's code of behavioural acceptance?

And finally, according to DrM, apart from China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan will lead the Asian charge.

Which made me thinking, were Japan, South Korea and Taiwan governed by a benevolent absolutist government? Do the people in these countries know the limits of democracy? If so, to what extent? And who impose and define these limits on them?

Because the last time I checked, the South Koreans will come out on the street in droves to protest even the misuse of an office eraser by a Minister. The Taiwanese on the other hand would fight tooth and nail for the right to hog the microphone in their House of Representative. As for the Japanese, they just booted out their long non-performing Government.

So, India is too democratic and therefore they won't succeed?


Kris said...

Well said Art Harun...

I caught excerpts of Mahathirs biography as well where they seemed to extol the virtues of development that was brought to Malaysia by the good doctor. What struck me was the rose colored glasses people seem to wear.

Yes we have development in infrastructure. New highways and administrative centres. But all these took were the spending of money. The buying of these things for want of a better word.

Malaysia sad to say has not just seen no development on the human capital side but we have actually regressed. Is there any regret among the protagonists who gave rise to this? On the list you have mentioned, blatant outright racism from when we enjoyed each others efforts and company. Plus the absolute downhill slide in ethics and integrity. The level of capability among it's people.

We have been overshadowed by nations who had no money to spend and buy their way into a facade of a developed nation. Korea and Taiwan were backward economies in the seventies. Our currency was stronger then theirs was then. But they did it the hard way, they worked at it and today they have everything, the education systems, the infrastructure and the people. And they did that because they expected and held their governments accountable versus being held hostage by their governments... Which is how democracy is supposed to work

PutraRocker said...

no woman no cry...o_O

Sivakumar said...

Dear Sir,

Thank you so much for rebutting and correcting Mahathir's statement that "democracy can be bad for progress".

Mahathir often gets away with statements and claims like this that fool an deceive the rakyat.

I read this statement of his when it was first released in the news, and I was wishing so much someone would retort or put some balance into his view.

How wonderful it was for me to open the Malaysian Insider and find that you have done exactly that!

Thank you for enlightening us, the ordinary people.

God Bless good folks like you who show and teach us the people the truth.

MarinaM said...

Nice rant, Art!

I would dispute the bit about the non-existent health services though.

But then what do I know, I'm only a Mahathir.

(Oh do wait for Part 2 of the History Channel biography to see how rose-tinted those glasses are...)

Mohd Taufik said...

I lyke the part about shooting corrupt civil servants.....

teo siew chin said...

methinks there is a rash of foot-in-mouth disease in the country these days.

IbnAbdHalim said...

...and I blame Mahathir solely responsible for the social ills and economic ills or whatever backwardness Malaysians are facing and experiencing now. It's all his handiwork through his UMNO (Baru(a)).

...and it's a waste of time entertaining an-ex semi-dictator for 22 years who had shown signs of senility.

Anonymous said...

Art, you have my vote with every article you posted. Mamakutty will certainly declare you an enemy of his.
Is it possible for you to do an article on Biro Tata Negara and all the racist, seditious going-ons here?

patrickteoh said...

Thank you, Art. You are the man! I really enjoy your writing. Thanks for making an otherwise grey and mundane day sparkle.

Yes, shoot non-performing civil servants too.

|Suara Rakyat| said...

Marina Mahathir,

You are right,

You are just another Mahathir,

If you were really concerned about the rakyat, Marina,

How come you not say a word about yoru father's connection with VK Lingam?

His bailing out of your brother's companies in the past using Malaysians' hard-earned tax money?

How come your brother is such a big billionaire that he is listed by Forbes as one of the richest people in Malaysia?

Just luck is it, your brother is a billionaire?

Also your three brothers have been on board of directors of up to 200 companies! This is according to an UMNO website even.

Please lah Marina,

If you got a conscience, stand for the people and voice out with fear or favour. Don't act like a mouse.

AnesthMO said...

Dear Art,

I am a great admirer of your writing.

I am working as a government medical officer.

I would appreciate it if you can clarify and elaborate further on the "health care services which are almost non existent" that you mentioned.

Thank you

Anonymous said...

for one who is well padded it must be nice a joke to say that the article is a rant!.
I hope marina, that you know what a rant is, in the first place. probably the taxpayers money did finance a good education for you in UK or the States.
say that to the miserable sub-underclass people in malaysia, who also pay the taxes!!
and feel proud of yourself (the mahathir clan).

donplaypuks® said...

For Dr.M, democracy is only a means to end, his end. Concensus is not necessary!

