My dear Dr Mahathir,
I hope this letter reaches you soon. We are running out of time.
I’ve lived in Malaysia long enough and served this country well enough to believe that it’s time for me to speak up and address the elephants, (there are more than one) in the room.
I have always had great respect for you and when at the tender age of 92, you chose to lead us again, I hopped on the bandwagon to rid our country of kleptocracy. And so with all of us behind you, we won a great battle. And I need to reiterate, We did. Not you. You were just the catalyst. All Malaysians, of every creed and colour voted your government in. Yes, we won a great battle. However, what you do need to hear though, is that we are losing the war. Here is what we are losing.
❗We are losing the war against race and religion- the war you began, Anwar perpetuated, and Najib cemented. And the reason we cannot win, is that you continue to provide the fodder that feeds these issues. Everyday, in some way or another, race, religion or a mesh of both, is shoved in our faces. The only difference is that now, it’s blatant. The Malays come out and tell those of us who are not Malay, that we can go. So just to let you know. We get it. The Malays with their privileged status are first class citizens, a status not likely to change anytime soon. The rest of us will have to continue to find a way through the jungle of bigotry and obtuse politics. And I need you to know, Sir, we are sick of it. Dr. Mahathir, you have to stop feeding this awful rhetoric.
❗You promised that there was going to be a correction of the race unbalances for entries into universities, that the selection processes were going to be transparent. Granted it was transparent. Your education minister announces more places for Bumiputra applicants, rationalizing that the private sector by-passes Bumiputra applicants for jobs. Have you walked around Putrajaya and done a check on how many non Malays hold positions in the government sector? Again, why is that man still in charge?
❗Granted that you can no longer do the jitter bug, the shuffle or the jive. We are not expecting you to. However, your version of the foxtrot, the one step forward and two steps backwards is becoming predictable. Almost on cue everyday we expect you will do a “gostan “, on things that are crucial. Today you say we should bring back the glory days of our education system. Today, more English. Tomorrow, oops….someone’s got their knickers in a twist. Two steps backwards.
Vernacular schools, National Schools only, Islamic Schools, Trade Schools…..whatever, it’s just rhetoric. No new policies, just rhetoric, playing to a gallery of stick-in- the-mud politicians trying to stay afloat . We couldn’t even get ICERD ratified because people did not want equal opportunity and took to the streets in protest. As for the Rome Statuate. That was a non starter.
Are we going to spend what should be our golden years, living in fear of racial riots. Each time an issue arises, people want to take to the streets. Hey, this is bordering on the ridiculous. Grow up people. We are done with threats. Dr. Mahathir, you are in charge. You call the shots. Stop pussyfooting with the old guard. They LOST the elections. We won. So take charge. You used to be fearless, Sir. Let’s see some of that passion again.
❗As for what’s making the rounds in the news lately. Aiyohlah, what’s with everybody and sex scandals, who’s doing what to whom. Who cares? During office hours demand the best of your cabinet ministers. What people do in their own time is nobody’s business. Stop peaking into other people’s bedrooms, lah. If our busybody ministers are so free they should volunteer at soup kitchens. Talk to Kechara. Go feed the poor. Dr. Mahathir, you really need to shake up some of your ministers. Maybe, use the rotan, since it’s being abused anyway. Start with MOE. They really need a thrashing for giving Malaysian education such a bad name and getting us into such a mess.
❗And last, but not least why are you still giving safe harbour to Zakir Naik. You have to know, his brand of Islam cannot be good for our country. He really really needs to go. Let some other country shield him. Dr Mahathir, young man, you have so much to handle here at home. We are in need of real reform. Let’s put your energy where it’s needed most. Take care. I have you on my prayer list every morning for your good health and well being. Please use whatever time you have left to finish what you started.
Carol Jennifer Soars,
A former English & Literature teacher.