Dubai Move to overthrow Anwar

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How Mahathir-Daim’s plan to splash RM750mil fails after money went missing.

Opposition Perikatan Nasional’s evil and treacherous plan was to see a change of the Anwar government before Christmas 2023. However, on Dec 22, Sarawak Chief Minister and GPS leader Abang Johari Openg met Anwar Ibrahim, assuring the prime minister that GPS was not interested in overthrowing the current federal government. The meeting in Putrajaya was a big deal.

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Putrajaya is where the Prime Minister’s Office is located. If indeed PM Anwar was on the brink of losing power, he would have flown across the South China Sea to Borneo to meet Abang Johari rather than the other way around. Remember how Anwar took a chartered flight to meet him back in June 2020 in an effort to rally support to become the 9th Prime Minister, only to be told to fly kite?

The next day after meeting Abang Johari, the prime minister told journalists that any plan to change the government would be impossible without support from Sarawak and Sabah. That’s because both Borneo states hold the golden key to forming the government. So, it’s not true that only the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) possessed the golden key.

The Nov 2022 General Election that produced a hung Parliament saw the Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan coalition working with nemesis-turned-ally Barisan Nasional to form a Unity Government. The master stroke had left Perikatan Nasional speechless as it never thought Pakatan and Barisan could work together. However, there were other permutations to form a government:

  1. Pakatan Harapan (82) + GPS (22) + GRS (6) + Warisan (3) = 113 seats
  2. Pakatan Harapan (82) + Barisan Nasional (30) = 112 seats
  3. Pakatan Harapan (82) + Barisan Nasional (30) + Warisan (3) = 115 seats
  4. Pakatan Harapan (82) + Barisan Nasional (30) + GPS (22) + GRS (6) = 140 seats
  5. Perikatan Nasional (73) + Barisan Nasional (30) + GPS (22) + GRS (6) = 131 seats

Sure, Barisan has become the kingmaker after the 15th General Election, without which neither Pakatan nor Perikatan can form a new government. But unlike Perikatan, Pakatan has another trump card which Perikatan doesn’t – the permutation with GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) and GRS (Gabungan Rakyat Sabah) along with former ally Warisan to form the government.

In short, Pakatan Harapan can work with either Barisan Nasional or the Borneo states to form a government with a simple majority in the 222-seat Parliament. However, the same cannot be said about Perikatan Nasional, the previous backdoor regime which must work with both Barisan Nasional and Sarawak. Perikatan and Barisan alone has only 104 MPs, short of eight MPs.

Abang Johari’s meeting with Anwar Ibrahim on Dec 22 essentially shuts the door to the desperate attempt of three former prime ministers plotting to topple the government – the “Dubai Move”. The new plot, which actually was an old unsuccessful move, was revealed by J-Kom (Community Communications Department), supposedly the communications arm of the government.

Apparently, the political coup to seize power again through the backdoor, orchestrated by Bersatu president Muhyiddin Yassin and PAS president Hadi Awang, was held in the capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Joining the bandwagon were two “Tuns” – former PM Tun Mahathir Mohamad and former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, along with another ex-premier Ismail Sabri.

The three ex-prime ministers – Mahathir, Muhyiddin, Ismail – agreed that UMNO traitor Hishammuddin Hussein would lead a mission to convince Sabah and Sarawak leaders to switch sides. Hishammuddin was responsible for instigating 10 Barisan Nasional MPs to support rival Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin as 10th Prime Minister but failed after UMNO president Zahid Hamidi pulled the plug.

PAS Islamist party deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man has confirmed that some big guns of the Opposition had indeed gathered and met in Dubai. Even before J-Kom’s revelation, supporters of Perikatan Nasional had started celebrating on social media about the coming backdoor government 2.0 with the belief that the brilliant “Dubai Move” was a done deal.

Exactly why were the opposition loyalists, who were fabulously dejected after the failure of various moves (from Jakarta Move to London Move), suddenly so cocksure that the Anwar-led Unity Government would finally collapse? That’s because the most corrupted, yet cash-rich and influential former leaders Mahathir and Daim, were splashing at least RM750 million to topple the Anwar administration.

After Muhyiddin’s failure to become the 10th Prime Minister post-15th General Election due to arrogance and ignorance, the crook’s RM600 billion Covid scandal during his 17-month illegitimate backdoor government (March 2020 – August 2021) was exposed. The stolen money was used by Bersatu and PAS to win 74 parliamentary seats in the Nov 2022 national polls.

Upon investigation, Bersatu accounts were frozen and seized by the MACC (Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission). Muhyiddin was charged with six counts of money laundering and corruption. His disgraced son-in-law, Adlan Berhan (whose cousin Adam Radlan was also arrested over his role as a “middleman” in brokering government projects related to Covid-19 stimulus packages worth RM92.5 billion in exchange for bribes) had fled the country.

Without funding from Bersatu, PAS Islamist party had to turn to Mahathir for help in the six state elections (June to August 2023). However, the results of the elections produce a stalemate. Both Pakatan Harapan and Perikatan Nasional managed to retain their respective three states. Worse, the so-called “green wave” did not reach Johor, reducing PAS influence to just northern conservative Malay states.

