As with many others, I have been following closely the attacks by Tun Dr. Mahathir on DS Najib Tun Abdul Razak, with great interest. For me, I had my own special personal reason, which is only known to me and Tun Dr. M (“TDM”) (if he still remembers it). Almost exactly 17 years ago, I had a one-to-one meeting with TDM at PM’s office in Jalan Dato’ Onn (before the move to Putrajaya). The meeting was arranged through Tan Sri (then Dato’) Aziz Shamsuddin, who was TDM’s political secretary. It lasted for about one hour.
Of course, there were many issues discussed in the meeting, but of particular interest that I would like to highlight was the subject of the sacking of DS Anwar Ibrahim, of which TDM asked me: do I believe that DSAI committed sodomy (as alleged then)? My answer to him was, I can’t answer that question because I don’t have any personal and direct knowledge, except for what has been laid out in the media.And my answer was, if I relied on the media, then I am a very stupid person, because I knew too well how media is being used all along, for various purposes by those who are in power. When TDM kept on pressing me on the subject, then I questioned him: “Sir, many countries faced crisis at the leadership level, and they have developed ways to resolve that without bringing the whole country, and everyone to be involved”. “What you have done, Sir, is to bring our country back by at least 15 years. What are you trying to tell young people like me to do in the future when we face any similar crisis? To just let the country and the people to split asunder? Why can’t these issues be resolved between both of you (i.e. TDM and DSAI) rather than asking me and everyone else to take side whether to believe you or DSAI? Is this the way that we resolve differences, even on things that are of grave nature, by hurling things onto the public so that they must believe what we say?…..”
TDM was visibly quite shocked or angry with my answers. He was silent for a while. Then he asked me – are you religious? I said “I pray Sir”. Then, he said please pray for the truth, of which I answered, “I will”.
The point that I would like highlight is the way TDM approached things, has always been: that people MUST believe him. He is always telling the TRUTH, and whatever version of explanation is there on DSAI, Pak Lah, or DS Najib – only he has the full truth. Others must either believe and be with him, or be against him. And for those who are NOT with him, they are against him. And yet he called himself to protect and defend democracy in Malaysia as well as in UMNO. Democracy is to allow dissenting opinions and various versions of “truths” to be accepted, because the various versions could well be true at least partly, and could also be false, partly. Until more lights could be shed, and more facts could come out, then part or the full “truth” will be revealed.
But unfortunately, in particular for TDM, truth is what he has in his mind, and others must subscribe to it, in the same way he tried to force me to accept his truth on DSAI’s case. When I don’t, I face all the consequences of his actions and reverberations against me. At the time, he has all the powers to do that. Whilst now, he has no power to do the same to DS Najib, except through trying to split people “asunder” yet again.
The sad part is, people are not really interested in the truth; what they care most is about the perception that are created out of any issues. And perception, when it is created with enough intensity and through time, will be the “truth” in people’s mind. TDM knows that too well, as Jospeh Goebbells doctrine explains that: (even) lies, if you tell it well and often enough, it will become the truth.
What we must care is the welfare of the people of Malaysia, it’s governance and stewardship of the economy. 1MDB is NOT the economy, and DS Najib must be allowed to settle any problems related to it; and he had committed to settle it before year end. So let us judge him on that. As far as the RM2.6 billion donation – I can’t comment much since the information is not yet out in the public. Until the facts are clear, then we could make our comments and judgments on it. Otherwise, we are only speculating.
If TDM has facts and information that we all don’t have – then he should come out with it into the open, with tools like Statutory Declaration and alike. It was used quite widely during his time in power to discredit and damaged DSAI. I was even asked by the Special Branch then to issue SD that I hold RM4 billion on behalf of DSAI (which is totally untrue, and hence I refused to sign anything of such false accusation, which itself are tantamount to lying under oath). Why don’t TDM and anyone with such information (if any) do that, instead of continuously making public remarks, one after another – repeating the same thing (as Goebbels doctrine had taught)?
My last remark to TDM is: Please stop splitting people’s asunder. If you hold the truth, then come out with SD or any methods that we could hold you accountable for what you said. Then we could believe you. Otherwise, I would give the benefit of the doubt to DS Najib, as I did gave the same benefit of the doubt to DSAI then (in November 1998, when I met him).