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Friday, February 28, 2020

A man who does not act with honour


It's very clear now that interim prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is not a man who acts with honour.
I had heard from insiders that he would step down after Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit even before he first announced it. Then he himself said several times that he would keep his promise of handing over the premiership to Anwar. These two bits of information prompted me to doggedly maintain the stand that he would do as he said. Until last week.

Now I see he probably wasn't counting on keeping that promise. I was foolish to have believed it.
I don't know for sure if he was directly involved in the recent coup to get rid of the Pakatan Harapan government and install a backdoor one, but I can guess that he certainly knew about it. And knowing about it, he should have done the honourable thing of stopping it before it got to crisis point. He should have protected his Harapan government.
After that, he should have also done the honourable thing of sticking with his Harapan allies instead or resigning and abandoning them to the wolves waiting and slobbering at the back door. By resigning, he let them all down.
Then when his allies asked him to come back to discuss salvaging the coalition, he refused.
Next thing you know he's talking about forming a unity government which would have got his Harapan allies in a tight spot because they could sense he would be bringing in new and old political foes to work with them. Why should they have to be subjected to such humiliation? Not only that, a unity government would have given him untrammelled power. Having known how he operated, how could they trust him again?
Determined to push it through, he went to see the Agong to get approval for his unity government proposal but was, by some accounts, unsuccessful. So he announced that a special sitting would be convened in Parliament on March 2 to let the MPs decide who would command the majority to be PM.
But this process is not in accordance with the Federal Constitution, as several legal experts have pointed out. So how could he have proposed it? Has he, perhaps, become nyanyuk?
Later, he revealed that Muhyiddin Yassin was being considered by Bersatu to be candidate for PM, and that he would be okay with that. He didn't dare say that he was actually the one who nominated Muhyiddin. But Bersatu supreme council member Redzuan Mohd Yusof let the cat out of the bag shortly after when he spoke to the media.
What a piece of work Mahathir is! He would not patch Harapan back, he would not accept PKR leader Anwar Ibrahim as candidate, and now he nominates Muhyiddin as PM!
Wan Azizah kept her promise
He even said that if he were PM, he would not have been able to work with Umno because of the crooks in it but Muhyiddin could because the latter was "lenient". If that's the case, how can it be okay for him to nominate Muhyiddin knowing that the latter would bring Umno into his government when he, Mahathir, himself could not agree with that in principle? What blooming logic is this? Aren't he and Muhyiddin from the same party?
You see now the duplicity in the things Mahathir does?
You see now that all this while he was probably reluctant to keep his promise to make way for Anwar to be the 8th prime minister?
But a promise is a promise. Any man who breaks a promise as serious as this is a man who does not have honour.
More than that, right after Harapan won GE14, the Agong then offered the PM position to Wan Azizah (being leader of the largest party) but she declined. She said she had promised that Mahathir would be PM and she intended to keep her promise. She is a woman of honour.
But does Mahathir show his appreciation for her gesture? Well, he has broken his own promise to her husband, what more is there to say?
I only have this to end with, though: As far as I'm concerned, Mahathir's legacy will henceforth be marked with shame.

KEE THUAN CHYE is the author of the bestselling book ‘The People's Victory’. - Mkini

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