When the institutionalised safeguards of democracy - separation of powers, independent police, army and judiciary - tried to stand up to him, he subverted it all by appointing 'yes men' to all the key positions in Govt and Civil Service. Then he misused the ISA to stifle all dissent.

Indira Ghandhi tried it in India in 1975-77 and the courts there first disqualified her as PM before she was forced to call for elections after she had declared 'emergency rule' and suspended Parliament. She and her party, Congress, took a bad mauling in that 1975 election.

India and its democracy may not be perfect. Neither is democracy perfect in the USA or anywhere in the West. But today India continues to grow at about 8%-9% p.a. and is world renown for its IT software experts and IT outsourcing.

Where exactly has Dr.M's 'benevolent dictatorship' taken us? A new record world ranking for corruption? More racism, polarisation of the populace, cow's head racial bigotry and an education system that non one is proud of?

It is estimated that perhaps 100 million people have died between the fall of the Manchu Dynasty and rise of Communism in China!! Is this to be set aside and forgotten because China has become the 'factory of the world' and registers GDP growth of 12 % p.a.?

Mark my words. There is a right way and a wrong way and those who try to take short cuts will find that a mechanism built into the fabric of our universe (by God) will come back at them with a vengeance to deliver justice and restore equilibrium!!

We are all of 1 race, the Human Race


Art, let me take this opportunity to say how much I admire you for your stance on justice, fair-play, democracy and equality. Dr.M and many in UMNO/BN and other political parties are absolutely blind to the possibility of a united M'sia where race and religion are irrelevant!!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't have put it better, Art. Kudos to you for a well-written piece of work.

Might I add that if the so-called authoritarian rule in China is so great, one only has to think of Tiananmen Square. That is the classic example of abuse of government authority that you talked about in your post.

art harun said...

Dear AnesthMO,

When I said our health care services is almost non-existent, I do not mean to insult all the health workers like you. I know most health workers in the civil service work their butts off. The Doctors, medical officers, nurses etc are overworked. Many hospitals are under-equipped and understaffed. Many hospitals do not even have enough beds to begin with.
Patients wait and wait for a really long time before they are attended to. Recently, in a hospital up north, I came across a case of a patient who had suffered a stroke having to wait for a bed on a chair together with other patients who were similarly waiting for beds! Just imagine that. That guy just had a stroke!
Perhaps I had overstated my observation.But really, our health care services could be much much better if resources are well used and well channeled. Perhaps some of the millions used to build massive structures here and there could be used to build and equip hospitals instead.
That's what I mean.

Have a good night and thank you for visiting my blog.

rob said...

The biggest disservice that DrM did was to reduce the once proud, efficient and independent civil service into his puppet. To jump, walk and talk based on his command.

Government of the day is there to drat strategies and policies which are implemented by the Civil Service without fear or favour. Instead the Civil Service is manipulated, run down and decimated through a climate of fear (if there is opposition) while promoting mediocrity and 'bodek-ism'. Play your cards right and you shall progress and promote while making some income.

We are the only country that spent millions on education and more millions on retraining graduates. Isn't this a strong enouhg evidence that overall the old man, Tun M did not deliver besides damaging the country for generations.

koolgeek said...

"China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan"...

eh, mane Singapore?


koolgeek said...

Mahathir : "“Today, there are places in Tokyo where you see young people with multi-coloured hair. They look like Red Indians. These are the young Japanese who have adopted Western values,”"

So what's wrong with that? The Japs didn't complaint this...

"Today, there are places in Malaysia where you see young people covered head to toes. They look like Talibans. These are the young Msians who have adopted Taliban values".

So apa-nama Doktor.. apa problem you? Mane sakit?

Anonymous said...

Thanks Art, for a good & interesting article.

Anonymous said...

Sir, may thy tribe multiple and increase abundantly in this land!

Anonymous said...

Dear Art,

Truly a great write up.

As for Mahathir, this man is already senile and he believes he is a legend....in his own mind. For 22 years, he brought nothing to this country except condemned me and my children to future years of misery in paying off his huge egoistic grandiose extravagances which has served nothing useful except to stroke his ego and build up his children's ill gotten wealth.

For 22 years, he turned this once wonderful country into a country that has lost it's truly muhibbah spirit and instead introduced racism, religious intolerance, religious extremism and massive corruption. He single handedly destroyed the future generations of malaysians through his "bahasa malaysianization" of the british education system which he himself and his children (from their overseas education) benefitted so much from. Yes, Mahathir Mohammad is indeed a sick and pitiful senile old man who refuses to go away.

