Many people are understandably upset. Many more are feeling despondent. Many are worried. Many are even depressed. Of course there are some who are rejoicing, especially if you are the one getting promoted out of the blue.
I have a sense of déjà vu. I have seen these happen before. Not once, but many times.
In October 1987, when operating Lalang was launched, and many newspapers were suspected, we all felt what we are feeling right now.
In 1988, when the then Lord President was sacked by a tribunal, the same feeling arose.
Then in 1998, during the height of the financial crisis, when our currency was sinking lower and lower, and the sudden sacking of Anwar as deputy prime minister hit like a bombshell, we again experienced this feeling of despondency and uncertainty.
Lest some of my readers may be too young at that time, let me inform you that all these occurred during Dr M’s administration. But Malaysians ‘mudah lupa’ ; after each episode, Dr M went from strength to strength, leading BN to win by more than two third of seats after each of these events.
i remember in the mid 90’s , especially around the year 1995, he was enjoying strong support of Malaysians, despite the fact that what he had done in the 80s has irreparably weakened various institution of our country. The mechanism of check and balance, so tediously laid down by our earlier leaders , was tossed to the wind. He was hailed as a great leader, and in private conversation I have with many of my businessmen friends, they told me variously that ‘ clear water has no fish’,’ the end results justify the means’ etc etc. By then the people not only forgot the harm he has done in the 80s, but they adored him as a great dictator who was able to provide stability and put money in everyone’s pockets by means of charting a steady growth rate.
Malaysians mudah lupa, yes!
Now we Malaysians are facing yet another sandiwara similarly to earlier ones. The student has learned well and using the same strong hand tactic, he is doing exactly a ‘Dr M’. He must be secretly hoping that since we Malaysians have this ‘ mudah lupa’ traits, if he can buy time, and give stability and good growth rate to the country, people will forget and forgive. After all, most of the people are like the Joe-6-pack of America, as long as there is enough to spend for himself and his family, other things are secondary.
One thing in his favor is the power of incumbency. As no.1, with all mechanism of check and balance weakened, and his enormous power to dispense both positions and favors, people with aspiration to climb ladders will succumb to enticement and give him full support. So will those with skeletons in the closet- there must be tons of them.
So he must be hoping that after a couple of years, people will forget.
The main difference between the situation now and the earlier crisis is that the people are much better informed nowadays, with Internet and online media taking over the role of watch dog. Furthermore, the people are badly affected by bread and butter issues, no thanks to the inflation brought about by the untimely imposition of GST, exacerbated by the plunging commodities’ prices and the sinking value of the ringgit.
Will Malaysians still mudah lupa?
Only time will tell.
this article is published in Malaymailonline.