Dr. Mahathir Mohammed: A giant stepping down [Archives:2003/678/Viewpoint]

October 20 2003

At the end of this month, Malaysian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohammed is expected to step down and retire from his post as prime minister, which he occupied for 22 years.
On this occasion, I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for a man who has proven that uslims can indeed achieve and achieve greatly. During my last tour of Putrajaya, the new federal capital of Malaysia, I was greatly amazed, inspired, and impressed by the level of quality, development, organization, cleanliness and all other ideal values that a city can have.
A man who has achieved so much for an Asian country that struggled tremendously in the 1970s, is indeed worth all the recognition.
However, everything also has a cost, and last week, and immediately after the opening day of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) summit in Putrajaya, Malaysia, Dr. Mahathir Mohammed was attacked ruthlessly by the Western media. The reason was given as “anti-Semitism” because of his statements about the Jews controlling the world, etc.
What I find here is yet another example why we should appreciate and respect Dr. Mahathir for his honesty and sincerity when it comes to world issues. He has shown that countries that do not necessarily go by what the West wants can indeed succeed and do it right in their own way. The 1997 Asian economic crisis has also proven that he was right.
Not only the Muslim world, but all developing countries and people of most of the world supported the ideas presented in Mahathir’s speech. He simply spoke out the truth that most leaders, including Muslim leaders are hesitant to say.
Nevertheless, because Dr. Mahathir is a man of acts not talks, he has done a lot compared to little talk.
Today, Malaysia is a rapidly a growing country with a modern infrastructure and a style of life similar to any developed country. People of Malaysia, regardless of race, origin, color, or religion, seem to support Dr. Mahathir sincerely for he has done better than any Malaysian leader, and I can even go further by saying he was done better than any Muslim leader I know.
In just twenty years, Malaysia has grown in all aspects: social, economical, educational, health-related, political, scientific, etc. What we should do today as Muslims and Arabs throughout the world is to learn from Dr. Mahathir as a person and Malaysia as a country. What I propose on the Malaysian embassy in Sana’a is to distribute free of charge a booklet of Mahathir’s life, what he has done, what he went through, and why he succeeded and was loved by his people. This booklet should go first to decision-makers in the country, and to some leaders of the economic sector (private, and public). By example, they can learn, visualize, and begin to think more effectively. They will be free to take or not take any of Mahathir’s ideas, but at least, they will know how a country can be dragged out of its economic and social miseries and crises to prosperity and development in the true sense.