Now this reminds me of the time when Rafidah Aziz broke the heel of her shoe while scrambling frantically on stage to ask Mahathir why he was stepping down.

Meryl Streep of course does it with more grace and poise – though the almost hysterical Rafidah should have received an Oscar for best performance in a “supporting” role in a long-running drama.

On a more serious note, Meryl received this award for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the film ‘Iron Lady’. I haven’t seen the film but from what I have read it tries to maintain some sense of neutrality.

In reality, though, Thatcher’s economic policies were anything but. She was fiercely anti-union and undermined the labour movement. Her Thatcherism policies, including privatisation and cuts to social security benefits, hurt large segments of society.

Not surprisingly, income inequality widened during the Thatcher years: the Gini coefficient for the UK soared from 0.25 in 1979 to 0.34 in 1990.

Her privatisation policy was enthusiastically copied by leaders of other nations who sold off state assets to cronies to set up monopolies, which then hiked tariffs.

Rafidah’s boss, Mahathir, followed suit despite outwardly coming up with his ‘Buy British last’ policy.

Today, not surprisingly, income inequality in Malaysia remains one of the highest in the region. And we are still paying the price for all those disastrous privatisations and other neoliberal policies.

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