Monday, 9 July 2018

Impressed and inspired by almost 93 year old Malaysian PM Dr. Mahathir's recent interview with Al Jazeera channel where tough questions were posed to him

Please note that I have a publicly neutral stand on politics of Malaysia. This post dwells on democracy and multi-religious aspects of Malaysia and is NOT in any way a criticism of any political party of Malaysia which includes the political party(ies) that was(were) previously in power in Malaysia before this 2018 election.

🇲🇾 Exclusive interview: Malaysia PM Mahathir Mohamad | Talk To Al Jazeera, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jz1p33HMREA, around 25 mins, published by Al Jazeera English on 7th July 2018

Great to see a close to 93 year old Asian leader give a frank interview answering tough questions, to Al Jazeera.

In the interview he is asked about ***allegations*** that a Saudi Arabian royal figure had donated a large amount of money to his political opponent's election campaign and whether that constitutes foreign interference in Malaysian democracy. Mahathir responds saying that if there is proof of involvement of Saudi Arabia government in Malaysian democracy, Malaysian govt. will send a diplomatic note to Saudi Arabia saying that that's not a good thing to do (and NOT consider a very aggressive response)! That's a very nice and polite way of dealing with the matter which is also appropriate given the money power reality of Saudi Arabia besides Saudi Arabia controlling the number of visas that are issued to Haj pilgrims from any other country, including Malaysia which is a Muslim majority country.

Towards the end of the interview, around 23 min. 11 secs, Mahathir is asked about his proudest moment, a highlight of his long political career. Mahathir responds:
"Well, you know this is a multiracial country. It's not only multi-racial, it's multi-religious, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and even in terms of the economy, some communities are very rich, others are poor. When I became Prime Minister in 1981 the fear was that I would be against the Chinese as a community but in the end when I sat down, the Chinese were the people who supported me best and I retained my two-thirds majority because of their support. To me, that is very satisfactory because it means that the accusation that I was against the Chinese - it's not true because in the end, they were the ones who supported me. So for that I think I can be very satisfied."

Dr. Mahathir Mohamad continues to impress me very much and even inspire me. Public service at the age of close to 93, coming out of what would have been a comfortable retired life, in response to pleas of other countrymen and as a call of duty towards one's country and people! Awesome!

And I have to say that few Asian leaders today would agree to do an interview like this one by Al Jazeera where some tough questions were posed to Dr. Mahathir who did not show offense at being asked these tough questions and answered them! I am really happy to see an Asian leader of a democratic country handle himself so well in an interview by a foreign channel where some tough questions were posed.

In the context of recent news about a certain religious community leader from India who is currently based in Malaysia and who recently had a meeting with Dr. Mahathir, I am very glad to note that Dr. Mahathir has clearly stated in the above interview and which related extract I have provided above as a transcript, that Malaysia is a multi-racial, multi-religious, multi-lingual and multi-cultural country. [BTW the same is the case with India.] He did not say that Malaysia is a country devoted exclusively to one religion. That is very heartening and encouraging for me, an Indian social media writer who openly writes about and promotes the principle of freedom of religion including freedom to have no religion/faith.

[I thank Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and Al Jazeera channel, and have presumed that they will not have any objections to me sharing the above short transcript-extract from their youtube video on this post which is freely viewable by all, and does not have any financial profit motive whatsoever.]

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