Mahathir should know when he is over the hill

 |Aug 20, 2016
After ousting four prime ministers, Dr Mahathir (left) now working overtime to oust current Premier Najib.
After ousting Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Dr Mahathir (left) is now working overtime to oust current Premier Najib.

I used to race motorcycles back in the 1960s.

But then at that age my reflexes were fast and my judgment superb.

Even then I crashed 13 times but managed to walk away each time with mere broken bones and pavement rash.

I still love motorcycles but I know that at my age now, 66, I would be courting death if I still bike.

It is even more dangerous at night due to my glaucoma.

I suppose we all need to know our limitations and, like it or not, age determines those limitations.

I was not really a sedentary person in my younger days.

I did taekwondo and karate right up to my 30s.

I ran marathons and cycled even when I was in my 40s and 50s.

My late mother used to tell me: act your age.

When you do not suffer the disadvantage of age (meaning too much of it) you really do not appreciate such pearls of wisdom.

Now I understand what my mother meant.

I mean at 66 I no longer seem to be able to do what I used to do when I was 16 (and don’t ask me what that is).

Don’t get me wrong, though.

I still go to Guns N’ Roses and Santana concerts, and still play Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin music when I write, such as now.

It is just that I do not make promises that my body can no longer keep.

At 66 much of what you want is in your mind and should remain in the mind.

Let me be very honest. I am just 66 and sometimes I feel so tired.

There are times when I struggle to get out of bed in the morning.

As much as I would love to live to 90 — so that I can see all my grandchildren graduate from university and get married (whereby I would get to see my great-grandchildren) — I am not sure whether I can take another 24 years of facing another very tiring day.

A dear friend of mine, the late Suflan Shamsuddin, once told me I should take a complete break from blogging.

He said I should switch off my computer and not touch a keyboard for one whole year.

Then come back and start writing again. I might just do that, but maybe after 2018.

I might even go live on an island with no Internet, radio, TV or newspapers like Robinson Crusoe.

At 91, Mahathir should know he was no longer the Mahathir of 1980s or 1990s.
At 91, Mahathir should know he was no longer the Mahathir of 1980s or 1990s.

Anyway, I marvel at how at 91, Dr Mahathir Mohamad still has fire in his belly.

I last met him in February 2015 when a certain Chinese tycoon arranged a meeting for us to discuss me joining the ANC (Anti-Najib Campaign), now transformed into an all-Malay political party called Pribumi.

Having joined his Anti-Abdullah Campaign in June 2006, I thought I would at least give Mahathir the courtesy of hearing him out and see what he has planned for Prime Minister Najib Razak.

No, I did not makan Mahathir’s dedak, if that is what you are thinking.

I spent RM3, 000 of my own money to go for that meeting and did not claim any refund.

However, after spending two hours listening to what Mahathir had to say, I was not convinced.

They say if you live long enough you eventually become a child again, maybe even to the extent of having to use diapers like a baby or toddler.

Listening to Mahathir last year in February gave me the impression that he was acting just like a child who is throwing a tantrum just because he cannot get his own way.

I mean Mahathir had retired in 2003 when he was 78 and now it is already 2016 (or he was 90 last year when I met him in London).

His time is gone and he needs to move on.

But here was a 90-year old man grumbling that the Prime Minister refuses to listen to him and ignores him and does not take his phone calls and has not spoken to him for the last six months.

But what do you expect when you are a pain in the arse?

Every time you call it is to tell the Prime Minister that you are unhappy he was not building the Crooked Bridge and that he is too friendly to Singapore and is not running the country the way Mahathir would have run it and so on.

Imagine what would have happened if Hussein Onn had done that.

Mahathir would have made sure that the Hussein Onn National Eye Hospital would have never been built.

In fact, Hussein Onn was not very happy with many things that Mahathir was doing — his war with the Rulers as one example.

But Hussein Onn never openly attacked Mahathir.

He just sighed and told his very close friends that Mahathir should not be attacking the Rulers the way he was doing.

Anyway, what I heard in February last year was a very tired and frustrated old man who was upset that the Prime Minister would not do things the way he (Mahathir) wants it done.

Mahathir was even more upset by the fact that Najib would not jump and come running every time he calls.

In short, he considers the Prime Minister his servant but Najib refuses to act like the servant he is supposed to be.

As I said, it was a two-hour meeting but I did not hear anything new that I had not heard ten years ago back in 2006 when the Anti-Abdullah Campaign was launched.

Nothing new! Same old grumbling and same old solution — oust the Prime Minister and replace him with someone who will listen to us and will do what we say.

Was that not what was said in 2006 — oust the Prime Minister and replace him with someone who will listen to us and will do what we say?

So now we want to, yet again, oust the Prime Minister and replace him with someone who will listen to us and will do what we say.

After Najib is ousted and the new Prime Minister, whoever he is, takes over and also does not listen to us and will do what we say, what do we do then?

