Fourth Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad slightly opened the mystery Pandora Box of political chaos by announcing in London that sacked Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd. Yassin is his choice for the next PM when his party and the Opposition managed to get their act together and win the GE.
The Star story:
Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Dr Mahathir tries to call the shots
BY JOCELINE TAN
TUN Dr Mahathir Mohamad has finally said it out loud – the Pakatan Harapan candidate for prime minister is likely to be Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
It was unclear how Muhyiddin feels about being named as the prime minister candidate for the Opposition coalition but it must have made his day because that is the dream of most politicians.
What was clear though is that he is not Pakatan’s choice because DAP publicity secretary Tony Pua immediately declared that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is still the coalition’s preference.
The PM candidate has long been a touchy topic for the Opposition and it looks like the struggle for the coveted job has begun even before the battle is won.
The endorsement of Muhyiddin, who is Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia president, came during a political talk by Dr Mahathir in London.
The former premier said what most people already suspected he had in mind. But what was shocking was his stand that the prime minister would have to consult his party and its chairman, who is none other than Dr Mahathir, on government policies.
He said this was to ensure that the prime minister does not make unilateral decisions.
It was quite bizarre and it basically meant that Dr Mahathir will be the de facto prime minister calling the shots from behind the scenes while his party will be some sort of secondary Cabinet vetting policy decisions.
It would also mean that Muhyiddin would be a lame duck prime minister who has to report to his party chairman.
It was little wonder that DAP’s Pua shot it down and it was quite amazing that Dr Mahathir’s sophisticated London audience took it all in without a murmur.
The politically correct answer would be that an important matter like this has to be decided by the Pakatan leadership.
Dr Mahathir did qualify himself by saying that the choice of Muhyiddin would depend on his party and also the coalition.
But the point is that his party is laying claim to the crown when it is not even an official member of Pakatan.
“My first instinct was that this man is into wishful thinking. He thinks he’s a supremo, the master puppeteer who has put Lim Kit Siang and Azmin Ali in his pocket,” said a Penang DAP politician.
Alternatively, said the same politician, Dr Mahathir might have been trying to give former deputy prime minister Muhyiddin a jab in the arm, to make him take the lead.
“Muhyiddin has been relying on Mahathir to take charge. By naming him as the PM-in-waiting, he could be telling Muhyiddin to wake up from slumberland and take a leading role,” said the politician.
The question of who will be prime minister has always been sensitive and contentious. In the run-up to the last general election, PAS had proposed its president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang over Anwar for the top job.
This time around, there is Selangor Mentri Besar and PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali waiting in the wings.
“If you put Azmin and Muhyiddin up there, people would place more hope on Azmin who is younger, more dynamic and has less baggage,” said the DAP politician.
The bottom line is that the Pakatan folk do not regard Muhyiddin, 69, as PM material.
Pakatan’s embrace of the ex-Umno leaders was on the assumption that they would bring in the Malay votes and help them gain access to the Malay hinterland.
They complain that instead of coming up with a strategy and plan on how to engage the hinterland Malays, Parti Pribumi is talking about who will be prime minister.
Some think Dr Mahathir is being disrespectful to the Pakatan leadership in jumping the gun.
But Dr Mahathir is just being Dr Mahathir, he does not need to kowtow to anyone. He probably believes that only he has the key to the gates of Putrajaya and he is doing Pakatan a favour by ganging up with them against Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
“He’s got to realise that the world has changed, his era is over and he’s no longer pulling the strings. His statement will cause more damage than move our programme forward,” said the same DAP politician.
There is also some disconnect with the political reality out there and the perception is that Dr Mahathir’s obsession to overthrow Najib is so overwhelming that it has affected his judgment and assessment.
But he is living in a bubble if he thinks that his new allies will put up with nonsense like having the prime minister report to him and his party.
Pakatan leaders are beginning to understand that Dr Mahathir can be an asset as well as a liability. He is also becoming somewhat of an embarrassment.
His name carries clout and he brings star power to the coalition but he also comes with loads of baggage. Everywhere he goes, he has to answer questions about his past.
Even his son Datuk Seri Mukhriz has not been spared. When Mukhriz announced that Parti Pribumi wanted a two-term limit for the prime minister, people thought he should be the last person talking about that given that his father stayed on for 22 years.
When Pakatan leaders hooked up with Dr Mahathir, they did not realise they were riding the tiger. Now, they cannot get off or else they may be mauled.
This puzzle was actually the tricky question left unanswered when some of us were invited to have a private engagement with the Man who lead the charge to topple Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi (it was our last!) on 10 April 2015.
