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The power game in Malay politics

  • Power-grabbing game is addictive, extremely exhaustive, and not the least beneficial to the nation.

Sin Chew Daily

Tun Mahathir has invited Malay political parties, including members of Umno, to join his PPBM, not so much for Malay unity but some other untold motives.

If he is really serious about Malay unity, he wouldn't have set up PPBM, and the PH government would not have approved the registration of PPBM.

The proliferation of Malay political parties will only benefit PPBM. When asked about the establishment of PPBM, Mahathir jokingly “encouraged” the setting up of more Malay parties, probably up to a hundred, as this will effectively divide the Malay society.

What Mahathir is more concerned about is that PPBM is not supported by majority of Malays.

In view of this, his “Malay unity” call could have been made out of several political reasons, one of which could be a counter-attack strategy against Umno-PAS' “Muslim grand unity” slogan aimed at winning the Malay votes.

It is therefore understandable that Mahathir may want to use the same old slogan to muster the support of the Malays to fight Umno-PAS.

Such strategy is no stranger to Mahathir!

During the September 29, 2001 Gerakan Rakyat national delegate conference, Mahathir proclaimed that Malaysia was already an Islamic state. He did this in response to PAS' Islamic state advocacy.

The announcement was made purely on political grounds and he did not seem to take into account possible consequences from such announcement.

Secondly, Mahathir might have the intention of dividing Umno and splitting the Umno-PAS tie-up.

Umno leaders were momentarily divided into “pro-Mahathir” and “pro-Anwar” camps shortly after GE14. Some of the pro-Mahathir MPs subsequently defected to PPBM.

When Ahmad Zahid went on leave, some of the elected reps unhappy with him opted to stay put, but the frustration returned as soon as Zahid staged his comeback.

Mahathir's invitation was warmly received by some in Umno, including former Youth chairman Khairy Jamaluddin, who was subsequently invited by PPBM Youth chief Syed Saddiq to join his party.

With all the powers in hand, PPBM's offer is indeed attractive to some Umno members.

The other Umno leaders instantly rebutted by saying they would never join PPBM, while PAS president Hadi Awang weirdly declined to offer a comment.

Hadi has lately attempted to win the favor of Mahathir and has rejected PKR's president Anwar Ibrahim from taking over the premiership.

It has also been speculated that by inviting Malay parties to join PPBM, Mahathir is trying to expand PPBM's representation in the Parliament to keep the PM post continually with the party.

Coincidentally, it has been rumored in the social media that PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin and Ahmad Zahid have signed a statutory declaration in support of Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister. Both leaders have since denied the claim.

Ahmad Zahid was not only forced to the wall during his “garden leave”, he even had his head pushed into the latrine. His resentment towards the PM is therefore understandable.

Muhyiddin, meanwhile, is said to be at loggerheads with Mahathir over the Johor MB incident, and hence, his presumed support for Anwar.

In the meantime, the sex video incident remains unresolved with no substantial outcome from police investigation, while Mahathir remains insistent in Azmin Ali's defence, raising the speculation that there might be unexpected changes to PH's succession agreement.

If we were to put all these isolated events together, it will not be hard to see that Anwar may be lobbying for support from his present or former allies, including Muhyiddin and Zahid, to secure his ascent to the pinnacle of power soonest.

Such speculation is nevertheless unconvincing given the fact Muhyiddin does not have the support of too many PPBM MPs for this move. Why should he risk his political career as he has nothing much to gain from supporting Anwar?

Speculations and guesses will go on so long as Mahathir has not finalized a handover deadline, putting everyone else in jitters.

Malay political leaders are still very much engrossed with the power game. For example, former PM Najib has been exploiting the syariah law issue with the motive of dividing PH.

Actually there are still many things Mahathir can do, including revoking Umno's registration, and it appears that he is destined to win every war he fights.

That said, such erratic and capricious moves and endless political calculations will only thin out the cohesiveness of PH and give rise to political instability.

Power-grabbing game is addictive, extremely exhaustive, and not the least beneficial to the nation.


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