PETALING JAYA: The 22-year premiership of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been described as an “abject failure” by his former deputy Tun Musa Hitam (pic).
In his recently launched book, ‘Frankly Speaking’, Musa dedicated an entire chapter to the Dr Mahathir administration and spoke freely about the former prime minister’s strengths and weaknesses.
He said Dr Mahathir was a man of vision who had done a lot to uplift the nation but ultimately failed to groom a suitable successor.
Recounting the many meetings he had with the former premier, Musa revealed that Dr Mahathir was a stickler for details and would often be seen taking notes during meetings.
He also credited Malaysia’s rise in the global arena to Dr Mahathir’s no-nonsense and micro-management approach.
But while words like “observant, innovative, and meticulous” were used to describe his former boss, they were also used in the same breath as “authoritarian, contemptuous, and belligerent”.
Musa said Dr Mahathir could be pleasant and engaging at times, but would often come off as being disinterested in dialogue or debate.
“Discussion and debate were never the order of the day,” he wrote.
Another negative quality of Dr Mahathir, Musa added, was his frequent criticism of the Malays.
“Indeed, he could be quite contemptuous of them and their alleged inferiority. In more recent times, he is on record as saying that ‘the Malays are stupid’.”
Musa’s book, which was launched last Wednesday, sees the former deputy prime minister speaking out on a range of issues including education and language.
He also shed light on the implications of historic events during his time in office, including the 1985 Memali incident, the Sabah state election and the Sarawak political crisis.