Tun Dr. Mahathir out to check PM ‘Flip-Flop’ Abdullah and Anwar

Che Det out to check Anwar and Abdullah


TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad made the historical announcement that he is quitting Umno in front of supporters affiliated with diverse political parties.

It was a strategic move, in line with his objective to drive home the message on the importance of Malay unity to protect the interest of the future generation.

The crowd cheered when Dr Mahathir took a dare (from PAS Jerlun Area deputy president Ismail Wan Teh), and announced he is quitting the party.

Some gave him a standing ovation after listening to an hour-long talk on “Position of Malays After the 12th General Election” at Star City Hotel in Alor Star on May 19.

They appeared to understand the rational behind Dr Mahathir’s drastic action. The event organised by the Kedah Malay Assembly Hall (KMAH) attracted more than 1,500 people from various political parties and non-government organisations.

Dr Mahathir said apolitical bodies like KMAH could provide a platform to unite the Malays, and act as pressure group for the Malays.

“Unity has always been our strength,’’ he said.

If the Malays did not unite under Umno in 1946, they would not have gained the strength to resist Malayan Union during the British occupation. Dr Mahathir said the present generation has benefited from the struggles of the previous generation.

“If we support a leader who could ruin our race, the future generation will condemn us for making them victims,’’ he said.

Dr Mahathir said the time has come to take drastic action, like quitting the party en masse to force Umno president Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi to step down.

The impact of Dr Mahathir’s decision to quit was so great that it virtually shook the nation and Umno.

Even Dr Mahathir’s family members were caught by surprise.

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir said even his mother Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali had no idea his father would resort to such drastic measure that day.

Mukhriz said Dr Mahathir has a knack for springing a surprise even on the family when he makes drastic moves in politics.

“It caught us (the family members) by surprise when my father announced that he is resigning as the Prime Minister and party president in 2002 (Dr Mahathir handed over the mantle to his hand-picked successor Abdullah in 2003),’’ he said.

Ismail, the PAS man who dared Dr Mahathir to quit, doubted that the former premier made an impromptu decision to quit. “We can see it coming in his speech. I merely prodded him to say what is on his mind. He has explained at length during the speech on actions that need to be taken,’’ he said.

Some Umno leaders, however, did not respond kindly as they felt that Dr Mahathir’s action would actually split and weaken Umno especially as he has asked other members to follow suit to send a strong message to Abdullah. Many could not “read” what Dr Mahathir is up to.

They are under the impression that Dr Mahathir is out to ruin Umno out of frustration because his attempts to pressure Abdullah to step down has failed.

It is learnt that some MPs who are contemplating to cross-over to Pakatan Rakyat would use the Mahathir factor as an excuse to convince their constituents that they need to jump ship as even the former premier had lost confidence in Abdullah.

Universiti Utara Malaysia political lecturer Prof Dr Mohamed Mustafa Ishak said it is high time Umno check the “yes man” culture. He said it has reached a point where the leaders are seen as hypocrites.

“In front of Abdullah they (the leaders) tell him they support him, but behind him they say nasty things,’’ he said. Prof Mohamed Mustafa believes Dr Mahathir is resorting to drastic action to save Umno, and not ruin it.

“It is widely reported that Pakatan Rakyat de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is aggressively wooing Barisan MPs to cross over. Anwar may make a strategic move in July when Umno is at the weakest, as members’ attention would be focused on branch elections. It would be disastrous for Umno if snap parliamentary elections had to be called during that period as the members would be divided because of party elections. Dr Mahathir probably saw it coming, and felt the need to jolt Umno leaders to reality, and act fast to prevent a political coup,’’ he said.

Prof Mohamed Mustafa believes Dr Mahathir is making tactical moves to save the party, as he had advised those who quit Umno not to join the opposition. Dr Mahathir is probably calling the shots to check Anwar from toppling the Barisan Nasional government.

Anwar was recently quoted as saying that a no confidence vote against Prime Minister Abdullah was the best option to topple the ruling party.
Despite Anwar openly stating his intention to topple the Barisan government, Abdullah is not seen as implementing effective strategies to stop Anwar from staging a political coup.

Some observers say asking members to quit would make the party weaker, not stronger.

But, if it can be compared to a chess game, Dr Mahathir is actually making tactical moves to check Anwar who is trying to “check mate” the Barisan government. Dr Mahathir has effectively removed some of the “pawns” on the Barisan side by asking members to quit, with the hope that the “knights” and “bishops” (as in the leaders) would make tactical moves to strengthen the fort.

But unfortunately the knights and bishops appear to be making moves only to protect the “king” (the leader).

Dr Mahathir is now leaving it to the “pawns” (grass root members) to check Pakatan Rakyat’s advances.

There is strong speculation that Anwar may be able to “check-mate” the Barisan government in a matter of weeks. It remains to be seen if Dr Mahathir, who is popularly known as Che Det succeeds in his attempt in summoning the grass roots to oust Abdullah and “check-mate” Anwar.

Published in: on June 4, 2008 at 00:30  Comments (12)