It was a sight to behold when images of Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad flanked by 14 senior ambassadors from the European Union (EU) countries emerged last week. The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman along with other Pakatan leaders had held a meeting at the residence of Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the Madam Maria Castillo Fernández. The topic of discussion had of course revolved around the forthcoming general elections, which was the underlying reason for the meeting. To be exact Tun Dr. Mahathir met with EU officials to garner support for PH in winning the upcoming general elections.
It is a rather ironic situation. For years during his illustrious career as prime minister of Malaysia, Tun Dr. Mahathir had drilled into Malaysian minds that the Western world was taking advantage of developing and underdeveloped countries. He accused Western leaders of neo-colonialism. The former strongman would periodically lash out at his perceived enemies and those he believed were their puppets in the country. His anti-western rhetoric is well documented with plenty of media reports and academic writing on the matter.
Yet fast forward nearly two decades later Tun Dr. Mahathir is reaching out to these Western countries that he so despised asking them to interfere in Malaysia’s domestic affairs no less. Previously he detested the notion of being told what to do or what was good for the country all in the name of protecting Malaysia’s sovereignty. Moreover during his 22 years of helming the country Tun Dr. Mahathir never prescribed to the western-form of democracy. In fact he was among the proponents of Asian-style democracy. Thus the entire matter reeks of hypocrisy.
Is Tun Dr. Mahathir capable of upholding democratic values? He does not seem remorseful of what he has done under his leadership. Do we want foreign interference or self-determination? Malaysians have much to ponder as we head to the polls.