We are all sinners. None of us is perfect for we have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Even saints, when they walked the surface of the Earth, were sinners. The two more well-known, canonised in modern times, Saint Mother Teresa and Saint Pope John Paul II, had called themselves sinners.
Back home, the only Malaysian political leader I have described as a saint, Tok Guru Nik Aziz Nik Mat, had also conceded that he had sinned for being furious at some of his fellow PAS leaders whom he deemed to be corrupt. To those who believe in God, the inability to control anger and rage is also a sin.
I read with interest the list of sins, allegedly committed by Dr Mahathir Mohamad, spelt out by Najib Abdul Razak in an interview with the Malaysia Gazette news portal.
Mahathir, in a recent interview, had said he would never forgive those who had ruined Umno.
However, Najib, who was Umno president from 2009-2018, said in the interview that he was willing to forgive Mahathir if the latter asked for forgiveness.
“But if he doesn’t seek forgiveness, I will find him at Padang Masyar (the afterlife),” he said.
I am not interested in who was responsible for ruining Umno. That’s their internal party issue.
In fact, like many Malaysians, I had rejoiced when Umno was brought to its knees in the 14th general election in 2018. So thanks to those, whoever they might be, for ruining Umno. You deserve what you get.
I am keener to dissect the list of Mahathir’s sins as alleged by a fuming Najib (“I don’t deny, I have been really angry”) who claimed that Mahathir continues to repeatedly go over the same issues against him, even though Najib has explained his actions.
Here is Najib’s list of Mahathir’s sins:
1. Money politics peaked in 1993 when Mahathir was the prime minister. It turned very ugly during the 1999 general election following the fallout with Anwar Ibrahim. Mahathir weakened Umno in 1999 and money politics was thriving in the party.
2. During Mahathir’s 22 years in power, the media was controlled, and there were no alternative media, unlike now, to report on Mahathir’s scandals. The lack of news did not mean there were no scandals during Mahathir’s time, Najib said, citing the Bank Negara Malaysia foreign exchange scandal involving losses of RM33 billion.
3. Mahathir had also placed over 100 politicians under the Internal Security Act (ISA) during the 1987 Operation Lalang, including opposition members.
4. Cronyism was widespread during the Mahathir era. A lot of people know this. It was “the same people” doing deals during his era.
5. Najib also repeated his criticism of Mahathir’s children being in business and being listed by Forbes for their wealth.
‘Cash is king’
I don’t think any of us has reasons to doubt Najib’s claims. Those allegations are not new but repeated countless times by Mahathir’s opponents and enemies-turned-allies alike.
Who is not aware of the existence of money politics, way before “Cash is king” became a popular metaphor and effective weapon in electoral battles, GE14 in particular?
Now, the all-important question: Should we, as a nation and people, forgive Mahathir for his sins?
Indulging in money politics and enriching his children is not a mere issue of morality. There are regulations and laws against corrupt practices and abuse of power.
If Najib is now a convicted felon due to his involvement in the 1MDB saga, what is there to prevent the law from clamping down on Mahathir for his years of power abuse as prime minister?
The same goes for another clear-cut case – that of former Sarawak chief minister and now governor Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Should Sarawakians forgive him for his 33 long years of alleged power abuse and corrupt practices? If it must be said that if true, Taib is more of an international disgrace than Mahathir on that front.
To sum it up, it is not a matter of forgiving or forgetting? Upholding the laws of the land is paramount.
As I’ve often repeated, the reality of justice here is “Different strokes for different folks. So, what is real justice, you tell me!”
Sad, isn’t it?