The Doctor gets some recognition

Yesterday Dr Mahathir Mohamad officially opened the Lotus Racing factory in Norfolk. It was right that it should be him to do this as it was he who laid the groundwork for the team. Fourteen years ago I interviewed Dr Mahathir when he visited Estoril (see Dr Mahathir Interview) and he explained his plans for his country.

“We are studying what is there so that we can learn from racing and from the engines which they develop for racing,” he said. “There is no timescale. I think we need to upgrade our skills in engineering. We have a car industry in Malaysia but we are dependent on others at the moment. We would like to have some capability of our own.”

Fourteen years on, Mahathir’s dream of a Multimedia Super Corridor from the Petronas Towers to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport is nearly completed. The Sepang International Circuit is still developing but it is an established venue. The country now has its own Formula 1 team.

“I came here because I did not believe that they could get the car ready in time so I challenged them,” Mahathir said. “You get your car ready and I will come to visit, so they got their car ready. So I lost my bet.. fortunately no money involved,” he said.

Team principal Tony Fernandes, one of the kind of entrepreneurs that Mahathir was trying to encourage with his ideas, said the following about the new team.

“I have great people. The energy, the innovation is something that money can’t buy so I’m not too worried about it. Of course we would like to have big sponsors who could give us a large cheque and we can be more competitive but that doesn’t happen and we will make do with what we have.”

This is how to go Formula 1 racing. Deliver and you will be respected.

21 thoughts on “The Doctor gets some recognition

  1. There is only one person you can refer to as “The Doctor” and its Valentino Rossi. I am sure I am not the only person mislead when clicking on this article not to find Rossi content.

    1. Michael,

      Sorry, but apparently there is a bigger world out there than motorsport and from time to time I am a member of that as well. I think it helps to give one a proper perspective.
      I believe that Dr Mahathir is referred to as The Doctor in Malaysia.

  2. yes Mahathir bin Mohamad does need to be recognized, he needs a bright light shone on him …

    “The Jews for example are not merely hook-nosed, but understand money instinctively”
    ” [Jews] had always been a problem in European countries. They had to be confined to ghettos and periodically massacred. But still they remained, they thrived and they held whole governments to ransom…Even after their massacre by the Nazis of Germany, they survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world”

    (more: )

    he called for an islamic boycott of the Netherlands over the release of the film ‘Fitna’.
    free expression, free speech, aren’t journalists supposed to act in the defence of such notions, not pander to the would-be censors.

    i feel you’ve misjudged this one and badly.
    i’d much prefer you spending your time investigating the charges of corruption, and bigotry of reptiles like this – not writing-up puff pieces for their dubious and self-serving financial enterprises.

    i appreciate formula1 sets a real low bar when it comes to ethics, brazenly parading itself in quasi-support of some very unpleasant and repressive regimes, just so long as the money is right.
    all manner of unpleasant individuals occupied or occupy positions of influence; maybe you’ve spent just a little too long in their company, too many long lunches, it has left you wilfully myopic.

    respect him, you are kidding me. if Lotus wasn’t sucking on the government welfare tit, if they had any self-respect, they wouldn’t have let him on the premises.

    as i type this last line, your advert for the Grand Prix Saboteurs has lined-up just to my right, the irony is tragic.

    1. Feynman,

      I am sure that different people have different opinions about how best to develop a country. I happen to think that he did a good job and I am not afraid to say it. I accept that he cut some corners with regard to Anwar but his achievements should nonetheless be recognised. Malaysia can at least be glad that he did not steal all the money as has happened in some of the neighbouring countries. He is not perfect but there are a lot worse.

  3. You defending the man reminds me of Bernie defending Hitler… “sure he was a bad man, but he had his good qualities..”

    This thread is now Godwin’ed.

    1. MikaPup,

      I do not dismiss his anti-semitism with ease. But perhaps you should think a little too, before shooting from the hip. Dr Mahathir’s anti-semitism is distasteful, but so too are many other things which have happened in this world. If we condemn on the one hand, we should remember on the other. We should not forget what was done at Deir Yassin, Sabra and Shatila. Nor should we forget the USS Liberty. At the end of the day, all extremism is ugly – be it Semite or Anti-Semite. It is the same story with Mahathir. He did many good things for Malaysia and he did some bad things. He made wise statements, he made unwise statements. As Asian leaders go, I would still argue that he was a benign influence. Compare his record to others in the region. One must make judgements based on ALL achievements not just on a few misplaced statements.

  4. Mahatir undoubtedly achieved great things for the country’s technological and industrial development, but his treatment of his potential successor Anwar was disgraceful, and set an unhappy precedent for what is nominally a democratic nation. The charges against Anwar (sodomy) are very widely believed to be entirely trumped-up, but got Anwar out of the way in prison so Mahatir could hand over power to his favoured successor – who is using the same charge against Anwar, now leader of the opposition, to again try to silence him.

    As Time Magaizne said on Feb 2 this year:

    On Tuesday, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a little more than a decade after he was arrested, beaten and jailed on sodomy charges, walked into a Kuala Lumpur courtroom to face the same charges once again. In August, the government charged the politician with sodomy for the second time in his career … [it] is punishable with up to 20 years in jail.

    “I don’t believe in this charge at all,” Aziz Maanan, a 36-year-old food vendor ….”They are all afraid of [Anwar] because if he wins and becomes Prime Minister, they will all end up in jail.”

