Universiti Malaya's Social Behaviour and Science Research Cluster (SBSRC) had organize a forum to discuss Barry Wain's book on Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times.
I had rushed from a meeting KL hoping to attend the forum but was grossly delayed by KL golden triangle traffic jam. Nevertheless, I will be getting a copy of Barry's book very soon. It was a great pleasure to meet up with him and fellow discussants after the forum.
Apparently, an UMNO minister Khaled Nordin is not pleased with the forum. He alleged that certain individuals had used the forum held at University Malaya (UM) campus to attack Dr Mahathir, Umno and the Malays.
Khaled said the ministry had directed UM to prepare a comprehensive report on the forum as it was inappropriate and aimed at destroying credibility of a statesman who had contributed much to the country's development.
He urged universities to create guidelines to ensure that programmes were academic in nature to avoid being used by certain individuals as platform for personal interest.
If Khaled is so sure that Mahathir is beyond any fault, is he prepared to face Barry Wain in a public debate? I am more than happy to offer myself as the moderator of the event. I am sure many of us, Malaysians and ex-UMers, would be glad to participate in highly intellectual and factual debate on the contribution of Mahathir to Malaysia.
Post-premiership, Mahathir is contributing even greater to national disunity by supporting the call of a right winged organisation such as Perkasa which has made outrageous demands in an attempt to derail genuine reforms in the country.
Khaled and his party should be made to explain to fellow Malaysians why leaders and ex-leaders of his party are offering their support and act as a front for the right winged coalition led by Perkasa?
It is arrogant and distasteful for asking a premier university why it should allow a forum such as Barry Wain's to be held in the campus. Khaled should have attended the forum and take Barry to task for 'trying to destroy' Mahathir's credibility.
If Mahathir is really credible, any attack on him will have a disastrous reverse effect. Try doing the same to Mahatma Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Nelson Mandela and other great leaders.