On a separate and humorous note, your writings obviously will not go down well with the Deputy Education Minister's latest outburst that you are polluting the Malay?? culture and the identity of the nation by being weird (because you choose to write in orang puteh's language). Shame on you Art (or at least that's what the Deputy Edu. Minister would have said) so to be in his good books, I suggest that being a good Malay, you should immediately stop writing in English and just simply write in the national language (be it bahasa melayu, bahasa baku or bahasa malaysia).

Cheers Art.

Anonymous said...

Much as I disagree with Dr. M's views on many things, he has his point. Democracy is not THE cure-all form of government. It works for some countries and create havoc for others. One has to look at the socio-economic structure of a country's population to see what form of government is more suitable at that point of time. Looking at what has happened globally in the past decade, I'd say communist China isn't that bad compare to some Western democracies. Economic progress has lifted a sizable portion of its people out of poverty. It has its share of corruption and other ills but at least, it's dictatorial government does not pretend to be an angel, nor does it preach its virtue to all and sundry. Would democracy have made a difference to China? Yes, definitely. China would have disintegrated long ago into many small and impoverish fiefdoms (just like USSR) opened to manipulations by the likes of the US and UK.

India, being a democracy since 1946, has only really made good economic progress in the last 5 years or so. Prior to that, it's people were as economically well-off as the people in communist China (before China "woke up").

What makes India and China an interesting comparison is that in the 1940's, the population of both countries comprise of primarily hundreds of millions of impoverished peasants. One chosed democracy and the other communism almost at the same time. Go trace the evolution of both countries since then, especially how the population has progressed.

The lesson I learnt from this comparison is that when a person is poor, he only cares about earning enough to put food on the table for his family. So long as there is a stable environment to make a living, it matters not whether there is a democratically elected government or a communist government in place.

Since time immemorial, we Malaysians have been brainwashed that democracy is good and communism is evil. I think both are as good and as evil as the other. It is the socio-economic context within which either is applied that matters.

Sure, China has its blemishes in the form of the Tiananmen Square incident and other incidents. Are these the evil communism at work? Everyone has their views.

Let's look at a couple of the Western democracies that Malaysians tend to hold in high esteem; (1) the British has colonised half the world for over a century, how many locals have died in the hands of the colonialists? For starters, go look at India's history under British rule; (2) the Americans are known to have a hand in almost every arm conflicts around the world, it will take a book to list them down. So, are these the evil of democracy at work? Again, everyone has their views.

By the way, on your point about who sent people to the moon in 1969? Many conspiracy theories are abound whether there was indeed a landing on the moon. Never mind them. However, it does make one wonder why, in the past 40 years, they have not been sending more people to the moon but instead spending billions to send people to work out of space stations? They could have built a colony on the moon by now.

And, just like Dr. M, you have your point too.

Mr. K said...

To the Anonymous just above me here:

Development isn't about tall buildings and skyscrapers.

You say India may be a democracy but has been 'poor' since the 50s or 60s.

What you do not know is that the people there may be defined, in Western terms of GDP as 'poor', but if you calculate their actual wellbeing and happiness is in general decent. Why is there pockets of poverty in India? Cruel colonialism. India was up till the early 1900s one of the richest nations on Earth.

You (and Mahathir) are looking at things from only the narrow view of Western GDP-based development, which is pathetic.

Grow up and learn more about what makes people happy. It's not all about having more cars or cooler cellphones

Read Richard Layard's 'Happiness: Lessons From A New Science'.

Anonymous said...

Dear art: Firstly, thanks for allowing FMT quick use of this piece--we being new kid on the blog need all the help we can get:)


Thou art being unfair wrt:"non-existent health services..." Indeed, fellow

Blogger MarinaM had already said if well indefence...

Althou Desi is knot of the fairer sex, I would second her anytime. I have had accompanied firends and relatives to the general hospitalin the last few years, and I find the services more than satisfactory. I spent SE7EN nights at the Seremban grand, and I indeed had writ before that the system in place with "numbering" like in the banks was largely thanks to Dr M.

Digressing a byte, I had also writ in my Blog saluting the performance of Dr Chua SL as Health Minister, turned "hell" by none other than the "enemies" withing his own party?
Cheers, fishy curry head so-ON? Rope in brudder Fahri to "pay"!:( I hear the lawyers get easily triple the apy of average doctor, but what do I know, jest a purr writHer!--YL, Desi
Nice rant, Art!

I would dispute the bit about the non-existent health services though.

But then what do I know, I'm only a Mahathir.

(Oh do wait for Part 2 of the History Channel biography to see how rose-tinted those glasses are...)

Wenger J Khairy said...

