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Sunday, 5 February 2012

Mahathir, his gang, financial buffoonery and a doomed Malaysia





The average thinking Malaysian will want to have little to do with Mahathir Mohamed, Malaysia’s noisy ex-Prime Minister. Mahathir is an unapologetic racist and appears quite ready to attempt the release of xenophobic violence for political gain. He consorts with unsavoury racist organizations like Perkasa and is unashamedly pictured on the same platforms as Perkasa’s Ibrahim Ali, a veritable imbecile.
It is of course very unbecoming of a former Malaysian Prime Minister to behave in this manner and one cannot help but be embarrassed by him, particularly when his opinions are featured in the international press rather than Malaysia’s own sycophantic state-controlled mainstream publications. One cringes, and one moves on.

Talking through his hat
Yet Mahathir’s recent posting on the 1st of February in his vulgar blog, ‘Chedet’, appears to have gone beyond semi-lunatic comments to the manufacture of entire global incidents.
Mahathir refers to ‘Britain’s Financial Crisis’ in derogatory terms and accuses the Bank of England of printing money to save themselves. Britain, of course, is not having a financial crisis, nor, one supposes, will they be willing to have one to accommodate Mahathir!
And the BOE is not printing money to boost the British economy. In fact, Britain has a 2.6% inflation rate while Malaysia has an official 3.3% inflation rate. ‘Printing money’ would cause a rise in the inflation rate since the more money is ‘printed’, the less each unit of it will be worth.
The facts are completely at odds with Mahathirs’s wild statements. This, of course, will not stop him from going on and on, any more than the facts ever got in the way of Mugabe’s, or Gaddafi’s, opinions.
Weak and slow Bank Negara
The general perception is that the Malaysian inflation rate is massaged to be shown to be lower than it actually is. Malaysia’s inflation rate is also a sustained one, making it a fault of monetary policy, rather than ‘global warming’ or some other fantastical reason as suggested by Malaysia’s ruling BN politicians.
BNM’s governor, Zeti Aziz, a Mahathir appointee, appears to be little concerned with the inflation rate, which should in fact be her prime focus. Nor does she appear to have been having any effect on her political masters in reining in Malaysia’s dangerous deficit which is approaching the critical 60% of GDP mark.
Instead she issues slow, frightened, watery plans to ‘liberalize’ Malaysia’s financial sector. No one will be moving their financial hub from Singapore to Malaysia in response to Zeti’s ideas.
A BNM governor who is ineffectual at both monetary and fiscal policy levels is surely one we can do without. Unlike the Fed’s Ben Bernanke, who must explain and defend his policies publicly to various committees, Zeti sits in Bank Negara like a goblin in its cave, uncaring of failure.
Financial buffoon
Mahathir also boasted that he wrote in the Financial Times that western problems were because they were living beyond their means. How very simple it all is, in Mahathir’s demented little black and white world. The fact that Portugal has been on a severe austerity program for years only to have their bonds downgraded to junk by the rating agencies appears not to have fazed Mahathir at all.
Mahathir, despite his own endless self-promotions, was never a legitimate Prime Minister of Malaysia. He held power through unfair and often rigged elections, the threat and the use of draconian laws, a police force which focused on protecting the BN regime rather than the people (to this day) and the perversion of the nation’s institutions to serve his own petty purposes.
'Geng' Dr M
Yet the danger that Mahathir poses to Malaysia, buffoon though he may be,  is very real. Through his faction, he has access to political power at the highest levels. The Deputy Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, is a loyal Mahathir supporter. So is Rais Yatim, a hideous walking cadaver from the ‘70s, who has incongruously been entrusted with the task of Information Minister.  Mahathir’s son, Mukhriz, who has yet to issue his first intelligent statement since being appointed at Mahathir’s insistence, is a Deputy Minister. And there are many others in the BN who are Mahathir’s men.
A vote for the BN, then, is a vote for Mahathir and his like. Their incompetence, their racism and their disconnect from today’s global realities will surely spell doom for Malaysia’s future.


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