PETALING JAYA: Former attorney general Tommy Thomas has harsh words for Dr Mahathir Mohamad, whose resignation as prime minister in February 2020 paved the way for Muhyddin Yassin to take power.
In an epilogue to his recently-published memoirs, Thomas described Mahathir’s resignation as “a monumental betrayal”.
In a Churchillian turn of phrase, Thomas said: “Seldom in our nation’s history have so many million voters been let down by the actions of one man.”
Mahathir resigned on Feb 24, causing the collapse of the Pakatan Harapan government two years after it came to power in the 2018 general election. His resignation led the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to seek a new prime minister and cabinet from members of Parliament.
Muhyiddin was appointed five days later after the King consulted political leaders to determine who commanded a majority in the Dewan Rakyat. He formed a government of parties in the Perikatan Nasional coalition.
Thomas said the formation of the new government “by a coalition of Malay-centric parties that proudly proclaim their race and religion” had brought disastrous consequences to multi-racial Malaysia.
He compared Muhyiddin Yassin to former US president Donald Trump, saying they both represented the rise to power of those lacking credibility and principle.
Both Muhiddin and Trump represented the modern ‘”kakistocracy”, he said, using a term invented in 17th century England to mean “government by the worst; to describe the political rise of the least qualified or most unscrupulous”.
Calling it a “misgovernment for profit”, Thomas said the kakistocracy served a political agenda – the shameless pursuit of hate politics: (Trump’s) America First, or the Malay/Muslim Agenda of the PN government.
He also said that Trump displayed “dictatorial conduct” during his tenure, disregarding conventions, norms and even legal requirements. Malaysia’s opposition parties have used similar terms against Muhyiddin after his government declared a state of emergency.