The latest episode of Malaysia’s political drama is just a re-run of what happened in 1998, said veteran newsman A Kadir Jasin.
He said this was not the first time Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had abandoned PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
“Time has passed and we’ve grown older. But the political drama plot is still the same.
“Zahid promised, swore loyalty until death. Anwar believed, smiled happily but in the end was disappointed,” Kadir said in a Facebook post.
He was commenting on Zahid’s move yesterday to reaffirm support for Perikatan Nasional (PN), just a week after Umno threatened to withdraw support.
This was amid rife speculation that Zahid and other Umno MPs were backing Anwar’s bid to become prime minister.
Zahid was a staunch supporter of Anwar when both men were in Umno.
In 1998 during the Reformasi political crisis, Zahid was arrested under the Internal Security Act, just a day after Anwar.
Zahid – then the Umno youth chief – was released after 11 days, and switched sides, which Kadir attributed to a grilling from then prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“When he was ‘interviewed’ by Mahathir, the gist of which was choosing between loyalty, and wealth and power, Zahid chose the second option,” Kadir said.
Despite this past betrayal, Kadir said Anwar again believed that he had the support of Zahid, as well as former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak.
A letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to voice support for the opposition president which was allegedly signed by Zahid and Najib went viral last week. Zahid’s office, however, denied that it was real.
Kadir said if Anwar, Zahid, and Najib became allies they would have many enemies, including Pakatan Harapan leaders uncomfortable with cooperating with the two Umno figures accused of corruption.
He added that the trio also forgot that even though Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is weak in Parliament, the latter still had executive power.
“Word is, Muhyiddin and his followers gave a reminder to Zahid regarding the executive power that is in their hands.
“Thus, again like in 1998, Zahid made a U-turn (this time) using the excuse of helping to fight Covid-19 and economic problems faced by the country and the people,” he said.
According to Kadir, the million-dollar question now is – what will be Anwar’s next move?
PKR yesterday said it respected Umno’s decision but will continue its efforts to “restore the people’s mandate”. – Malaysiakini