The multiple failures to overthrow Anwar Ibrahim, from trying to topple UMNO president Zahid to trying to seize Pakatan’s state governments, have forced the prime minister to move his chess piece against Mahathir’s biggest financier – Daim. Make no mistake, the old fox will never use his own fortune for obvious reasons. He always uses money from his proxies or bag carriers.

When Anwar Ibrahim took over the country, his pledge to crack down on corruption not only sent shivers down the spine of Muhyiddin but also the longest-serving premier – Mahathir, who along with his biggest financier and most trusted lieutenant, former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, had stolen and plundered national coffers to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars.

As the MACC started investigations on the 85-year-old Daim in relation to his secret offshore accounts exposed in the Pandora Papers, 98-year-old Mahathir was set to clash with protégé-turned-nemesis Anwar in court over allegations that the former had enriched his family during his 22 years iron-fist rule (1981-2003) that saw corruption, nepotism and cronyism flourished.

Like Mahathir, who served twice as prime minister (the second time lasted 22 months), Daim also served twice as finance minister (1984-1991 and 1999-2001). Daim was Mahathir’s most trusted sidekick, so much so the former prime minister recommended Daim for the “Tun” title – the highest honour in Malaysia – when he resigned as Finance Minister in March 1991.

More importantly, Tun Daim accumulated a massive wealth that he actually once owned a Swiss bank – ICB Banking Group – which operated approximately 222 branches and 130 ATMs worldwide. Under the banking group, it owned another 14 banks throughout Asia. In addition, he was reported to own at least RM65 billion worth of shares in the Malaysian stock market.

But it was not until Dec 18 when the MACC seized the 60-storey Menara Ilham owned by the family of Daim that all hell broke loose. The tower, built at an estimated cost of US$580 million (RM2.7 billion), is the crown jewel of Daim’s fortune. It was seized because he repetitively refused to entertain MACC’s petition to declare his and his family’s financial holdings.

Under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLA) and Section 41 of the MACC Act, not only the 274m-tall skyscraper can be seized for up to 18 months pending investigations, but it also allows other assets – both domestic and foreign – belonging to Daim and his family to be seized. This effectively cuts Mahathir’s access to funding to overthrow Anwar.

Daim has slammed the investigation against him and his family as a “witch-hunt”, claiming that he was clueless about the offence he was accused of. The juiciest part was the reaction from Tun Dr Mahathir, who sarcastically said everyone with the Tun title should be investigated and have their property seized if they failed to explain the source of their wealth. Why was Mahathir so concerned about Daim’s property?

Yes, Mahathir was incredibly mad and furious because not only Anwar is still the 10th Prime Minister post-Christmas, but he has lost access to funding after Daim’s assets were frozen. The hallucination of swearing in a new backdoor prime minister on Dec 31 vanished into thin air. If Anwar dares to seize Daim and his family’s assets, what is there to stop the PM from doing the same to Mahathir’s family?

Worse, “Plan B”, which was swiftly activated after the authorities pre-emptively froze Daim’s assets, had also gone haywire. Thanks to the Anti-Terrorism Financing Act, the initial plan to electronically transfer RM750 million to bribe MPs into declaring their “loss of confidence” in Anwar did not work. Raja Petra Kamarudin, the disgraced blogger-turn-fugitive currently in the UK, was then entrusted to bring RM750 million cash into the country.

The money was meant to bribe 15 UMNO MPs, including two lawmakers from Anwar’s own party – PKR (People’s Justice Party) – to defect, without triggering the anti-hopping law similar to how five Bersatu MPs pledged their support for Anwar. The biggest bribe was, of course, the prime ministership for GPS, the price that Mahathir, Daim and Muhyiddin, despite their reluctance, had to pay in order to save their skin.

Besides the post of prime minister, GPS was also offered 20% oil royalty. Alternatively, the RM750 million could also be used to buy 38 “Tier-2” MPs at the cost of RM20 million each, sufficient for Perikatan Nasional to form yet another backdoor government with a simple majority. In fact, Mahathir and Daim were so desperate they were willing to increase the amount just to get rid of Anwar.

Finance Twitter

RM750 million cash might look like a lot, but it’s only less than €150 million or £130 million, which can easily be smuggled using a private jet. Hilariously, the jet was intercepted in transit by a foreign intelligence service, believed to be the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). While Anwar in his capacity as premier has access to military intelligence, nothing beats the CIA, the specialist in terrorism financing.

True, Washington has censured Anwar for taking a hard line against Israel’s actions. But the US understood it was merely political rhetoric (Anwar has since refrained from praising the Hamas terrorist group after realizing his mistake). The US is more concerned about a pro-Iran regime like PAS taking over the country, potentially breeding Malaysia-Hezbollah or Hamas terrorists in the region.

That explains why pro-opposition Raja Petra, the owner of the Malaysia-Today portal, has started demonizing the US for funding Anwar’s political party. Crucially, the fact that “master strategist” Mahathir has gone bonkers, barking endlessly at the government, is the clearest proof that the Dubai Move had failed spectacularly. Still, the burning question remains – where is the RM750 million cash? – Finance Twitter