Former Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad blogged on the 53rd National Day eve that “today the races are more divided than ever”.
The implications of Mahathir’s statement merits attention.
Here we have the country’s longest-serving Prime Minister in fact telling the current Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak that despite this year’s Merdeka Month theme: “1Malaysia: Transforming the Nation” and the latter’s 1Malaysia policy and National Transformation Programme for 18 months since assuming the highest office in the land in April last year, national unity and inter-racial relations had never been so bad at present as compared to any time in the 22 years Mahathir had been Prime Minister from 1981 – 2003.
Would Najib agree to this Mahathir assessment as the present Prime Minister was during those 22 years of Mahathir premiership either Pahang Mentri Besar or a Cabinet Minister, starting as Minister for Youth and Sports before being appointed to Education and later Defence portfolios – while in Umno, occupying the posts of Umno Youth Leader (especially during the Operation Lalang years) and Umno National Vice President from 1995-2003?
Even more serious is Mahathir’s virtual dismissal of Najib’s National Transformation Programme, particularly the two Najib signature programmes of 1Malaysia and New Economic Model.
Mahathir had first opened fire on Najib’s 1Malaysia policy early last month, lamenting that it had failed to unite Malaysians as a whole and urging “further explanation” from Najib to prevent the 1Malaysia policy from being interpreted differently by various races.
The former Prime Minister has followed up with a wholesale attack on Najib’s National Transformation Agenda by the end of the month, declaring his opposition to the New Economic Model (NEM) unveiled by Najib on 30th March this year with the warning that the removal of NEP-style policies could lead to a revolution – referring specifically to NEM proposals for new affirmative action policies which are market-friendly and needs-based to consider all ethnic groups fairly and equally as long as they are in the low income 40% of households earning less than RM1,500 per month (of which 77.2% are bumiputeras)..
Mahathir even equated and condemned meritocracy as racism – when meritocracy is one of the principles of Najib’s “1Malaysia. People First. Performance Now” policy.
Clearly, on the occasion of the 53rd National Day Mahathir has crossed the Rubicon to become Najib’s biggest antagonist in Umno and the major obstacle to Najib’s 1Malaysia and National Transformation Agenda
Will Najib back down from his 1Malaysia and National Transformation Agenda?
If not, who will win the battle in Umno and Barisan Nasional for allegiance – the Najib or Mahathir forces?