Kit Siang does not want Mahathir’s Pribumi as a coalition member of Pakatan Harapan. If Pribumi joins Pakatan Harapan then the Chinese are going to punish DAP like they did in 1999 (which was why DAP left Barisan Alternatif in 2001 and faced the 2004 general election solo). Pribumi, on its own, however, cannot go far, especially with Muhyiddin’s sex scandal baggage. So the only way forward is for Pribumi to merge with PKR and join Pakatan Harapan through the back door.
CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave a talk at the University of London on 21st September 2016. You can view the one hour 20 minutes video recording of that talk below.
I have said this before and I will say it again: you must note not only what Mahathir says but what he does not say as well. What he does not say is more telling than what he says. And you have to look at Mahathir’s poker-face (Malays call it muka selamba) when he says something (or even when he says something else to what was asked). Mahathir can tell you an absolute untruth and appear like he is repeating the words of God.
Two thousand years ago Mahathir would probably be called a prophet and could start his own religion considering how convincing he can be at conning the panties of a prude and show you a white sheet of paper and convince you it is black. Mahathir has made his entire living by showing muka selamba when he preaches his innuendoes and double-speak. And it is because many Malaysians are morons that he can get away with it, even until today.
When Mahathir first launched his ANC (Anti-Najib Campaign), Lim Kit Siang and the rest of the DAP leaders were very excited. They fully-backed Mahathir and attended all his functions and events. Kit Siang’s and DAP’s enthusiasm was two-fold. First, Mahathir promised to save Kit Siang’s Boboi, Lim Guan Eng, from MACC (who were about to move in for the kill). Next, Mahathir promised that when he launches his new party, half of Umno and many of its leaders would leave Umno to join that new party.
Both did not happen. MACC moved in on Guan Eng and there was no exodus from Umno when Pribumi a.k.a. PPBM was launched. In fact, they are struggling to get even 10,000 members whereas even PAN, the breakaway party from PAS, could get about 20,000 members (in spite of someone like Mat Sabu, of all people, heading that party).
DAP has always been more concerned with the Chinese voters. When DAP joined up with PAS (plus PKN and PRM) in November 1999 to form Barisan Alternatif, the Chinese punished DAP (in fact, Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh lost their seats — which was a rude shock to DAP — all because they played footsie with PAS). While PAS won 27 seats, DAP won only ten. And DAP garnered only about 800,000 votes against the almost one million that PAS got.
Soon after that, on 21st September 2001, DAP left Barisan Alternatif and faced the 2004 general election solo, hoping to get back the Chinese support. They won just an additional two seats, not really worth the effort. But at least DAP won back the post of Opposition Leader in Parliament (which they lost in 1999 when Fadzil Mohd Noor, the President of PAS, became Opposition Leader).
So DAP is a very focused party, if that can be taken as a compliment. They are focused just on one thing: Chinese support. Everything else comes secondary, even federal power. And even if DAP just gets to rule Penang but has 90% Chinese support that is good enough. DAP knows that someone from DAP or a Chinese is never going to be Prime Minister anyway, even if the Federal Constitution of Malaysia is silent on the race, gender and religion of the Prime Minister.
And Lim Kit Siang knows that if Pribumi is allowed to join Pakatan Harapan then it is going to be history repeating itself. It will be back to the past — 1999 all over again when DAP got punished and its top leaders lost their seats. So it is suicidal for DAP to allow Pribumi to join Pakatan Harapan (not when Pribumi claims it is the new Umno or the replacement party to Umno).
If Pribumi is not part of Pakatan Harapan and it chooses to go solo it would die. With no members it cannot make it. In fact, Mahathir has done his groundwork and his intel tells him that even Muhyiddin Yassin is not going to win in Pagoh in the next election. What future is there for a party where even its President loses his seat that he has won the last few elections? That would be a death sentence for Pribumi, and by extension for Mahathir and his son, Mukhriz, as well.
Mahathir now realises he made two major mistakes (actually he made dozens of major mistakes but let us focus on just those two for the meantime). Mahathir made Muhyiddin the President of Pribumi and he announced in London in September that Muhyiddin is his designated Prime Minister if the opposition wins the next general election.
Now, first of all, when Mahathir announced that Muhyiddin will be Prime Minister if the opposition wins the next general election was he speaking on behalf of Pribumi or on behalf of Pakatan Harapan? Pribumi is not part of Pakatan Harapan and Mahathir is not authorised to speak on behalf of Pakatan Harapan. That immediately triggered an alarm in Pakatan Harapan that Mahathir is already trying to take control and decide what Pakatan Harapan should and should not do.
And Lim Kit Siang will always want to be the one to decide what Pakatan Harapan does and not allow someone else to take control while DAP just keeps silent and goes along with what someone else decides. Kit Siang’s super-inflated ego will just not allow himself to play second fiddle to anyone, especially not to Mahathir, of all people.
Mahathir has also been told that his announcement in London that Muhyiddin will be Prime Minister if the opposition wins the next election has seriously damaged Pribumi. Whether Mahathir forgot about Muhyiddin’s scandal of an affair with someone’s wife or he thought it was not that serious I really do not know. But there are two things that Malays can never forgive and which are seen as extremely serious crimes — sodomy and an affair with someone’s wife.
So Muhyiddin is seriously damaged goods. And Mahathir made two mistakes — first by making Muhyiddin the President of Pribumi and second by naming him Prime Minister designate. So now Pakatan Harapan does not want Pribumi while many Malays refuse to join the party. I mean even someone of low intellect such as Khairuddin Abu Hassan can see that Pribumi under Muhyiddin has no future, while Mahathir’s most loyal soldier, Ibrahim Ali, also refuses to touch Pribumi with a ten-foot pole. So what does that tell you about the confidence level for Pribumi, or in this case the lack of it?
