Malaysian Atheist

An avowed atheist living in Malaysia.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Poor Dr. M

Today's online edition of The Star newspaper published an open letter from Tun Dr. Mahathir. The letter is addressed to all citizens of Malaysia explaining why he is criticising the present PM Abdullah Badawi.

It is unfortunate that in this country, criticising the present leadership is always frowned upon. It is not just the Cabinet Ministers and UMNO members who are against this criticism by Mahathir, but ordinary Malaysians too (as least those I've spoken to) say that Dr. M shouldn't be doing this.

I think this value is uniquely Malaysian. We revere our leaders to the point that we often think they can do no wrong. It doesn't help that all the local newspapers and TV stations ever report is that our present government is doing wonderful things for the country, and everything is rosy, we're on our way to becoming a developed nation by 2020. This must be some sinister plot by those in power to brain-wash the average Malaysian into voting for the government in the next general elections.

Now, eventhough I do not agree with all of Dr. M's ideas for the future of this country, I believe he should be allowed to freely criticize the present leadership. In fact, all Malaysians should be allowed to criticise their leaders. As more and more of us get better educated, we become more opinionated on issues that affect our country. No longer should we agree with everything the government says and no longer should we accept half-assed replies from the government on various issues raised. Everyone should be allowed to think freely, and speak openly. We cannot become a developed country if our people's minds are not completely free. Therefore I think we should not question Dr. M's right to criticize, but instead, consider the points he's trying to convey. In other words, look at the message, not the messenger.

Personally I think it's a shame, the way the present leaders treat our beloved Dr. M. The moment he stepped down from power, he's lost support from his fellow ministers. Mr. Badawi's present political patronage buys unabated loyalty from these goons. One by one, they're queuing up to protect Badawi from Dr. M's criticims. It doesn't get more obvious than that.

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