Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, ex Malaysian Premier launches memoirs

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the fourth Prime Minister of Malaysia and the longest serving Prime Minister of Malaysia. He held the post for 22 years from 1981 to 2003. His political career spanned almost 40 years.

On Tuesday, 8th March 2011, Mahathir launched his memoirs in a book titled A Doctor in The House.

When launching the book, Mahathir said he is unconcerned about possible lawsuits over his memoirs.

Dr Mahathir said he was driven to tell the truth in the autobiography :A Doctor in the House."

“There will be those who will not be satisfied.

“If they want to sue, sue lah,” he quipped after launching the book at Mid Valley Megamall.

Dr Mahathir said he had kept its publication a secret until the launch date to avoid a possible court injunction to stop its release.

“I want people to read it. Whatever they think of it is their prerogative,” he said.

It took him eight years to write the autobiography, he said. “I did not type. I used long hand.”

Dr Mahathir said during his tenure as Prime Minister, he was described as a dictator.

“(In the autobiography) I tried to prove that I am not. But some people will still feel otherwise,” he said.

To a question, Dr Mahathir said that through his biography, he wanted to deliver the message that it was not impossible to achieve anything when one is willing to learn.

“I was a commoner, I was not trained in the field of administration, economics or finance. But you can learn if you want to learn. The best reward is not monetary gains but the results of your effort,” he said.

Dr Mahathir also took a swipe at Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim whom he accused had claimed credit for certain things.

“He (Anwar) is claiming that the setting up of UIA (International Islamic University Malaysia) was his idea,” he said.

On his next project, Dr Mahathir said he would look into rewriting The Malay Dilemma.

“When they (the Malays) were poor they were in a dilemma. When they are rich, there is a bigger dilemma,” he said.

The Malay Dilemma is a controversial 188 pages book written by Tun Dr Mahathir in 1970, 11 years before he became Malaysia's 4th Prime Minister.

At the time of publication, Mahathir had just lost his parliamentary seat, been expelled from the ruling party UMNO and Malaysia had recently been rocked by the racial riots later known as the May 13th Incident on May 13th, 1969.

The book analyses Malaysian history and politics in terms of race, and posits the following basic positions:

1. The Malay race are the indigenous people (bumiputras) of Malaysia.

2. The sole national language is the Malay language and all other races are to learn it.

3. The tolerance and non-confrontational nature of the Malays has allowed them to be subjugated in their own land by the other races with the collusion of the British.

4. A program of affirmative action is required to correct Malaysian Chinese hegemony in business.

The dilemma thus, was whether Malays should accept this governmental aid — and Mahathir's position was that they should.

Prone to sweeping statements about other races, such as describing Jews as hook-nosedthe book entrenched Mahathir's image as a Malay ultra.

However, Mahathir also dissects the multiple failings of his own race, and the book was intended as a solution leading away from violence towards a harmonious, integrated Malaysia (albeit one where political and economic power is firmly concentrated in the hands of the Malays).

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