It is unfortunate that the Prime Minister has chosen to introduce an extraordinary degree of partisan politics when national unity and solidarity should have been his overriding theme when introducing the OPP3 in Parliament, starting with the baseless accusation that the opposition parties and their “foreign sympathisers” are trying to topple his government through street violence, followed up with the menacing declaration that the government was ready to break from "so-called international norms" to “preserve peace”.
Mahathir has completely sidelined the “National Vision Policy” which the OPP3 is to usher in for the new decade with his most unvisionary and divisive speech and threats, so much so that Parliament must demand a full explanation as to what he actually meant when he accused “some in Malaysia are not happy that the country is peaceful and the economy is doing well” and continued:
"They hanker after turmoil and violence, injury and death even. They are forever looking for issues and incidents to exploit. While they propound democracy they are not prepared to accept the decision of the majority. They are not prepared to wait for general elections but wish to grab power illegitimately.
“Recently a fight broke out between a few Malays and a few Indians. Immediately certain people tried to influence feelings among both communities in order to break the peace that Malaysia enjoys. It is well-known that certain individuals wish to see the Malaysian Government fall through street violence. They had intimated this to their foreign sympathisers. But this Government will not hesitate to enforce Malaysian laws even if we will be condemned by the foreign media and certain foreign quarters.”
In Malaysian history, no Prime Minister, including Mahathir himself in his 20 years in office until yesterday, had ever spoken in such a repulsive and menacing manner in Parliament with such morbid vocabulary. Who is Mahathir referring to when he said there are people who “hanker after turmoil and violence, injury and death even” and who want to “grab power illegitimately”?
It is a real national tragedy that there appears to be a high-level attempt to exploit the Jalan Klang Lama clashes into a political opportunity to mount a major crackdown against the Barisan Alternative leaders, whether through court prosecution or persecution through detention without trial under the Internal Security Act, when the worst clashes in the country in the last 32 years should be a wake-up call for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion or political beliefs, whether Barisan Nasional or Barisan Alternative, to unite to address the deep-seated socio-economic causes of the clashes.
It is no coincidence that against such a bleak national backdrop, the introduction of the OPP3 failed to lift up the economic spirits of the country as seen by the 17.48-point plunge in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange Composite Index (KLCI) yesterday to its lowest level in 23 months.
Mahathir speech in Parliament yesterday will be remembered not by what he said about the National Vision Policy and the OPP3 but by his black menacing threats to plunge the country into another Dark Age.
Is this what Mahathir has in store for the country in his final years as Prime Minister of Malaysia?