Just to digress a bit, Muhyiddin said that what I am saying is not true. Which part about what I am saying is not rue? I have said many things, thousands of things. So precisely what is it that I said is not true? Be precise.
Is Muhyiddin saying that there is no Statutory Declaration naming him as the third party in Nika Gee’s divorce case? Is he saying he has not secretly married Nika Gee? Which one is not true? Be specific. Do not just make a general and sweeping statement. Mention clearly what is it that is not true. And while he is at it he should openly declare that he will defend his Pagoh seat in the next general election. Or is Muhyiddin going to run away to a safe seat knowing that he is going to lose in Pagoh?
So far Muhyiddin has never denied any of the allegations. And, more noticeable, neither has Mahathir. At least in Anwar Ibrahim’s case in 1998, in front of a huge crowd in Penang, Mahathir said all the allegations against Anwar were lies. And then, the next day, Mahathir sacked Anwar and said that he (Anwar) has been sodomising many boys and young men and that he (Mahathir) had known about it for years. In Muhyiddin’s case, however, Mahathir has remained silent — meaning that Mahathir knows Muhyiddin is guilty.
Mahathir chose to say nothing because he knows the damage is serious and permanent. So what more can he say that will not create even more damage? Mahathir also cannot remove Muhyiddin at this stage because that would be an admission that he made a bad mistake in putting Muhyiddin as Pribumi’s President. And Mahathir does not want to admit he made a huge mistake or be seen to be doing a u-turn.
So Pribumi is as good as a still-born baby while no one wants to touch the party with a ten-foot pole. Mahathir cannot sack Muhyiddin and replace him with a new President and neither can he close down the party (you do not change horses midstream). Like it or not, Mahathir is stuck with Pribumi and he needs to show he is moving forward and not backwards. Anything short of that would be Harakiri. And Mahathir really does not have the luxury of time to change horses midstream. He either makes it now or he has to just lie down and die. And lying down and dying is not an option if he wants to save his RM100 billion and build his political dynasty.
So what does Mahathir do? Pakatan Harapan does not want Pribumi. He cannot close down the party. He cannot replace Muhyiddin. The only way out with no great loss of face would be to seek a backdoor into Pakatan Harapan. That is the only and best damage control exercise that he can think of. And that backdoor would be through PKR. Pribumi will have to merge with PKR and that more or less means Pribumi, which is now merged with PKR, is a member of Pakatan Harapan.
But the new PKR-Pribumi entity cannot have two presidents (just like when PKN merged with PRM to create PKR in 2002, the PRM President had to step down). So, once Pribumi and PKR become one entry, Muhyiddin would retire and the PKR President becomes the leader of the new merged entity.
And that is why Mahathir has been trying to make amends and build bridges with Anwar and his family. Mahathir went to meet Anwar in court and said he has already buried the hatchet and so on. Mahathir even did a u-turn on naming Muhyiddin as the next Prime Minister and now says it is too early to name the next Prime Minister. In hardly a month it has changed from Muhyiddin for Prime Minister to no need to mention who is going to be the next Prime Minister.
Basically, if Pribumi fails (and currently it is failing) that would mean Mahathir fails as well. And if Mahathir fails then his legacy, the RM100 billion parked under trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies, and his children’s future, would all be ruined. Pribumi was supposed to frighten Najib, Umno and Barisan Nasional into submitting to Mahathir’s will. Now it is no threat whatsoever to Najib, Umno or Barisan Nasional.
It is crucial that Pribumi and PKR merge. Then Pribumi will still be in the game and will be seen as a serious threat to Najib, Umno and Barisan Nasional. If not then Pribumi would be just like another PAN, hot air with no bite. And currently, when Mahathir talks, he is talking on behalf of Mahathir and not on behalf of the entire opposition.
So Mahathir is working something out with Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali. They are hammering out a win-win solution whereby both Mahathir and Azmin will benefit. But then, as they say, one man’s win is another man’s loss. So while Mahathir and Azmin will win, who are going to be the losers? Well, that is another story for another time — so stay tuned. Just be assured of one thing, though, we have not heard the last from Mahathir and as long as he is still breathing he will still keep kicking, until he kicks it, of course.
Mahathir’s hope is that once it is announced that Pribumi is going to merge with PKR, Najib will panic and will call Mahathir for a pow-wow. Mahathir will promise that he will stop attacking Najib and will stop calling for his resignation but Mukhriz would have to be made Finance Minister. Finance Minister is even more powerful than Deputy Prime Minister so technically that places Mukhriz as number two rather than number three. And Mahathir knows well enough that if Mukhriz is going to become Prime Minister it has to be through Umno and not through a lame duck Pribumi.
Then, from thereon, Mukhriz can be primed to take over from Najib as then next Prime Minister. And at the same time Mahathir’s trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies will not mess around with the RM100 billion they are holding, knowing that they are now dealing with the father of Malaysia’s next Prime Minister.
Muhyiddin knows that Mahathir is going to throw him under the bus, which is why he has been making a number of statements as of late. But then Mahathir has thrown so many other people under the bus who are no longer of any use to him — Musa Hitam, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Ghafar Baba, Anwar Ibrahim, just to name a few. So who is Muhyiddin? Mere damaged goods who is an albatross around Mahathir’s neck.