Seelan: I personally don't care what race Mahathir is, because the enemies of freedom come in all races. This is still interesting news however.
Mahathir Kept Hidden His Little Secret - The Indian Muslim
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad started life not as a Malay but a Malayalee -the people of Kerala in south India, where his father came from.
At university in Singapore, Mahathir was listed as an Indian.
Perhaps this explains why Mahathir became more Malay than many Malays, all the while pursuing a politics which had scant time for Malay instincts for consensus and compromise.
(Note: Mahathir was born and named as Mahathir s/o Iskandar Kutty @ Mahathir Mohamed. Mahathir's father, (Iskandar Kutty) was a school teacher of Indian origin, specifically Malayalee (people who speak Malayalam), not to be confused with Malay, having migrated from the southern state of Kerala, while his mother was a Malay. - Malaysian Unplug)
Mahathir is full of paradoxes on racial issues. Many of his policies have had the effect of reducing the racial element in government decisions, watering down the agenda to advance Malay interests. As a result he is well regarded by many in the Chinese business community.
(Yet) Dr. Mahathir angered many non-Malays when he said Malay leaders and Bukit Bendera Umno division chief Ahmad Ismail should not apologise for saying Chinese Malaysians are "squatters"
Mahathir has been quick to promote himself as the embodiment of "Asian" identity and values, with diatribes against the west, usually couched in racial terms.
Yet, despite his trumpeting of Asian identity, Mahathir appears ashamed to admit his Indian heritage.
In his new book, A New Deal for Asia, he writes about his father in such a way as to imply that he was a Malay dedicated to the improvement of his fellow Malays rather than the hard-working Indian immigrant and government servant that he was.
No mention of Mahathir's Indian Muslim background ever appears in the media. The subject is taboo.
- Philip Bowring.
His original name was Mahathir Kutty s/o Mohamed Iskandar Kutty. His father was considered as a mamak muslim, a supporter of the pro-Axis Indian National Army leader, Subash Chandra Bose. Among the blogger community, Tun Mahathir is often referred as “Si Mahathir Kutty”, “Indian Malay Mahathir”, “Mamak Malay Mahathir”. His orang kampung friends who studied in Singapore with him knew about this, so as his name used in Singapore during college. When he was the Prime Minister of Malaysia for 22 years, he was also referred as “Firaun” or “Mahafiraun” who controlled the entire nation.
October 25, 2008
That was all fated to change with my arrest under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) of Malaysia, which allows for indefinite detention without trial. My crime? I had known Anwar Ibrahim, the deputy prime minister and finance minister of Malaysia, as a close personal friend for many years. We shared and strove for a vision of life firmly rooted in human dignity. We struggled for building an intellectual and political milieu for free expression. Together, we subscribed to the idea of economic prosperity, gender and racial equality and a civil society.
Alas, the Malaysian dictator, Mahathir, under the growing burden of corruption and cronyism, conspired to halt the march of freedom. In order to build his fraudulent case against Anwar, Mahathir himself ordered my arrest.
My kidnapping and detention by the infamous Malaysian Special Branch taught me how it feels to be forcibly separated from one’s wife and children. How it feels to be searched and seized, disallowed to make phone calls, handcuffed, blindfolded, stripped naked, driven in an animal cage, shaven bald, endlessly interrogated, humiliated, drugged, deprived of sleep, physically abused. What it’s like to be threatened, blackmailed, tormented by police lawyers, brutalized to make a totally false confession, hospitalized for a consequent heart ailment, and treated as a psychiatric patient with symptoms of Stockholm syndrome.
Barely surviving on a meager diet of rancid rice and chicken along with 12 medicines a day, I spent nearly four months handcuffed around the clock to my hospital bed, under the watchful eyes of the prison guards.
Thereafter, my ability to speak, read and write took a considerable time to show signs of recovery. Short-term memory lapses were frequent. I existed in a fluid state in which suicidal tendencies, depression and despair were punctuated by fits of rage and indignation.
Weekly visits of less than an hour by my wife, Nadia, with our young children — Aisha and Omran — were my only contact with the outside world and the only inspiration to live on.
In collusion with the lawyer appointed on my behalf by the police, the Malaysian authorities refused the legal assistance of my choice, coercing me not to mount an appeal against the court verdict and threatening me with greater punishment under new charges if I didn’t co-operate.
Simultaneously, Nadia constantly endured police harassment, wiretapping and disruption of our e-mail and bank accounts. Some of our friends were met with the same fate and were compelled to abandon us when we needed them most.
But, in attempting to scare off and alienate my friends, how terribly mistaken were Malaysian autocrats in aping gross Gestapo tactics. How they underestimated the temper of freedom in so many places around the world, above all among friends in the West.
Floodgates of human compassion were opened when the futurist author Alvin Toffler, who Mahathir asked to advise him on a pet high-technology project, sent a message of protest to the Malaysian leader within 72 hours of my capture. In a major interview with the Western press, Mahathir even felt it necessary to make assurances — unfulfilled, of course — about my well being.
With every passing day, the rising tide of concern for my plight seemed to personify the words of Elie Wiesel:
“Take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor. Never the victim. Never the tormented.”
Friends and strangers alike took a stand and support began to mushroom everywhere. Nadia related to me in the hospital how Amnesty International had declared me a “prisoner of conscience,” and how Pen International adopted me as a “writer in prison.” Against all odds, two prominent Malaysian lawyers, Manjeet Singh Dhillon and Balwant Singh Siddhu, offered their services unconditionally. To top it all, an international coalition — Friends of Dr. Anees — came into existence in defence of my rights. The core group of Naseer Ahmad, Baseer Hai, Safir Rammah, Jamal Mubarak, Anees Ahmad and Naeem Siddiqui mounted a media campaign with phenomenal success.
What touched my heart was that the person, Kamal Mubarak, who set up the Web site had never met me in person. From the depths of my confinement, I could see the magic of human compassion had begun to defeat oppression.
The pinnacle was reached after my release in the warm hug laced with watery eyes of an Amnesty friend in Toronto, Margaret John, who witnessed a pledge of solidarity between me and Devan Nair, the former president of Singapore, for we had come to share a similar fate.
My victimization at the hands of Mahathir’s “Asian values” has transformed me in another way. All my adult life, like so many in the Muslim world, I have suspected under every nook and cranny some conspiracy by the West to keep us down. Yet, in this seminal experience of my life, my friends in the West succeeded in saving me, while Mahathir, a Muslim, did everything to destroy me. And he is trying to do the same to Anwar again through his obliging courts on totally fabricated charges.
Mahathir has demonstrated that, though a proclaimed Muslim, his heart is blind to compassion. Tyranny is the hallmark of his bankrupt concept of “Asian values.”
My tragedy, and that of my friend Anwar, ought to make our fellow Muslims think very hard when they ponder the West and its role in the world. As we set out to shape our collective destiny in the 21st century, will the values of Mahathir or Jefferson serve us best? Mahathir himself made that choice for me. Sic semper tyrannis.*
* Sic semper tyrannis is a Latin phrase meaning “thus, ever (or always), to tyrants.” It is sometimes mistranslated as “Death to tyrants.” The phrase is a shortened version of Sic semper evello mortem Tyrannis, which translated means “Thus always death comes to tyrants.” (Wikipedia)