The 18 years of Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamadís rule as Prime Minister represents the darkest days for democracy and human rights in Malaysia.
This is the period when Malaysians lost their confidence in the independence and professionalism of vital institutions of governments and civil society, whether the legislature, the judiciary, the Attorney-Generalís office, the police, the Anti-Corruption Agency - and even the mass media. This is also the period when some of the most draconian laws in the world, whether the Internal Security Act, the Official Secrets Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act, were made even more draconian and undemocratic.
Mahathir wants to use the case of the courts declaring UMNO illegal as proof that there is judicial independence in Malaysia.
Mahathir probably believes that Malaysians have short memory, and would have forgotten that the case of UMNO being declared illegal was one of the instances of "judicial independence" which precipitated the worst judicial crisis in Malaysian history, with the sacking of the Lord President, Tun Salleh Abas and five Supreme Court judges - and the judiciary has never recovered from that crisis.
The three police reports lodged by former Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, last month with regard to corruption and abuses of power in high political places, naming the Prime Minister himself, the first Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz and the two top law officers in the land, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohtar Abdullah and Deputy Public Prosecutor Gani Patail have offered a glimpse as to the serious extent justice and law are undermined as a result of the unbroken Barisan political hegemony in the country.