There are many medical doctors, but the one that took history, is history – a legend. Dr. Mahathir bin Muhammad Malay, is known for history taking earnestly to save the precious time for an early recovery either of physical diseases or political diseases. His message is loud and clear, to take history but as a guide, not to be put it around one’s neck to strangulate his voice. There is, at least to be words to ensure one’s protection. This narration is from the book – A New Deal for Asia, written by Mahathir Mohamad.
The reader learns that he is not only a good human being but also a good doctor, a professional politician, as well as good writer. Being aware of the significance of communication, he has been spreading the word, from his school days of his national interest. During his medical education in Singapore, he used to write in newspapers on the tough life of the Malaysians, particularly about the dilemma of Malay community. Because he was one of them. As compared to the other communities, the Malays were living in far worse conditions during those days, though they were the 56% of the population – majority community in Malaysia.
A New Deal for Asia has been composed after the East and South East Asian Currency Crises in 1997. The crises occurred in the economies of the Asian Tigers, including Malaysia. The steep economic down turns within days grieved Mahathir Mohamad and the entire region as well. He wonders over the use of the Jargon of Asian Miracle in the international media, because to him it was overlooking the hard work done by the people of Asia to have good days. In addition, the stock exchange crises caused by the speculative irresponsible media reports and analysis, infuriated him to blame the media for the crises.
The book educates that his focus was building the institutions; and the institutional performance was assessed, since the day of independence 31st August 1957. The problematic areas were deeply examined, to ascertain the nature of the problems itself, prior to going for a solution. Meanwhile, a paradigm shift happened to promote a work culture. The aims and objectives of the institutions were re-set in order to bring prosperity and improve institutional performances.
The Malaysian society was divided up over a number of issues; specifically, the racial division had crossed the limits, turning violent, because of economic ups and down. The big concern to address the issue led him to a dissent within the party, culminating in strip off his membership from the ruling party for three years. Thus, assuming the position, he initiated an economic leveling up program to end poverty and provide equal opportunities to all in the society. The program benefited most the economically depressed people – the Malay community. In the wealth of the Malaysia the Malays had a share of 2.4%, the other races a share of 34.3% and the foreigners a share of 63.3%. Therefore, he launched a nationalistic program to raise the share of the Malays to 30%, the other races 40% and lessen the share of the foreigners to 30% by a set of measures to raise the standard life of the majority who had remain deprived.
Mahathir Mohamad writes that Europeans by nature are war-like people, their history is a record of wars. He himself is a peaceful leader; to him, war is a choice by the vested interests. Those who talk of clashes, cause conflicts and if they talk otherwise world would be in peace. He emphasises on finding common grounds to promote harmony for universal peace amongst nations, religions, and civilizations.
The crises in Market System is inherent; it happens time and again. Therefore the flaws in the system may be taken as a universal challenge. In the currency crises of the East and South East Asian countries of 1997 Malaysia had lost billions of US dollars, while the losses in the Global Financial Crises of 2008, of US was in trillions.
It’s the time for the oldest leader of world, Prime Minister of Malaysia to consider the dilemmas in other parts of the world; as he considered the Malay Dilemma, and consequently found a solution. He has presented the case of Asia in the book – A New Deal for Asia vividly. Now it’s the turn to do a bit more for the world community – specifically the marginalized people to have a life worth of living, as grinding under the yoke of weak institutions and indifferent leaders.