Recently the government, or more specifically the PM, has been lambasted right by his own predecessor under the accusations of failing to deliver his 'promises' to him, keeping silence on a euro sell of MV Augusta, and the dismissal of Tengku Mahalil from Proton. As hot as it is, this issue has been the headlines in televisions and newspapers of late that inevitably catches the attention even to the most impervious and who-cares-what Malaysians. Hence, as a student and a young Malaysian, I'd like to share my reflections in light of the matter.
True, it is hardly a disputable point to state that Tun M is a great leader of the nation. He has been a brainchild and a spearhead for many of Malaysia's extraordinary success politically and economically both in the national and the international stage. He is the pioneer of Multimedia Super Corridor and Putrajaya. His voice is loud in the Non-Aligned Movement as well as in the Organization of Islamic Conference. Respected by his friends and foes alike, this stern, outspoken and intelligent leader is no doubt a credible person in matters he specializes - the governing of a nation. However, in the case of his railleries against Abdullah, I have an ambivalent stand on it.
First, I think the way he delivered his points is fairly disagreeable. Despite his being an ex-PM does not mean he has an upper hand in elaborating national issues, especially when the current PM's approach in tackling subjects is different from him. To me, it is unfair to accuse somebody as ungrateful simply because he chooses an alternative approach to solve problems in certain issues. In Abdullah-Mahathir's case, Mahathir prefers mega projects over the more down-to-earth Abdullah who concentrates more on the agricultural based economics. Both have their fair pros and cons. Everybody knows that mega projects (hopefully) produce handsome returns and skyscrapping international reputation to the nation. This Mahathir has proven time and again during his two decades of leading Malaysia as a Prime Minister.
However, the alternative of mega-projects is not necessarily wrong, especially when we are talking about modernizing the agricultural sector here - which is exactly what Abdullah is trying to do. Why? Because from a more developed agriculture, we can sow and reap more food at a cheaper price from our own soil. What does that mean? Firstly, we can reduce (or hopefully, eliminate) dependency of importing staple food (rice etc.) from foreign nations. Secondly, we can utilize many of our unused land - we are rich in arable lands to plant plants! Thirdly, the less materially fortunate Malaysians could gain a benefit from the modernization of agriculture which hopefully minimize the ever increasing rift between the richest and the poorest in this country.
Compare mega-projects. True, they yield tremendous amount of profit per-se compared to the small-scaled projects counterparts, but how many mega projects we could afford? Knowing that our labors (especially skilled labors) are limited, engrossed with even more limitations in supplying the capital, Malaysia is not always capable of catering them, regardless of the promises they may carry.
I think this is the point here. Difference in ways to solve matters has resulted a raw (with Abdullah being defensive) between the two leaders. Of course, Mahathir has brought forward interesting points for the governments to ponder about. And I am as a student and a young Malaysian, is eager to wait for the respond! :)