I am sure Mahathir would be very willing to serve these Islamic countries. Let's appoint him as an interim President for these countries.
Dr M: Arab upheaval may bring wrong change
By Adib Zalkapli
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 28 — Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad warned today that the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt may not necessarily benefit the countries, saying they are at risk of being taken over by opportunists.
Dr Mahathir added that even if elections were held, the chosen leaders may not be better than the overthrown leaders.
“I am sure that the people would want to see a democratic government, a government of the people, by the people, for the people,” said the former prime minister in his blog posting today.
“This sounds great but government by the people will not be so easy. You cannot have the people directly governing themselves.
“You will need to have a new constitution and political parties which will enable representatives of the people to form the government. For this, elections will have to be held. Unfortunately elections can be manipulated,” he added.
Dr Mahathir also warned against uncertainties if the newly-elected governments fail to fulfil the public’s expectation.
“It is not necessary that the government which replaces the old regime will be free from corruption. The people may have to try to remove the government again and again with no certainty the replacements would be any better,” he said.
Dr Mahathir’s administration for 22 years was credited for bringing economic progress, but he has also been criticised by his opponents for allegedly rolling back democratic practices.
Detractors have blamed the nation’s longest-serving premier for the arbitrary arrests of opposition leaders using the Internal Security Act (ISA) and accused him of interfering in the judiciary in 1988, which resulted in the dismissal of the then Lord President Tun Salleh Abas and five other judges.
Today, Dr Mahathir questioned the ability of the Egyptians and Tunisians to take part in elections.
“It will not always be the good people who will win to form governments. The idea of people choosing their leaders sounds very democratic but the people may not be savvy as to the quality of the candidates,” said Dr Mahathir.
“Sectarian loyalties, money and narrow-mindedness may bring instability, economic regression and even anarchy,” he added.
Dr Mahathir also warned that the civil service and the military might have problem adapting to a more democratic system.
“The professional administrators, military and police must learn to be subservient to the elected governments even when they are changed by the electorate through periodic elections,” said Dr Mahathir.
“Their political affiliations will be private as they will have to serve whichever party forms the government. It is going to be hard. The temptation to seize power will plague the minds of many,” he added.
Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who led the country for 23 years, was ousted early last month following series of public demonstrations.
It triggered more such protests in the Arab world, and resulted in the resignation of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, who had ruled the country for over three decades.