52-Day Countdown to 13GE: The 13 GE is not only referendum on Najib’s four-year “non-transformation” but also on Mahathir’s 22-year authoritarian and corrupt policies

Will Parliament be dissolved this month for the 13th General Elections next month?

The bet is that the answer will be in the positive, setting the stage for the longest-delayed dissolution of Parliament in the nation’s history by the longest unelected Prime Minister in what is likely to be the dirtiest and most expensive Malaysian general elections!

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, is out on the hustings throughout the country campaigning for his political life, but there is one person in UMNO/Barisan Nasional who is out-campaigning Najib – and he is former and longest-serving Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

The 13 General Elections is important and critical for Najib – but it is even more important and critical for Mahathir, as it is not only a referendum on Najib’s four-year “non-transformation” but also on Mahathir’s 22-year authoritarian and corrupt policies.

Actually, for Mahathir, his future is also at stake in the 13GE – as it would determine whether he could continue to be the kingmaker of Umno/BN politics, as now single-handedly calling the shots in UMNO/BN after he successfully forced the retirement of Tun Abdullah as Prime Minister after the “political tsunami” of the 2008 general elections.

Mahathir’s power and influence now writ larger than that of Najib the Prime Minister.

Malaysia has had six Prime Ministers in the past 56 years but no one in UMNO/BN had dared to tell any incumbent Prime Minister that he would have to step down from office if he could not win with a stronger mandate than in the previous polls – as Mahathir has openly done at the 15th Malaysia Strategic Outlook Conference on 31st January where he said that Najib should give way to Deputy Umno president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin if BN only scores a slim majority in the elections.

Najib is under probation and the “principal” who would decide Najib’s future is Mahathir – just as the latter had ended the tenure of the previous Prime Minister, Tun Abdullah, who failed to live up to Mahathir’s expectations!

Almost everyday, Mahathir is not only out-campaigning Najib but laying down policies for Najib and the UMNO/BN Ministers and leaders as in the following samples in the past ten days:

  • Don’t bite hand that feeds you, Dr. M tell settlers (Mkini) – 18.2.13

  • Dr M: No need to heed Canberra censure over Xenophon expulsion (TMI) - 18.2.13

  • Dr M: Unbridled freedom of alternative media harmful (Bernama) -18.2.13

  • Dr. M: Only a few Chinese extremists back govt change (China Press) – 15.2.13

  • Mahathir: Malaysia’s debt level still at ‘healthy’ position (Bernama) – 15.2.13

  • Boosting Proton’s image core of turnaround plan, says Dr M (Bernama) – 15.2.13

  • Don’t be obsessed with changing govt, says Dr M (Bernama) – 13.2.13

  • Dr M: Amend constitution to strip Ambiga’s citizenship (Mkini) – 9.2.13

Mahathir has even attempted to salvage Najib from the Prime Minister’s disastrous “Three Yes for Psy, Three Noes for BN” outing at the Penang Chinese New Year Open House after spending RM3.5 million to import the Korean K-Pop super star Psy and “Gangnam Style”, claiming that they were all from “doctored video clips” on You Tube.

Mahathir said:

A short video clip recently showed the PM asking the audience in Penang whether they were ready for the BN. They were loud cries of “No” from the crowd.

Now it has been found that this was engineered by bringing a group into the crowd, equipping them with video camera and microphones. When the PM asked “are you ready for BN” this group shouted “No” in response. It seem that the whole audience shouted “No”. Actually only the special group shouted “No” into their microphones. The “Yes from the big crowd was not recorded and not included in the video on You Tube.

Immediately this particular recording was put on You Tube and it went viral even though the video recording by others showing the crowd raising their hands and saying “Yes” was later put on You Tube, many do not bother to see it. They continue to believe in the fake video clips.

Mahathir probably thinks that the 2013 generation of Malaysians is as gullible as the Malaysians during his 22 years as Prime Minister from 1981 to 2003 but he is going to be sadly mistaken.

Malaysians must thank Najib for inviting Psy and Gangnam Style to Penang, for it has focused one important question for Malaysians –why South Korea had developed so phenomenally at the expense of Malaysia when 56 years ago, Malaysia was twice as rich and developed as South Korea but today South Korea is two to three times richer and more advanced than Malaysia and ahead of Malaysia in all fields of human endeavour?

There is another question Malaysians should ask – who is the Malaysian who should bear the greatest responsibility for Malaysia losing out so badly to South Korea in the international competitiveness stakes covering the whole gamut of human achievement whether economic progress, educational advancement, human resource development, technological prowess, arts and sports?

In 1980, a year before Mahathir started on his 22-year premiership, Malaysia with US$1,769 was still ahead of South Korea with US$1,689 in GDP (nominal) per capita in US dollars.

But beginning from 1981, when Mahathir took over as the fourth Prime Minister, Malaysia fell inexorably year-after-year behind South Korea, until Malaysia GDP per capita was only one-third that of South Korea when Mahathir stepped down as Prime Minister 22 years later in 2003!

The following table shows the comparative datafor GDP per capita for the two countries during the 22 years of Mahathir premiership:

GDP (nominal) Per Capita (in US dollars)

Year Malaysia South Korea
1980 1,769 1,689
1981 1,763 1,870
1982 1,842 1,971
1983 2,012 2,154
1984 2,221 2,350
1985 1,978 2,414
1986 1,711 2,760
1987 1,901 3,445
1988 2,033 4,571
1989 2,186 5,565
1990 2,374 6,308
1991 2,649 7,289
1992 3,102 7,730
1993 3,413 8,422
1994 3,698 9,757
1995 4,295 11,779
1996 4,752 12,587
1997 4,601 11,587
1998 3,232 7,724
1999 3,455 9,906
2000 3,992 11,347
2001 3,846 10,655
2002 4,078 12,094
2003 4,352 13,451

Let Mahathir, the Malaysian who must bear the greatest responsibility for Malaysia losing out so badly to South Korea, explain why in his 22 years as Prime Minister he had allowed South Korea not only to overtake Malaysia in the international competitiveness stakes but to leave Malaysia so far behind .

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Ipoh Timur