Do we, yet again, in 2020, for the third time, oust that new Prime Minister and replace him with someone who will listen to us and will do what we say?

Ah, but it is not going to happen again, for the third time.

As every birthday passed by, Mahathir should not know when to call it quits.
As every birthday passed by, Mahathir should not know when to call it quits.

This time the Prime Minister who replaces Najib is going to listen to us and will do what we say.

But how can you be sure? How do you know that the next Prime Minister is not going to ignore you and not do what you say like Abdullah and Najib before that?

Well, simple really, because the next Prime Minister is going to be our son, Mukhriz, and our son will always listen to what we say and will do what we ask him to do.

Yes, Mukhriz Mahathir is going to be the next Prime Minister.

So do not fear that we may lose control of the next Prime Minister like we did the present one and the previous one.

Okay, and who is going to lead that movement called ‘Mukhriz for Prime Minister’?

Is the ANC, that is now called Pribumi, going to make Mukhriz the next Prime Minister?

How long is this going to take and when is it going to happen? Will it be in 2018? Or will it be in 2020?

Dr Mahathir was 91 years old last month.

The other ‘brains’ in the ANC or Pribumi, such as Daim Zainuddin, is 78, almost the same age as Zainuddin Maidin, their ‘information chief’ who just turned 77 in June.

The ‘youngest’ in that group would be Muhyiddin Yassin, who is pushing 70, just like Kadir Jasin, their ‘media expert’.

These people neither have the stamina, energy and sharp thinking that they used to have, say, 30 years ago.

Granted in the 1980s these people may have been political geniuses with enough energy to work from dawn to midnight.

But that was before. Now we are all, me included, limited by our age.

Rommel, Montgomery, Yamamoto, Omar Bradley, Erich von Manstein, Georgy Zhukov, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George S. Patton, and many more, were all about 45-55 when they led their armies to glory.

The oldest amongst them was Douglas MacArthur who was 60 and already considered past retirement age.

Political leaders were slightly older when they led their country to great heights.

Winston Churchill was in his 60s and President Kennedy was even younger but would have retired when he was about 55 had he not been assassinated.

Tunku Abdul Rahman was 54 when he led the country to Merdeka. He retired when he was 67 and did not become a thorn in Prime Minister Razak Hussein’s side.

Hussein Onn also took over when he was 54 and Mahathir when he was 56.

Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was considered ‘too old’ when he became Prime Minister at 64 (but then he was supposed to have served only one term but refused to go after that, much to Mahathir’s chagrin who had to push him out) and Najib was considered the ‘correct age’ when he became Prime Minister in 2009 at age 56.

Mandela was 45 when he was sent to jail at the height of his political career and was 72 when he was finally released.

He felt he was too old to lead the country and agreed (under pressure) to serve only one term and refused a second term after which he focused on charity work.

Mahathir has made many errors in the last three years as age catches him up.
Mahathir has made many errors in the last three years as age catches him up.

Let us face one fact.

Old goats should not be asked to lead an army, movement or country.

They no longer have the energy and sharp thinking and tend to make mistakes.

Over the last three years Mahathir made many mistakes and errors of judgement, which can only be attributed to his age.

The fact that he does not have age on his side means he tends to fast track many things — so that he settles everything before he dies — and that opens up yourself to even more mistakes.

Mahathir has miscalculated many things, which he would not have done 30 years ago.

Those who support him and his ANC or Pribumi have also lost touch with reality.

They are following the Mahathir they once knew back in the 1970s and 1980s.

What they fail to realise is that the Mahathir of today is not the Mahathir they knew 30 or 40 years ago.

Even worse than that, Mahathir himself believed that the Mahathir of today was the same as the Mahathir of 1980s.

For example, even before he set up his new party Pribumi, he was already acting like the Opposition Leader and started telling the opposition coalition what to do.

Should Pribumi not first contest the elections and see how many seats it wins and only if it wins a sizeable number of seats or the most number of seats it starts acting like the boss?

At the moment do not talk about how seats it has won, it does not even know how many seats it is going to contest.

Yet Pribumi is acting like it already controls Parliament.

This shows that Pribumi, and those leading it, have lost touch with reality.

This is what age does to you. It clouds your thinking.

Yet we have people like Lim Kit Siang, age 75, who declared that Pribumi was going to be a game-changer.

Game-changer? For whom and in what way?

That is what Malays call orang tua melatah! … Read More

Source: Malaysia Today

Raja Petra Kamarudin or RPK, cousin to the Selangor Sultan, is one of Malaysia's earliest online 'citizen journalists'. He started his website in 1995 before the internet 'explosion' triggered by the Reformasi movement in September 1998. Malaysia Today was launched as a blog in August 2004 and is one of the few pioneer blogs still active and posting articles on a daily basis 24-7. RPK, 66 years old, has been writing since 1990.