Principle is as rare as dinosaurs in the Malay’s latest politics.
Lim Kit Siang has stopped singing “Malaysian Malaysia” since the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government was toppled by Muhyiddin Yassin and Azmin Ali. Once an idealist, the “Sheraton coup” finally woke him up to the dirty reality of UMNO-Malay politics. Muhyiddin has shown that for lust of power, there’s no red line that he cannot and would not cross.
While Mahathir Mohamad has his reservation about working with a crook like former PM Najib Razak, Muhyiddin does not. The leaked one-minute audio recording of a voice resembling that of Muhyiddin suggested that UMNO leaders – including Najib – be tempted to join Bersatu with promises of positions has proven that principle is as rare as dinosaurs in the Malay’s latest politics.
Pakatan Harapan supporters have been bashing Lim’s Chinese-based DAP party and progressive Islamist party Amanah for choosing former PM Mahathir over PM-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim as the new prime minister in a plan to snatch back the government from Muhyiddin and Azmin. Do you really think a seasoned politician like Lim has gone mad overnight?
Do you think DAP didn’t realise the anger of Chinese voters for supporting Mahathir? Do you think DAP didn’t know that Mahathir cannot be trusted? Do you think the powerless and party-less Mahathir could easily hoodwink the entire top brains of DAP? Do you think DAP hadn’t figured out the risk of supporting Mahathir, with a snap election that could be called anytime?
If DAP and Amanah were corrupt and power-hungry, as many angry supporters have concluded, would it not be easier for both parties to crawl to Muhyiddin and join his backdoor government? If a lapdog MCA could get one minister and one deputy minister post despite having only two MPs, surely DAP (42 MPs) and Amanah (11 MPs) could easily get half a dozen ministryships.
After all, didn’t PKR chief whip Johari Abdul reveal that not only his boss Anwar met with PM Muhyiddin, but also Hamzah Zainuddin and practically every leader from the “other bloc” (referring to the backdoor Perikatan Nasional government) except crooked Najib Razak? So why didn’t the big happy family – DAP, Amanah and PKR – join the corrupt and evil regime?
It’s no-brainer that the desperate backdoor PM Muhyiddin would welcome DAP and Amanah with red carpet. How hard it is to create a dozen useless new ministries (on top of the already bloated 72 ministries) for the two power-hungry parties in exchange for 53 MPs, which would give the prime minister a super two-thirds majority and, in the same breath, allow him to rule until 2023?
Muhyiddin’s excuse to quit PH was that the coalition was seen as being dominated by DAP-Chinese. But that is no longer the case in the Malay-Muslim Perikatan Nasional coalition. So, is there one compelling reason why DAP and Amanah must shamelessly stick with an old man like Mahathir, who is left with only four loyalists? People love to mix with the winners and avoid losers.
For DAP and Amanah to willingly take the risk of getting bitten by Mahathir for the second time means there are some things which are not privy to the general public’s consumption. As explained by Kit Siang recently, DAP and Amanah have not “abandoned” their long-time ally PKR president Anwar. The first choice for the 9th Prime Minister was, and is still, Anwar.
But too bad Anwar was unable to secure support from either Sabah (9 MPs) and Sarawak (18 MPs). So, the next agreeable option was the Mahathir-Anwar combo, a proposal which was initially denied by Anwar’s boys only to be admitted by Anwar at a later stage after DAP said the dispute can easily be verified by referring to the minutes. Why was there a need to lie in the first place?
In the 2008 General Election, Pakatan Rakyat (predecessor of Pakatan Harapan) won 82 parliamentary seats. Back then, Islamist party PAS was part of the coalition. In the 2013 General Election, the same Pakatan Rakyat did slightly better by winning 89 seats. Again, PAS was their ally. After spending so much time and resources, the Opposition still failed to win the federal government.
In the recent 2018 General Election, PAS conspired with UMNO to create three-cornered contests which ultimately backfired. The mighty Barisan Nasional regime finally collapsed after 61 years. The new factor that had contributed to the success, whether you like it or not, was the alliance between Mahathir’s Bersatu (PPBM) with PKR, DAP and Amanah.
Even without friendly Sabah-Warisan’s nine seats, the Pakatan Harapan (Bersatu, PKR, DAP and Amanah) successfully grabbed 113 parliamentary seats, sufficient to form a simple-majority government. Can someone say for sure that without Mahathir, the Pakatan Harapan could topple the Barisan Nasional government anyway two years ago?
