Former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has been nominated for this year's Nobel Peace Prize this year, according to The Star and other reports earlier this week.
Four non-governmental organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina nominated the longest-serving Malaysian leader for the coveted prize for his leadership when Malaysia provided economic, political and humanitarian support to a Bosnia-Herzegovina recovering from the trauma of genocide and ethnic cleansing in the 1992-95 civil war. The other candidates include former US Vice-President Al Gore, Finnish peace broker Martti Ahtisaari and Chinese dissident Rebiya Kadeer.
In a nomination paper signed by Dr Ganic made available to The Star, Dr Mahathir was described as the Third World’s “most illustrious contemporary” and its “most courageous advocate.” Dr Mahathir, 81, who retired from public office in 2003, launched the Kuala Lumpur Initiative to Criminalise War in December 2005 and chairs the Perdana Global Peace Organisation.
Will Dr M join the illustrious club of peace laureates? I think he should although there are other deserving candidates as well.
Dr M is eminently qualified to clinch the Nobel Peace Prize. Apart from what he had done in Bosnia and Herzegovina, he has tried to broker peace in Myanmar and southern Thailand selflessly. He has been pushing the agenda of the Third World in a peaceful manner. He has preached the policy of 'prosper-thy-neighbour' and practised it. He has not been afraid to speak out against blatant injustice such as the unprovoked invasion of Iraq and the execution of its former president Saddam Hussein.
But I somehow think the odds will be against Dr M. Why? There could be many forces that will lobby against him (or lobby for others) simply because he's too outspoken and blunt for the liking of leaders of certain developed nations. For example, the United States, United Kingdom and Australia -- the axis that effectively invaded Iraq -- would probably root for former US Vice-President Al Gore.
The powerful Jewish lobby may work against Dr M as well. Dr M was unfairly accused of being anti-Jew when he spoke about the need for Muslims to emulate Jews in 2003. He was chastised by the Western world and the Jewish community when he said: "'The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."
But Dr M was merely advocating Muslims to counter Jews in a more effective manner, without resorting to violence. Read his original speech for proper context. Perhaps, one cannot even criticise anything linked to Jews or Israel. After all, it's amazing that historian David Irving was jailed for denying the existence of the Holocaust!
True, Dr M is not the most diplomatic person. He has the tendency to exaggerate to make a point. He is sarcastic. He can be combative. He is relentless. Nevertheless, he is a true Asian voice that is sorely needed in a world dominated by Western agenda. Others may say things in a more diplomatic manner but their actions tell a different story.
In the final analysis, I think Dr M has done more good than harm as an elder statesman in this world. And he has done more good as a peace broker than many pseudo doves.
I therefore hope the Norwegian peace committee will be truly impartial in picking the peace broker of 2007.
But Dr M will probably continue to speak his mind, with or without the Nobel Peace Prize.