Dr M, The Malaysian of the Year

Dr M, The Malaysian of the Year 

EXCERPTS ONLY. Equally loved and loathed, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad might have retired from public life five years ago but 2008 has seen his greatest impact on Malaysian life for him to become  “Malaysian of the Year”.

But Dr M — he of the sarcasm and smirk — made 2008 all his own. Revered or reviled, he recovered from illness last year to remonstrate the government, regain his momentum. Beyond the pulpit of public office, Mahathir is still widely popular despite being without a party. Legions of fans and supporters have continued to praise him for his stand, thoughts and ideas for the country and the world.

His eight-month-old http://www.chedet.com blog has received some 10 million visitors with more bouquets than brickbats. Others have simply dismissed him as an old man whose time has gone by and he should just retire in peace.

Proving that age has not dimmed his memory nor withered his caustic tongue, Mahathir has single-handedly and single-mindedly hounded his opponents.

For him, the change should be towards Mahathirism which a growing number do believe is the salvation for the country, fondly recalling the steady hand and calm mind in both the 1987/88 and 1997/1998 financial crises.

For others, dismantling his legacy cannot start soon enough although it has proven difficult against this man who ruled for 22 years and united people for and against him, even beyond the pale of Putrajaya, where he sits in his Nehru jacket in an exact replica of his Prime Minister’s Office — writing, reading and reiterating his way of life.

All said and done, Mahathir’s shadow looms large and he continues to exert a great influence in Malaysia, for better or worse, and has no equal as 2008’s Malaysian of the Year.


 Dr M, The Insider’s Malaysian of the Year in The Malaysian Insider

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