Mahathir is ending his 22-year premiership with an international bang, leaving to his successor Abdullah and the country to pick up the many broken pieces
by Lim Kit Siang
(Petaling Jaya, Thursday): Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is ending his 22-year premiership with an international bang, leaving to his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and the country to pick up the many broken pieces.
There is an urgent need for Parliament and Cabinet to review and take stock whether the Malaysian government has embarked on the most efficacious diplomacy to win friends and influence people in the international arena to advance Malaysia’s national interests, whether political or economic – especially with Malaysia occupying the Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).
Cabinet Ministers on Tuesday were lining up one after another (with Datuk Najib Tun Razak, Datuk Dr. Rais Yatim and Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting having already set the lead) to condemn the United States President Bush for crude, offensive and insulting behaviour at the APEC Summit following media reports that Bush had pulled Mahathir aside and scolded him for his “wrong and divisive” speech at the OIC Summit, when the campaign collapsed after Mahathir denied in Bangkok later the same day that Bush had rebuked him. DAP would have supported censuring Bush if the American President had acted crudely and offensively against Mahathir, but there is now utter confusion as to what actually happened.
Yesterday, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia , Mahathir said Bush “came very nearly to apologizing to me for the strong words used”. This version has been contradicted by Bush the same day when, in a conversation with reporters en route from Indonesia to Australia, he recounted confronting Mahathir about his OIC summit speech, and recalled telling Mahathir that his comments were “reprehensible”, “divisive and unnecessary”.
Who has given the correct version of the APEC encounter in Bangkok – Mahathir or Bush?
In Bangkok, Mahathir made the remark that the “reaction of the world” shows the truth of his OIC Summit speech that “Jews do control the world”.
What is disconcerting about Mahathir’s remark is the implication that the countries which had protested against his OIC Summit speech had done so under the influence, pressure and control of world Jewry – such as the European Union, German, Italian, British, even the French (with Chirac’s subsequent condemnation), the American and Australian governments. Is this the policy stand that the Malaysian government has decided to take vis-à-vis Malaysia’s relations with the world and in particular with these countries – regardless of the consequences?
* Lim Kit Siang, DAP National Chairman