Personally, I think most people do not like Tun Dr. Mahathir. The signs are certainly, from the poll conducted by NTV7 in the aftermath of "SlipperGate" but is he reading it. To be honest, its a joke that he wants to make his opinion known to all and sundry. He should behave with the grace and tact and generally the less heard of him, the better for all.

Wenger J Khairy said...

Oh yeah, forgot to add - great work Art

Anonymous said...

Agreed, totally agreed....the old man feels Malaysia owe him too many things & Malaysia is forever belong to him, his son, his family, his party (on and off), his cronies & whatever f**king his...

Me too is a misproduct of his...wonder why so may of us have this misfortune in this so fortunate country...

Thanks ART for sobering and reminding us of the true hard facts..

Gan said...

I like the bit about "shooting corrupt civil servants" ....

As for health services, I tink I understand what Art means. So much $ squandered on useless projects which could have being put to better use.

My mum was place in Klang GH's HDU - guess what? A non working A/C in HDU !

Well, I think TDM is delusional.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the old senile fart just fade away from this earth. It will certainly make many millions malaysians and ex-malaysians very happy when this scum is wiped off the face of the earth.

Sorry if I sound crude but how can any of us forgive this shameless scoundrel for the current state of affairs in Malaysia. When he's gone, he will be remembered for only one thing, that is, the Father of ALL Things EVIL in Malaysia.

May God have mercy on his soul when he meets his Maker.

Anonymous said...

Aiya Art, you are a naughty boy ,
the fuhrer might just have his third heart attack after reading your article..do not 'kacau' the grand ole man ah..

BrightEyes said...

Hey good article Art...

Dr.M did also mention Japan, Korea & Taiwan... did he ever consider these countries have democratic governments or have moved to democracy?

And did he also consider that Myanmar & South Korea's antithesis... North Korea has been poor states with authoritarian governments?

Lynn said...

Hi Art,
I'm another avid follower of your writings and commentaries and 99% of the time, your writings make the day seem better.

I agree with poster at 16:07hrs who suggested you do an article on Biro Tata Negara and their racist programme.

And to Marina, yes, you are just another Mahathir. If you want to walk your talk, rebut what Suara Rakyat said.

For 22 years, your father has condemned us working class who don't have the Mahathir/UMNO connection to racism, religious intolerance, religious extremism and massive corruption' not to mention the destruction to the separation of powers of the Legislative, the Judiciary and the Executive. Listen to what he ranted on about Anwar Ibrahim being appointed economic advisor to the Selangor State Government. He made sure Anwar was jailed so the guy has 'paid' for his 'sins'. Why so vindictive? He has retired so just stay retired and shut up! That is why I intentionlly don't visit yours - Marina and your father's blog. You guys don't walk your talk. I don't ever bother to watch History Channel!

Anonymous said...

i came across this interesting article by ahiruddin atan.


i wonder how sick that man could be.


Derek said...


For the past few days whenever I see Mahathir on History Channel I will declare to the people beside me "Gee... the person whom I hated the most is on TV", and then proceed to switch to another channel. If they asked me why I will blurt out how he destroyed Malaysia.

The rest of the shows in History Channel are brilliant though :)

Lynn said...

Hi Derek

I mean I don't bother with History Channel because of the Mathahir programme. Like you, if I happen to be tuned in to the news programme on TV2 or NTV7 and I see his or his son, Mukhriz's faces, I will switch channel. I am thankful that there are Malaysians such as Art Harun who like millions of other Malaysians take issue to a lot of what is still being spewed out by our ex-PM of the infamous Ops Lalang fame and blogs on it so that you and I and many others get to voice our views and feelings on our Mr Ops Lalang PM, apart from the 'millions' of 'fans' that he supposedly has. And hopefully, he gets a drift of what the other half of Malaysia thinks of him and how he will be judged. Also, hopefully, he will be more humble and speak more like an elder stateman will less selective forgetful memory.

Anonymous said...

Dear Art Harun,

a beautiful article comes from people who knows how to words their article well. Never has it left my mind that "The Pen is Mightier Than the Sword." I can't but agree, your article is a great piece.

Dr. Mahathir is only human and as an elected leader, he did what he knows best and did it he had. I believe that what he had done is to lay the foundation of what our country should be in the next coming 22 years, Insya Allah if we have the right leaders / visionaries to guide our beloved country to greater heights.

Do not wish to delve further in this matter. Really disgusted by readings comments posted by people who claim they know everything but in fact knew nothing. Difference in opinions is fine but to attack in such a way is dispicable.

Thanks for allowing my comment.

Kind regards,
Hantu Siber