Artikel ini ditulis pada tahun 2002. Terima kasih Tun Dr Mahathir Mohammad.
Dr. M Leader par Excellence
By Tun Faisal Ismail Aziz
How should we feel if our father passes on? Do we cry for the loss? Or, imagine the wonders of inheriting his estate, filled with wealth? Is it appropriate to feel like saying, "Yeah! It’s about time he left!”?
When our PM announced his resignation, the first emotional reaction that struck us indicates the depth of our love for him. For those who regard him as a father, they will feel the loss of someone they love very much. There were those at the Assembly who lost control and broke into tears.
For those who love him ‘materially', the first thing that’ll strike their minds would be how the share market and the domestic economy are going to fare after the news. This thinking is no different than thinking about inheriting your father’s wealth should he pass away. There are those that question the timing and manner of the announcement, whether it was appropriate or not. They will laugh if the `incident' increases their net-worth, but curse if it causes their wealth to decline.
For those whose father is bed-ridden or in a state of coma for a long time, his final passing would be accepted, albeit with a heavy heart, as the pain is alleviated. They will feel the loss of a family member, but at the same time they feel a kind of relief at not needing to bear the burden any longer.
The first emotion is usually the truest emotion. Only a day or two after the incident do we start to`rationalise' events and become reasonable.
When the demise of the Prophet pbuh (Peace be Upon Him) was announced, Muslims were dismayed and could not stop themselves from crying. The Prophet’s close friend, Umar al-Khattab, was unable to accept the news and threatened to behead anyone spreading the news of his death.
A similar incident took place, when YAB Dato' Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced his resignation from all his posts in UMNO and Barisan Nasional. Malays, especially UMNO members and sympathisers, were shocked and deeply saddened by his announcement.
The high emotions exhibited by Malays in the past few days is demonstrative of what is explained above. However, those that attribute the initial response to lack of confidence in the new Malay leadership are in error.
Looking back at history, the demise of the Prophet pbuh was an event that could not be averted.
Mahathir’s decision could be, and thus why supreme council members, delegates and observers endeavoured to make him retract his decision. One must try to keep one’s father with them.
Malays are not afraid to face this departure since they have evolved psychologically due to Dr Mahathir's exemplary leadership. The Melayu Baru created by Dr Mahathir have all the confidence in facing future challenges. This Melayu Baru will emerge as the new breed of leaders, they who will bring changes and persistently protect the interest of the Malays.
For more than two decades, Dr Mahathir has brought in substantial change to the mind, character and values held by Malays and Malaysians. He has fruitfully built up the spirit of the Malaysian Nation, which has been the core of his Vision 2020.
He has successfully shifted the Malaysian economy from being agriculture-based to industrial-based, and now, to a knowledge-based one. He has stopped foreign attempts to colonise our economy, successfully managed the devastating impact caused by the recent recession, and reconstructed our economy “the Malaysian way”.
Within the same period, he has also been the spokesperson and custodian to protect the interests of other races and nations internationally. He openly criticised uncontrolled globalisation by the West, and voiced out his concern over the impact of globalisation, which will make poor countries poorer and cause its citizens to suffer.
Besides that, he has played significant roles in conflicts involving countries like Bosnia-Herzegovina , Iraq , Afghanistan , and other Islamic countries. On the issue of Palestinians, he fought for the cause of both Muslims and Christians.
Undoubtedly Dr Mahathir is a great leader. His absence would be felt not only by Malays but also by all Malaysians and the rest of the world. Malays, Malaysians, Muslims and the world must thank Dr Mahathir for all the contributions he has made during his tenure as Malaysia ’s leader.
Emotionally, the Malays would want Dr Mahathir to continue leading them well into the future. But, rationally, Malays understand and respect his decision.
Like other mortals, sooner or later Dr Mahathir will depart from this life. Malays and Malaysians must accept this fact.
In my opinion, the announcement of his resignation is timely and done after careful and thorough consideration, when he has already planned the succession of leadership in an orderly manner. He might have considered that the impact of his `sudden demise' would be even more devastating, especially economically. I believe rational Malaysians would agree with this statement.
The question now is: Are Malays and Malaysians ready to accept new leadership?
The demise of the Prophet pbuh signified the start of a new political era for the Muslims. When news of the Prophet’s death broke, the leaders of the Aus and Khazraj tribes rushed for a meeting to elect a successor from their own tribes.
The situation became very tense. Only after heated discussions did Muslims agree to accept Abu Bakar as the `Caliph'. They were persuaded by Umar al-Khattab's argument, which was based on the hints provided by the Prophet pbuh prior to his death. The orderly transition of leadership therefore prevented disunity among the Muslims at that time.
UMNO and Barisan Nasional politicians should learn from history that orderly transition of leadership would help to prevent disunity and any other adverse effects. YAB Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has been elected the Deputy President of UMNO. According to tradition, the Deputy President would replace the President should he leave his post.
UMNO politicians, especially the Vice Presidents, should give undivided support towards YAB Dato' Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi as Dr Mahathir's successor. Similarly, undivided support must come from the leaders of all Barisan Nasional component parties. I believe Dr Mahathir would not have resigned if he felt YAB Dato Seri Abdullah was not capable enough to lead the Malays and all Malaysians.
Dr Mahathir's reign is a story of a nation's excellence. Like any other story from previous civilisations, the story of Dr Mahathir will be told and re-told from one generation to another. Though the era may soon end, the spirit will always remain with us, forever.
The author wrote this piece in response to the letter “Let’s thank the PM and move on” (Malaysiakini.com, Letter to the Editor, 25th June 2002 ). Tun Faisal is a member of the Promuda team, and head of Religious Education in the Education & Youth Development Select Committee.