Yesterday, after a full 18 months cycle and a dozen of failed stunts, Tun Dr. Mahathir made the pronouncement which has been seen is shoving it down the Opposition’s throat.
It has been expected that Pribumi Bersatu President Muhyiddin is to play the dunce-on-the-corner role (tunggul).
The mainstay of the new Opposition coalition would still be the Non Malays. In raw analysis, Muhyiddin’s appointment would be prickly issue because of his previous ultra Malay aura.
Even in London earlier last week, it was raised in passing about Muhyiddin’s infamous proclamation ‘I’m Malay first, Malaysian second’ and this alone would not augur well with a new political coalition alternative for Malaysia which is supposed to bring the agenda of reform, liberalisation and justice for all.
This announcement in London proven that the new Opposition coalition just like Barisan Alternatif, Barisan Rakyat, Pakatan Rakyat and Pakistan Harapan previously is unable to get their act together on the same platform, climbing the same wall for Malaysians with the exception of the desire to topple UMNO/BN.
Even when the Super Mighty Tun Dr Mahathir is onboard, this cannot be resolved because it is clear that majority of CWC members of DAP and key personalities within PKR are very sceptical of their former nemesis of over 50 years, to provide him the pleasure of being the ‘King Maker’.
This latest stunt warrants defacto PKR Leader Deputy President Dato’ Sri Azmin Mohamed Ali to distance himself further from Tun Dr. Mahathir.
The inpredictability of someone who many regard as ‘Master Strategist’ but actually showing signs of dementia on the evil side, is very worrying.
His speeches and ideas may still remain the guiding beacon of so many obtuse, blind loyalists and simpletons, without the consideration that it is actually incoherent if taken in its totality.
This proclamation itself is ‘Wayang’. Just like how Tun Dr Mahathir taken every Malaysians for a ride the past thirty five years.
Tun Dr. Mahathir-pronounced-future-Prime-Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin announces that a new Opposition pack would be formed by the end of the year.
Wednesday, 28 September 2016 | MYT 11:54 AM
Muhyiddin: Opposition to form new alliance by year-end
KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic) claims the Opposition expects to form a new alliance by the end of the year as more Umno members jump ship.
“The party faces declining support and many are not even sure whether Umno can survive the next elections,” the former deputy prime minister told Reuters on Tuesday.
The general election is due by the end of 2018, and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, speaking during a visit to Berlin, Germany, has ruled out bringing it forward.
Muhyiddin did not identify any potential Umno rebels during the first interview, Reuters reported.
He said many Umno leaders keen to join his new party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, are uncomfortable with the problems facing Umno.
A Malaysian government spokesman dismissed Muhyiddin’s statement as a ploy to revive his career.
“Muhyiddin has been claiming for over a year that Umno’s leaders, and indeed the Malaysian public, are about to desert the party,” the spokesman told Reuters.
“This has proven to be wishful thinking, with Barisan Nasional winning all three recent elections with landslides, and the party more united than ever.”
Pribumi is chaired by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
His son, former Kedah mentri besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir, is also a member.
Muhyiddin told Reuters that Opposition leaders realise they need to work together to avoid multi-cornered contests that could split the vote base at the general election.
“I would like to see this pact happen as soon as possible, before the year’s end,” he said.
The Opposition have been trying this so many times. Barisan Alternatif, Barisan Rakyat, Pakatan Rakyat, Gagasan Harapan and Pakatan Harapan, which nothing stick and needless to say, works.
The rakyat would expect to see a social development plan, on top of leadership for those vying for the rakyats’ vote and aspire to form the next government.
Pakatan Rakyat almost got the social development agenda plan out. At least, they attempted with the ‘Buku Jingga’, regardless how lame that is.
Forming an alliance and offering an insincere list of key leaders if they win in the next GE isn’t quite adequate to hoodwink the rakyat that the motley crew of ‘unholy-marriage-of-9in0convenience-between-backstabbing-strange-bedfellows’ is for real and bring out betterment for the nation.
The very least, the current Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak’s administration the past seven years managed to brought forth improvement in the midst of global challenges like raising the income per capita, standard of living for the majority and the same time reduce deficit in the annual budget.
Muhyiddin for example, hardly did well in his capacity as the Minister of Education. His successor Dato’ Sri Mahadzir Khalid made a lot of mark in the same capacity in just one year filling in Muhyiddin’s old job.
If rhetorics are still in the menu of the Opposition for the 14GE, the recent Sarawak PRN and the twin bi-elections is a good manifestation where the flavours of the silent majority are. This include the strategic voters aka Chinese.