Mahathir's report card as PM -Part I


Media Statement
by Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): In a special interview with AFP on Sunday, Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad has specifically said that he will retire in three months, and he is looking forward to it.

Mahathir came into power on July 16, 1981. He believes his greatest achievement in 22 years in power has been maintaining racial harmony.

He also said that his greatest failure "is that I still cannot get the indigenous people, the Malays in particular, to understand the workings of a free market economy and what they must do about it."

Mahathir, who is also finance minister, acknowledged also that "people say what I know about finance can be written on the back of a postage stamp", but pointed to his handling of the 1997-98 Asian economic crisis in rebuttal.

"They can say what they like, but the fact remains that while I have been Prime Minister, we were able to tackle these things, so maybe I know something about finance."

He said the economic crisis was the toughest period of his term in power, as he imposed capital controls and pegged the Ringgit currency to the US dollar in contravention of International Monetary Fund prescriptions.

Mahathir has told AFP that he will record his experiences in case it might prove useful for other people.

So much about his own assessment as the PM for Malaysia for the past 22 years.

It's strange for Mahathir to claim racial harmony as his greatest achievement, as he once lamented that university students of different ethnic background do not even sit together in the canteen.

He should know pretty well that the racial harmony under his premiership is merely superficial. He must not forget that in March 2001, six Indians were killed and one hundred others were seriously wounded in the Kampung Medan incident. The government and the police did not detect the possibility of such heinous attacks on the local community.

It may not be too early to look at the "report card of Mahathir as a Prime Minister" for the purpose of a public discourse.

The following scores were given to various sectors/ projects/programs under the premiership of Mahathir based on my personal assessment. Others are entitled to his or her own opinion.

Mahathir's report card as PM

1.    Performance as a third world spokesperson- C
2.    Political stability- C
3.    Road system- C
4.    Infrastructure- C
5.    Banking and Finance- C
6.    Economic success- C
7.    Business opportunity- D
8.    Cultural development- D
9.    Religious harmony- D
10.   Education- D
11.   Agriculture development- D
12.   Industrialisation- D
13.   ICT development- D
14.   Tourism-D
15.   Human resource- D
16.   Consumer rights- D
17.   Sports- D
18.   Foreign investment- D
19.   KLIA-D
20.   Power supply- D
21.   K-economy- E
22.   Racial harmony- E
23.   Youth development- E
24.   Women development- E
25.   Social welfare- E
26.   National defence-E
27.   Public transport- E
28.   Governance- E
29.   National productivity-E
30.   Public service- E
31.   Healthcare-E
32.   Water quality - E
33.   Foreign relations- E
34.   Vision 2020- E
35.   Multimedia Super Corridor- E
36.   Mother tongue education- E
37.   Religious tolerance- F
38.   Ethnic equality-F
39.   Democracy- F
40.   Human Rights- F
41.   Independence of Judiciary- F
42.   Environment conservation and protection- F
43.   Accountability and Transparency- F
44.   Law and order- F
45.   Press freedom- F
46.   Freedom of expression- F
47.   Relationship with Singapore - F
48.   Water negotiation with Singapore- F
49.   National car project- F
50.   BMF- F
51.   Maminco- F
52.   Bank Negara Forex - F
53.   EPF-F
54.   Perwaja-F
55.   MAS- F
56.   IWK-F
57.   Bakun Dam-F
58.   Time dot com- F
59.   Putrajaya- E
60.   Petronas Twin Towers-F
61.   Formula 1 racing circuit- F
62.   Langkawi free port- E
63.   National service- F
64.   Smart school- F
65.   Computer labs- F
66.   Vision school- F
67.   Formula 2-4-3 for Chinese primary schools- F
68.   Broga Incinerators- F
69.   Selangor Dam- F
70.   Islamisation- F
71.   Racial quota system- F


A:    80 and above
B:    70-79
C:    60-69
D:    50-59
E:    40-49
F:    39 and below

In "Mahathir's report card as PM- Part II", I shall try to explain why I think he has fared reasonably well on certain things, but done rather poorly on so many other fields/projects/programs.


* Ronnie Liu Tian Khiew, DAP national publicity secretary