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Mahathir's ultimate motive

  • Lest we forget, Mahathir has always remained the protector of the Malays' rights, and he will do anything to get what he wants. The plurality of this nation hardly falls within his scope of consideration.

By James Chai

As ordinary citizens, we may have very little idea of what is taking place behind the apparent political scene.

If political motives can be so easily deciphered by outsiders, then Sun Tzu wouldn't have penned the immortal Art of War.

But, if we subscribe to the stereotyped impression that many go into politics to gain status and power in the country, then Mahathir's invitation extended to Umno and PAS for cooperation, even to incorporate Amanah into PPBM and make his own party the ultimate Malay party for the country, then it couldn't have been more rational and justified.

If we can't see the political motive, or realise that increasing parliamentary seats is an urgent task now, then we will view Mahathir's invitation from a different perspective.

We may have believed that PH under Mahathir's leadership will be devoted to a more liberal, fair and peaceful nation. PH's election manifesto has touched on the alliance's desire to reverse many of the country's unfair policies and to close up racial gaps. As a result, they assured us that the nation would be more accommodating and diverse.

This makes the prime minister's claim to strengthen the Malay party rather self-contradictory.

PH parties have been uneasy over this with the exception of Amanah which backs the prime minister.

Given the fact that what the PM does is a stark contrast to what the PH coalition has promised the voters, DAP and PKR believe the ultimate motive of Mahathir trying to rope in more lawmakers is to eventually supersede DAP and PKR to become the most dominant component in the ruling coalition.

Mahathir is well aware of the fact that if he wants to have the biggest say in the game, he will need to have the support of most parliamentarians.

If Pakatan Harapan had not accorded so much power to Mahathir, PPBM would not have had so many ministers and deputy ministers. And if not because of the unusual arrangement within PH, the prime minster's post would not have gone to the smallest party in the coalition.

To strengthen its hold to power, PPBM needs to secure the support of Umno and PAS.

After failing to reach a consensus with parties in East Malaysia, Mahathir now has to get people in Umno and PAS to join PPBM and Amanah.

PAS is well aware that the party lacks resources to run the states of Kelantan and Terengganu. As such, if Mahathir promises additional annual allocations, they may consider joining PPBM or at least assure him of their support.

The unexpected part is actually Umno, which many feel should have the closest ties with PPBM but it turns out to be the most difficult target.

To be honest, you can only force their submission. The more charges slapped on them, the more they will feel obliged to submit themselves.

After Najib and Ahmad Zahid have openly defied Mahathir, the PM knows his tactic won't work. So he puts forward in front of the media his Malay unity idea, but by doing so, PH is ten steps backward in its quest for a more diverse and accommodating Malaysia.

You can say Mahathir is betraying the objective of the formation of Pakatan Harapan, and is walking down the same old path of Umno of yesteryear. Lest we forget, Mahathir has always remained the protector of the Malays' rights, and he will do anything to get what he wants. The plurality of this nation hardly falls within his scope of consideration.

(James Chai is a Think Tank Chief Researcher and Legal Advisor.)

 

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