Mahathir’s last UMNO Presidential Address a final strait-jacket to restrain Abdullah from easing and improving diplomatic and economic relations with the United States and the West as fifth Prime Minister?
by Lim Kit Siang
(Penang, Monday): One question uppermost in many minds about his last UMNO Presidential Address last Thursday is whether Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad has fashioned a final strait-jacket to restrain his successor, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi from easing and improving diplomatic and economic relations with the United States and the West when the latter takes over as the fifth Prime Minister in November.
This is because it is no secret that one of the issues wielded by circles who do not relish Abdullah’s accession to the highest political office of the land is that he would be “soft” and compromise Malaysia’s national interests vis-à-vis relations with the West, in particular the Anglo-Saxon nations of the United States, Britain and Australia (where Abdullah went for his recent holidays).
Mahathir’s denunciation of the European races as war-mongering, greedy and sexual deviants is as controversial as his first book, The Malay Dilemma, 33 years ago, except that the timing of the delivery of his theory on the European races enunciated last week would have the potent effect of confining and even locking the new Prime Minister from straying from his central thesis at the risk of attracting accusations of betraying the Mahathir legacy, the Malay race and Malaysian nation for any action or measure which could be attacked as being “soft” with the European races and the West.
The subsequent claim by Mahathir and the Minister for International Trade and Industry, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz that the denunciation of the European races who comprise the major investing nations for Malaysia would not hurt the economy is most astonishing – not least, because the corollary of Mahathir’s theory of the greedy and war-mongering Europeans must be the law that the flag followed trade or now the dollar.
This was why Mahathir’s speech on Thursday had generated two immediate queries – whether the Barisan Nasional government wants to reduce foreign investment inflows from the “European” nations to ensure that the European “flags” do not follow the dollar and, whether the government wants to discontinue or at least modify its “silver hair” programme to woo wealthy foreigners to retire in Malaysia by excluding European pensioners to protect innocent Malaysians from European mental and cultural subjugation.
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman