Malaysian Pie

mahathirdiamLast August, in a conversation with my friend and journalist Ismail Lim that he later developed into his Do You Want Mahathir to Shut Up piece in Free Malaysia Today, I had said ”Mahathir is the father and mother of modern Malaysia. Without him, the Malays would still be struggling to get out of the backwater and everyone else without exception would be in a sleepy Third World idyll…He may not be good, but he is smart. And he’s taking responsibility for the monster he created. The ‘old man’ is a player and Malaysians need to play hard ball now to get out of this mess … I think Mahathir’s principle is success and not necessarily goodness or fairness. Malaysia must succeed. If not, he will bring the skeleton back to the dock anyhow” I was responding to Ismail’s reference to the allegory of the fish from Hemingway’s The ‘Old Man’ and the Sea. Since that conversation, there have been so many gambits, ripostes and revelations in what is turning out to be the ultimate UMNO gundown. The latest of these is a Wall Street Journal report that in 2013, a certain Malaysian financier sent a BlackBerry instant message to an employee at a Kuala Lumpur bank that a number of ‘American pies’ would soon be arriving from overseas. While it is becoming harder and harder to doubt the evidence of corruption at 1MDB, there have been many indications that the integrity and motivations of its detractors are, regardless of the truth of the alleged corruption, questionable or political at the very least. In the contemporary Malaysian analogy, the valiant struggle to bring in the fish seems to have been superseded by the feeding frenzy around its carcass, and the sharks seem to be of all stripes. Indeed, money and politics, truth and expediency, appear to have become inextricably enmeshed and ‘means’ have become ‘ends ‘ in contemporary Malaysia.


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