(Ipoh, Tuesday): The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad is
returning home from his 10-day Mediterranean leave to a 10,000-people welcome
organized by UMNO at the old Subang airport tomorrow morning.
Malaysians should be able to learn what resignations he had
intended to announce at the close of the 56th UMNO General Assembly
on 22nd June 2002 before he was stopped and mobbed by hysterical UMNO
leaders and members, and the reasons for his decision.
However, with the announcement of the 16-month power
transition time-table for Mahathir to fully hand the office of Prime Minister to
Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi after the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC)
Summit in Kuala Lumpur in October next year, national attention should be
focused on what he could and should do in the last 16 months of his 22 years and
3 months as the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Nobody can deny Mahathir his achievements as Prime Minister
of Malaysia, but Mahathir and his most fervent and loyal supporters cannot deny
that his administration of over two decades has fundamental flaws and
I believe one of Mahathir’s greatest challenges in his
last 16 months in office is the courage to try to undo the fundamental flaws and
weaknesses of his administration of over two decades, and he should appoint an
Eminent Persons Group to report within a month what he could do
in the next 15 months before he finally steps down as Prime Minister to
rectify these flaws and weaknesses to leave behind a healthier and more solid
foundation for Malaysia to face the challenges of the new century.
The areas which such an Eminent Persons Group, which should
be a blue-ribbon commission of eminent Malaysians who would not flinch from
telling unpalatable truths about the flaws and weaknesses of the Mahathir
administration, should include:
International competitiveness and a revisit of the New
A world-class education system.
A just rule of law and truly independent judiciary.
Upholding the 1957 Merdeka Constitution, “social
contract” and 1963 Malaysia Agreement that Islam is the official religion but
Malaysia is not an Islamic State.
Parliamentary Reforms to restore Parliament’s role to
legislate, deliberate and hold the government to account and not be a
rubber-stamp of the Executive.
Human rights – in particular the fundamental liberties of
freedoms of speech, press, assembly, association and the rights to information
Information Technology – how (i) to close the digital
divide and (ii) bridge the gap between the rhetoric and reality
to position Malaysia in the very forefront of the
A world model
of inter-religious and inter-civilisational dialogue and understanding; and
World-standard sports achievements – a serious lag highlighted by the recently-concluded World Cup, where the football standards of South Korea, Japan and China have improved by leaps and bounds with South Korea qualifying for the World Cup semi-finals when not so long in the past, these nations were regularly defeated by Malaysia in soccer tournaments!