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Change – Mahathir Mohamad

JAN 3 – In his campaign to become President of the US Barack Obama promised change, “time for change”, he said.

He promised to close down Guantanamo Detention Camp.

He promised to stop trials of detainees by Military Courts.

He promised to pull out from Iraq and Afghanistan.

And many more.

Now, four years into his first term he has failed to keep his promises.

Guantanamo is still holding so-called terrorists; still torturing them. No military courts but no trials by civilian courts either.

Instead of pulling out from Iraq and Afghanistan he approved a “surge” in the troops sent to this area. Later he pulled out some troops but American soldiers are still in the two countries.

Making promises during campaigns for elections is easy. Keeping them is a different matter. The best hope is that people’s memory is short. They would normally forget the promises.

Now the opposition in Malaysia have copied Obama and is promising change.

Give them a chance they say. The BN has ruled this country for 55 years. It is time to change. They will change this into a welfare state. Everything will be free. No fees for education. No tolls. Large subsidy for petrol. Twenty per cent royalty to oil-producing states, etc.

The Socialist and Communist have tried this welfare state idea. They failed. Malaysia has no ideology. But the reality is that all Governments need money in order to develop the country and to subsidise living cost for the people. But when Government foregoes taxes, tolls and fees, it will have less money. But it will still have to spend money on running and maintaining utilities, expressways, schools, hospitals, operational and development cost, pension, subsidies, etc.

So where does the Government get necessary funds.

Borrowing is okay if the money is invested and giving a return to repay the loans. But borrowing money in order to just spend will lead to non-payment of debts.

That’s what happened to Greece. It’s bankrupt now. The whole of Europe cannot put it back together again.

Admittedly, the BN has ruled this country every since independence. But look at the record and compare it with other countries which gained independence at the same time. Compare it even with the developed West. They are in deep financial trouble and try as they might, they have not been able to overcome the crisis.

Remember 1997-8 crisis. The then Deputy PM and Minister of Finance tried the IMF solution without the IMF loans. Banks and companies were faced with the threat of bankruptcy from non-performing loans. Imports cost more. Cost of living shot up.

The track record of the Minister of Finance then was bad although there is a fondness of claiming success brought about by other people as his success. PNB, UIA and Islamic banking were part of the claim.

Now, as leader of the Opposition he is claiming to bring about change. What good change did he introduce when he was in the Government. All he was interested in was getting up the leadership ladder of Umno in order to become Prime Minister. How he achieved his objective does not bear scrutiny.

Five years for the Anwar or Hadi-led opposition to govern is dangerous. Many things can be destroyed in five years. We have some experience of this. Besides the Opposition as Government will ensure there will be no return for the BN. Officers in the Government will be used to “gempar” (threaten) whoever tries to change Government. We know this has happened before.

Already we see this person who claims to fight for free speech suing and resorting to the courts to shut the mouths of his critics. Other powers of the Government will be similarly abused. Nepotism and cronyism will be employed as indeed they are in the party he now heads.

The record is there. Malaysians must not allow themselves to be hoodwinked as I was hoodwinked by the appearance of religious piety in the past.

The BN has listened to the people and has changed many laws and policies. All that the people need to do is to urge the BN to carry out whatever change the people desire. But changing the Government can and will result in this country becoming unstable and unable to grow.

* This article was first published here.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insider.

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