The Dictator

1. One of the most effective ways of defeating enemies in politics is to give him a bad label.

2. In my time I have been given several labels and they prove very difficult to get rid off.

3. Once a label is given everyone would automatically cite it when speaking or writing about you and even when talking to you.

4. Early in my political career I was labelled a Malay ultra – who was anti-Chinese, an extremist. No matter what I said or did, they would all be considered as extreme, as ultra, as typical of an extremist.

5. I suffered much from this labelling. It took me many years to stop people, especially the Chinese from thinking of me as a Malay ultra and a chauvinist. Once I managed to rid myself of this label, I was able to gain strong Chinese support so that in the 1999 Election even when the Malays rejected me, I was able to win through Chinese votes.

6. But unfortunately another label was stuck to me by my detractors. I was labelled as a dictator.

7. No one fails to call me a dictator whenever they have occasion to talk about me. This is especially with journalists. When reporting about me they never fail to mention that I was also a dictator, like the present one.

8. They label me as a dictator not because they are familiar with my behaviour or deeds. They simply repeat the label given me by past writers. They do not conduct their own research as to what I had done to deserve the epithet.

9. Dictators never fail to get 99% support if they stand for election, either in their party or in national election. I never get 99% of the votes in any election. Invariably the opposition would get almost a third of the seats. They even manage to capture several states. When challenged in party election for President of UMNO I obtained only a 43-vote margin although 80% of the divisions nominated me as their presidential candidate.

10. I led five national elections. Dictators often do not hold elections, or if they do they would win 99% of the votes.

11. Dictators never resign either. They would retain their place until they die. And always they would be succeeded by their sons.

12. I resign voluntarily. I was not succeeded by my son but by party leaders who immediately tried to get the party and their Governments to go against me.

13. No dictator has ever resigned voluntarily or otherwise. As dictators they would have incurred the hatred of the people. They know once they lose power the people would abuse them and punish them.

14. After I resigned, despite efforts by my successors to demonise me, the people continued to accept and support me. Even the opposition parties which used to condemn me are willing to accept me and the party I formed. They even chose me as one of their leaders. Which dictator has had this experience?

15. When I was in power, I did not allow my children to join my party even. After I stepped down, my son had difficulty in joining UMNO. He was actually rejected by my division.

16. Yes, during my time there were people detained under the ISA. But people ignore the fact that I released 21 political detainees upon being made Prime Minister. Those detained under the ISA during my tenure were quickly released because I did not agree with their detention. The IGP confirmed this.

17. Now Najib is calling me a dictator. Coming from him, this assertion is ridiculous. He has never allowed any challenge against him in the party. His deputy was sacked and he engineered the removal of my son, the MB of Kedah, replacing him with one of his toadies.

18. There is now total censorship of the print and electronic media. He got the police to arrest and detain the people who reported on him alleged criminal activities.

19. Under Najib the Income Tax Department raids businesses and demand extra tax on pain of being black listed. Books belonging to the businesses are seized and accounts frozen so that no business can be done.

20. Najib enacted new laws which gives him the power to detain anyone without trial. If the person dies, no inquest would be carried out.

21. In UMNO, no one was allowed to contest against him. Even the 1MDB and the 2.6 billion Ringgit in his personal account were not allowed to be mentioned by delegates to the UMNO general meeting or at any other time.

22. The record shows that Najib is a dictator, a kleptocratic dictator.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

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