Mahathir’s advice to Japan to assume the role of leader “to help a world that is now in a shambles back to its senses” should have been qualified with the admonition not to supinely accept the arrogant and militarist “strike-first” doctrine of Bush and Howard in fighting international terrorism
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Friday): The advice by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad to Japan to assume the role of leader “to help a world that is now in a shambles back to its senses” should have been qualified with the admonition not to supinely accept the arrogant and militarist “strike-first” doctrine of Bush and Howard in fighting international terrorism.
For one who had publicly lambasted Australian Prime Minister John Howard as “a white supremacist” for his recent statements linking terrorism with Asian countries, it is most uncharacteristic for Mahathir to treat the Japanese with “kid-gloves” and sparing them a lecture not to act as worse than “Banana Men” – yellow outside but white inside – for being the first Asian country to openly support Howard’s arrogant and provocative stand on the right to “pre-emptive military strike” at terrorist suspects in neighbouring countries.
Japan broke ranks
with Asian countries when its
ambassador, Hiroshi Shigeta, said in Tokyo on Tuesday that he was
"comfortable" with Howard's position, which he said had originally been
misrepresented by journalists.
Mahahir’s new propaganda czar, the Deputy Information Minister, Datuk Zainudin Maidin had referred derisively to Asian countries which had not risen up, like Malaysia and the Phlipppines, to protest against Howard’s pre-emptive strike stand as “banana skin” - ”yellow on the outside but enclosing a white fruit inside" or the New Straits Times’ explanation of the term, “’Banana’ describes a person who believes that he is white”.
By the Zainudin yardstick, Japan would be worse than “Banana Men”, as the Japanese had committed a greater sin than just being silent when it became the first Asian nation to publicly support Howard against among others, Mahathir in particular as the only head of government with the most ferocious and most frequent attacks on the Howard doctrine..
As Japanese ambassador to Malaysia, Masaki Konishi, had said that many Japanese “highly appreciate Dr Mahathir's wisdom, experience and leadership… as an outstanding Asian statesman” and were eager to listen to his views, Mahathir should regard it as a test of personal honour and challenge of political integrity and credibility to influence the Japanese government thinking on the subject and wean away Japanese official support for Howard’s provocative and arrogant stand on pre-emptive strike – which will make Mahathir’s current visit to Japan truly memorable.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman