Mahathir and the end of Umno?

Mahathir’s at it again, grabbing headlines and drawing all the attention, this time with his resignation from Umno. He will portray himself as the white knight and the principled politician and even the rebel, waging a battle against the forces of corruption and incompetent government represented by Badawi.

And many will be taken in by his antics. So far, in his battle against his hand picked successor badawi he’s managed quite successfully repositioned himself as the blogger’s best friend before becoming a blogger himself (credit where credit is due: Unspun thinks that so far Chun Wai is the only heavy duty Malaysian blogger to be openly critical of Mahathir. The rest have been unsually muted in their criticisms of him)

Mahathir’s actions, however, if you look at it rationally are one of self preservation: he will likely not emerge unscathed if there is a police probe into the Judge Fixing case, that the cabinet has authorised the police to conduct.

He’s saving his own skin here. It is worth noting also that the whole mess that is the Badawi government today is also not entirely Badawi’s fault but Mahathir’s own. Unspun, in a rare feat of foresight saw this coming and wrote in this post back in June 2006:

[Mahathir’s] stubborn imposition of his will and lack of tolerance for fools and detractors, some argue, has resulted in a Malaysia bereft of true successors and full of yes men devoid of a vision for the country.

There is a saying that no matter how great an achievement a man may have it will all come to naught if he has not left the right people to take over from where he has left off. In this regard it will be a few years before history can return a final verdict on the efficacy of this willful, colorful and exciting statesman.

This is a lesson for all aging leaders. Who you leave behind is most important when your time is ending. Not to so so will wreck havoc on your legacy and their people still in the system you led. Badawi’s a horrible leader, yes. But let’s be fair in spreading the blame if we must.

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