    This and the anti-Semitic comments mentioned above should be taken into account in a balanced view of Mahatir’s legacy, IMHO.

    1. Hello Canehan, (Nice place),

      I think that Dr Mahathir’s treatment of Anwar was more to do with controlling more radical elements of Islam in Malaysia than anything else. If we are looking at Dr Mahathir one must also take into account his careful handling of religion. This was not just a national issue but part of the geo-political landscape at the time.

  5. Only one person can be referred to as The Doctor (or ten, depending on your POV), and he returns to BBC One at around the same time as F1 begins again, coincidentally…

  6. No, you are right Joe, I was wrong.

    Just as long as he got the trains running on time, that is the only thing that matters.

    I am not going to get into a big deal here, ‘cos nothing is more ridiculous than two grown-men arguing on the internet, but you have disgraced yourself here.

    A stomach-churning demonstration of the nietzschean-compact in action, the submissive compliant apologist, willing to excuse, and self-delude, to facilitate those with a will to power.
    Whilst superficially post-modern in its flaccid and artificial moral-relativism, your shocking non-condemnation actually reeks more of old-fashioned early twentieth-century appeasement; your beaming pride in the corporatist achievements of the benevolent authoritarian, your ethical flexibility on issues of genuine substance and import.

    What kind of mitigation is your response even supposed to be. The lesser of two evils … is still evil. Just because the line is blurry, there is still a line, there is still right and wrong.

    I can barely imagine similar non-judgemental blog-reportage should McLaren or Williams take leave of their senses and invite Nick Griffin and the BNP to open their new car factory.

    Bin Mohammad is a vile, corrupt, intolerant bigot; with a 40year track record of trafficking in crude identity politics. There is no scope for equivocation here. None. Those that attempt it deserve nothing but our contempt.

  7. Oh look what he did, he used loads of right big words – that must mean he’s right clever, and so must be correct. Anyone able to wax-philosophical like that must be right.

    Or not – you make yourself sound like an egotistical philosophy under-grad.

    I’m not saying which side of the fence I sit on here – that’s not relevant. What is relevant is that Joe gave a rational and clear show of his perspective on this. A blogger doesn’t need to do that, they can hide – but Joe gave his. You may disagree, any of us may disagree. But it was a valid point of view.

    To attempt to win an argument by proving how many big words you know is even lower than mindlessly parrotting, ‘Hitler was alright to his mates’. You clearly have a skewed opinion of this anyway and have determined that only your own point of view should ever be correct.

  8. “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue”

    “One that confounds good and evil is an enemy to the good”

    Being ‘moderate’ Joe has nothing to do with being a bagman for a bigot, there is no merit there, you merely take your place alongside all the other equivocators and enablers.
    All much too convenient by-half, to employ the calculus of modest even-handed temperance as weak cover for moral cowardice.

    What are the limits to your much vaunted moderation? Let us assume there are some, at some point, even you would need to take a position. And then what, you contradict yourself.

    If you can rationalise what he has thus far said and done, the question is what would bin Mohammad, or his like, have to say or do before even you flinched. Or is there nothing that would repel you, are you really that taken by some oil-funded skyscrapers and tatty science parks?

    (I am curious, what compelled you to attempt to use Israel as your defence, where did that come from? If you wrote a banal puff-piece lauding a racist, and I objected, would your response be ‘yeah, but what about Rwanda’. It makes zero sense, it is bizarre, but it is somewhat revealing that that is where your mind immediately went).

    I am mainly angry with myself … i just a couple of days ago defended Joe against all manner of criticism, i said no he’s OK, and then this garbage, and much worse, the subsequent nauseating and obsequious rationale offered-up. Live and learn i s’pose.

    Chris, your trite and supercilious ad-hominem was not worth your time or effort. You should concentrate more on the serious issue at hand, not on anyone’s manner of articulation. It looks cheap, and is unconvincing. The veracity of an argument is nothing to do with vocabulary, we don’t take our ethics by counting letters.

    He did not give a valid point of view, he gave a point of view, the validity or otherwise is the active subject of this discussion. You seem to confuse ‘everyone has the right to an opinion’ with the notion that therefore all opinions are all equally correct. That is clearly illogical nonsense.

    Joe attempted to throw a lot of sand in people’s eyes, and trick the credulous or the innocently uninformed about the unpleasant nature of a corrupt bigot. By sweeping under the carpet the true unsavoury character of the man, he attempted to put one over on you. With his thumb on the journalistic scales, he tried to take advantage of his readership.
    Contrary to what you insist, your thoughts on the wretched intolerance of an old-fashioned race-hustler, playing gutter-level identity politics for gain, is pretty much the only thing that is relevant here. You are not allowed to hide under the covers on this one.

    And no-one mentioned Hitler, the trains thing was Mussolini … perhaps crack open a history book now and again, see where pandering to intolerant collectivists of all stripes inevitably gets us.

    1. Feynman,

      I sit back in awe at your reactions. I merely pointed out some of the good things that Dr Mahathir did for Malaysia and I am now assaulted with a stream of pseudo-intellectual insults which seem to suggest that I am some kind of an extremist which, assuredly, I am not. Your posts have become increasingly extreme and are now verging on the hysterical, as far as I am concerned. I am fascinated by your belief that you are the right person to define what liberty is, and how best it should be achieved. And your belief that only you know what is right and what is wrong. You condemn intolerance and yet you are intolerant of all but what you deem to be tolerable. You have said your piece. I have given you a voice. You have gone too far. It stops here.

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