In 2018, there were mega issues like the 1MDB scandal and unpopular GST (goods and services tax) to be leveraged on. In the next election, what issues could Pakatan Harapan trumpet to rally the rural Malay voters? To add salt into injury, even urban Malays have been poisoned with the anti-DAP-Chinese sentiments fanned by UMNO and PAS over the last two years.
More importantly, even when the 1MDB scandal and GST bread-and-butter issue were presented to the Malay community in 2018, UMNO under the leadership of scandal-plagued Najib could still charm four million gullible Malay voters. PAS, despite its support for Najib, won two million hardcore votes. In the next election, PH will face UMNO-PAS’ combined six million supporters.
Do you know that Pakatan Harapan has never won more than six million popular votes in the past three general elections? Pakatan Rakyat / Harapan won 3.8 million popular votes in 2008 (under Wan Azizah), 5.6 million votes in 2013 (under Anwar Ibrahim) and 5.8 million votes in 2018 (under Mahathir Mohamad). So, do you think PH, let alone PKR, can beat the forces of UMNO-PAS?
You can throw celebrations and “syok sendiri (self-indulgent)” in the MalaysiaKini English section claiming Pakatan Harapan (or PKR) without Mahathir can win the next general election hands down. But the sentiment is exactly the opposite among the Malay community. The Malays on the ground, even among some well-educated urbanites, are ready to vote either UMNO or PAS.
For the last 20 years, Anwar has failed to sell the homemade cookie called “Reformasi” to the rural Malays. In fact, there was once when his campaign truck was attacked in the rural areas. Miraculously, not a single soul dared to disrespect Mahathir when the old man went to campaign in Felda settlements, known to be the epicentre of UMNO hardcore supporters.
Mahathir is a very angry and injured tiger. He must be given a purpose, without which he will be forced or pushed to rejoin the corrupt, racist and extremist alliance of Bersatu-UMNO-PAS. Imagine how powerful Perikatan Nasional will be if Mahathir joins them in the next 15th General Election. It’s better to keep him close to you than to lose him to the enemy, which is already very powerful.
The 94-year-old Mahathir is the No. 1 troublemaker. But this is precisely why he is useful to create havoc to the opponent’s side. More crucially, he can still pull strings to make the impossible possible. History has shown he can destroy as well as rebuild. Laugh at him as much as you like but try to ask some rural Malays today whether they will vote for Anwar or Mahathir.
It certainly didn’t help Anwar’s crusade to become a PM after a leaked voice recording of a voice resembling Muhyiddin, who said that the Agong (King) doesn’t like Anwar. It was already bad that Anwar could not win rural Malay voters. It gets worse that he could not win the support of Sabah and Sarawak. And it’s definitely worst for even the monarch to refuse to endorse him.
After Muhyiddin’s shock betrayal, anything is possible. Lim Kit Siang has learned what an idiot he had been all this while looking to create a paradise called “Malaysian Malaysia”. As long as the majority of the people vote along racial and religious lines, which will definitely happen in the next general election, it’s useless to continue screaming “Reformasi” for another 20 years.
One can be philosophical about the untrustworthiness and betrayal of Mahathir Mohamad, Muhyiddin Yassin, Azmin Ali, Najib Razak, Hamzah Zainudin and whatnot. But aren’t all of them the same? The simple fact that PKR had initially tried to lie that there was no second option (Mahathir-Anwar combo), only for Anwar to admit there was, speaks volume about the trustworthiness of the ally.
DAP and Amanah knew that instead of waiting for miracles to happen, they must explore options to first grab back the power given by the people. Even if Mahathir is to betray them in six months, there’s at least six months of hope. DAP and Amanah aren’t power-hungry. At worst, with limited choice, they just want to try again the winning formula of having Mahathir to swing rural Malay votes.
If one cannot accept the cooperation between DAP-Amanah and Mahathir together with Sabah Warisan, can he/she accept the cooperation between PKR and Muhyiddin and Azmin together with racist UMNO and extremist PAS? Sure, one can say they will never vote for DAP and Amanah again. Go ahead, vote for UMNO, Bersatu, PAS, MCA or MIC. What could possibly go wrong? – Finance Twitter