Saturday, July 29, 2006

Gov't And Opposition Leaders Condemn Attack On Dr Mahathir - Cultured Display Of Solidarity.

In a rare show of solidarity, government and opposition leaders condemned the pepper spray attack on former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in Kelantan Friday. Ruling Umno leaders described the attack as "rude" while opposition leaders said it was "a despicable act".

It was actually quite revealing, the sentiments expressed by the varied sections of the political spectrum. At the moment Mahathir has a running battle with the government and it would have been natural for those on the opposing side to have rejoiced at his predicament. But that didn't happen. Almost to a man they stood up and condemned this dastardly act. They reacted as gentlemen often do. (Note: Here I use the masculine gender for brevity.)

The opposition too were not found wanting in their reaction. Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang, perhaps described it best when he said that the incident was despicable and it reflected "a culture which is completely unacceptable and must not be allowed to take root in Malaysia."

"However strongly one disagrees with another, and undoubtedly Dr Mahathir is the object of powerful sentiments of both animosity and support, there can be no excuse for such a physical attack," he said. He urged the police to quickly investigate the incident and book the culprits.

"It's not so much because he was the former Prime Minister but because like any other Malaysian, he should have freedom of movement, speech and expression without the fear of loutish and gangsterish elements taking the law into their own hands," he said.

Kudos to the government and the opposition. The majority of citizens too I'm sure share the sentiments expressed above. Unfortunately there have been comments, including in this blog, from either young, immature persons or those who have suffered or closely identify with someone who has 'suffered' under Mahathir's rule. They view the incident as nothing to shout about and dismiss Dr Mahathir as a crazy old man ranting incoherently. Nothing can be further from the truth.

Dr M is a brilliant strategist and let not your dislike for him blind you to that reality. He is a man with a plan and as with most brilliant people, it is not easy for the ordinary person to either decipher or comprehend it. At eighty his mental faculties are probably sharper than most of us. I don't claim to hold a torch for him and nor am I a supporter, but when a man of that proven ability and a national figure to boot, is senselessly attacked it is incumbent upon everyone to voice at least their regret. Part of our 'Malaysian' culture is respect for the elderly. Let us not forget that, now or ever.


Blogger hamkachan said...

where was the unity when annuar got bashed by the IGP?

Very short term selective memories.

4:31 AM GMT+8  
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