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24 May, 2018 00:00 00 AM

Mahathir Mohammad and Malaysia’s future

Under Mahathir Mohammad’s leadership his party won five parliamentary elections consecutively
Muhammad Quamrul Islam
Mahathir Mohammad and Malaysia’s future

At the age of 92, Mahathir Mohammad once again assumed the responsibility of Prime Minister of Malaysia and it is a matter to rejoice for us septuagenarian in this region who read History and observed the career of the leader. Removing the ruling regime tainted with corruption scandals, on May10, 2018, Mohammad led the opposition alliance Pakatan Harpan i.e. Alliance of Hope won 113 seats and ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) has 79 in the 222-member Parliament. The opposition also swept state elections.

The defeated Prime Minister Najib Razak accepted the verdict of the people that marked the end of ruling Barisan coalition’s 60-year grip in power. A Malaysian columnist hoped Umno/BN would now use its time in the wilderness to cleanse and reform it and come back to life again as a strong, credible and honourable opposition. It owes that much, at least to the nation, and for democracy to thrive a strong opposition is needed.

Currently serving as the seventh Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohammad has started to implement ruling Pakatan Harpan agenda for change i.e. Trustworthy and clean governance, repeal of oppressive laws, an end to corruption and economic policies that truly serve the people. He initiated the process; freed Anwar Ibrahim from jail after King pardoned him. He built opposition against the previous regime.  Anwar’s wife ably worked for opposition which has been recognized and rewarded. Malaysian Anti-corruption Commission has asked former leader Najib Razak face charges of billion dollar misappropriation and money laundering.

Mahathir’s graceful return to power to restore rule of law in Malaysia was an instant reminder to us what a life he lived for progeny to follow at home and abroad to make a better world. In 1981 he rose politically in democratic course and assumed responsibility of Prime Minister and served till 2003 in same flavour made Malaysia a developed country from underdeveloped and retired voluntarily. Under his leadership the ruling party won five parliamentary elections consecutively. Each time he came out successful in election with fresh mandates of the people and gave a new look to Malaysia.

It was possible due to coordinated efforts of the people of Malaysia, no magic or formulae, reached the present stage, he said.  He facilitated two successors democratically; who rose to power; when needed he uphold morality as the current scenario reveals. Since independence Malaysia has had one of the best economic records in Asia. The economy has been traditionally fuelled by its natural resources and is expanding in the sectors of science, industrial development market economy, trade and tourism. The fruits of development have been equitably distributed among the people, which also helped its trade partners including us as developments attracted workers to earn in Malaysia. More than five lakh Bangladeshis reportedly are now working and sending remittances at home which in turn contributed to local progresses here. The total area of Malaysia is almost four times of Bangladesh and its population less than one-third of us. Malaysian education system is well placed and functional for the benefit of all citizens. Malaysian health care system is regarded as one of the best in the world.

Mahathir’s aptitude for politics was apparent from his very childhood and learning. Born in a middle class family on July10, 1925 he learnt discipline from his father and got religious education from his mother who read Holy Quran at home. He was a meritorious student, kept contacts with different parties and United Malay National Organization or UNMO. He is a medical graduate from the King Edward V11 Medical College of Singapore, returned home and commenced job as physician in 1953 with determination to do something new for his country.

In 1964 he was first elected to Parliament as a member of UMNO, the dominant party within the ruling coalition. The New Economic Policy adopted by the government in 1971 to improve economic conditions of Malays contained many ideas that Mahathir advocated and implemented successfully, increased growth rate over 20 years. Its aim was to ameliorate poverty of all without any discrimination and create new wealth in economic activities. After its completion, 10 year New Development Policy was taken up, kept up prosperity with growing manufacturing sector, an expanding middle class, raising literacy rates and increased life expectancy.

He is not only successful in matters of policy and ideology; he is an exceptional Prime Minister. Throughout his period it was prohibited to name any institution after his name. Mahathir is deeply devoted to Islam and writes that Islam is a part of our life. There is no reason to leave it.  Properly interpreted religion can never be an obstacle to economic growth.  The teachings of Islam are taken in contemporary view. Islam is not only seventh century religion. Surely it is for all time. His interpretation resonate the mind of the people.

Education reform was a bold step of Mahathir that changed Malaysia. From the very beginning of his political life he emphasized on sound education system for the country, which received priority. In 1974 he was elected MP and Education Minister, declared no education institution be named in his name and no photo be hanged in education institutions or government offices. He is an exemplary leader whose ruling style should be copied and implemented for the development of nations.

The writer is a social activist.



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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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