MARCH 30 — Recently, Dr Mahathir (Dr M) reminded the younger generation, who will one day lead the nation, not to be taken in by the subtle tactics of foreigners who want to bring about neo-colonialism in the country.
He said that “foreign forces would take advantage on the basis of globalisation and liberalisation to fulfil their agenda.
We are now “faced with various challenges from abroad... (and) threats from blog sites”.
He was speaking at the Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad Statesman Discussion organised by the Special Affairs Department (Jasa) of the Ministry of Information Communication and Culture (Bernama, 27.03.10).
It was one amongst the many of Dr M’s anti-re-colonisation rhetoric. Once when he was in power (in reality, he still is!) he declared that the rakyat must ensure that the BN “is returned to power with a big majority in the next general election so that the nation will be ruled by a strong Government capable of standing against any attempt by foreign powers to re-colonise the country”.
Alas, Dr M forgets very easily these days. Re-colonisation had in fact taken place in 1981 when he became PM. He had donned the mantle of British supremacy and with his Executive supremacy even outdid the white colonial master in many ways during the 22 years that followed!
Dr M and his cohorts who once detested the oppressive laws of the British, brandished a gamut of harsh executive powers during his reign which were deeply and undeniably derivative of authoritarian colonialism.
Many laws left behind by the British were amended and made even more draconian to contain, cripple and crush legitimate dissent by citizens and the Opposition. There were countless examples of this.
British “propaganda” was replaced by a powerful broadcast media owned by the Government and allied companies, and regulated by the Broadcasting Act, 1987, which gives the Information Minister vast powers of control and manipulation.
The Sedition Act (1948) was a British law used to stifle Malay nationalists (especially those in UMNO, a party born two years before the Act came to be). The Act was amended and made use of by Dr for selective prosecution of political opponents and to protect UMNO.
The Internal Security Act (ISA) (1960), a relic of colonialism, meant to combat the then communists, was amended more than 20 times to make it more repressive than the original. Its powers were abused to protect the “security” of Umno. Known as ‘white terror’, the ISA was and is still used by Malaysians on Malaysians.
The Printing Presses and Publications Act (1984) originated from the Printing Press Act (1948). Amended in 1987 by Dr M’s regime to exclude judicial review of the Executive’s action vis-a-vis publications it served as a stranglehold on the press and opposition publications.
The Official Secrets Act (OSA) (1972) was based on the British OSA of 1911. Amended in 1986 to provide for mandatory jail sentences, Dr M used it to reinforce the cult of secrecy and to hide his many misdeeds. It resulted in self-censorship by the press.
The Police Act (1963) was amended in 1967, 1981 and 1987 to enhance the wide array of police powers, thus making the constitutional right of assembly absolutely “irrelevant”. The late Tunku Abdul Rahman died a disillusioned man on seeing his independent Malaysia reduced to, in his very own words, a “Police State” by Dr M.
Even the Special Branch was a creation of Britain in 1887. It was meant as a direct response to Irish anarchist terrorism. It was perfected by the Malaysian police to “trace”, threaten, torture and “turn over” political dissidents, an infamous fact glaringly highlighted during the first sodomy trial of Anwar Ibrahim whom Dr M was bent on getting rid of!
Every trick and treachery by Dr M during his 22 years as PM – “divide-and-rule”, purveying a “culture of fear” or creating a “siege mentality”, manipulating ethnic and religious fears, trotting out a bogey – were tools of British Colonialism. Now the supposed “Statesman” tells the young to be wary of re-colonisation!
Alas, how can UMNO “re-invent” itself when its leaders who were the once-oppressed have now become the oppressors? As it happened to the all-powerful supreme British Empire, the day will come when the sun will set on UMNO....
* This is the personal opinion of the writer or the newspaper. The Malaysian Insider does not endorse the view unless specified.