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Mahathir's birthday wishes and likely successors

  • Anwar may not wait forever, and his people are already getting very impatient.

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

MAHATHIR CELEBRATED HIS 94th birthday recently and he appears more cheerful today than last year.

You may still remember that when Mahathir took over the PM post last year, he was not actually in tip top conditions, physically or in mental state.

He was waiting half a day at the Istana, looking pale and frail, his hand trembling when signing the appointment document.

His physical state was not any better in the following months, having flu and at times needing some support while walking, not to mention his slurred speeches.

Mysteriously he not only survived his first year in office, and has indeed become more energised than ever.

Despite tonnes of criticisms hurled at him and his PH government, Mahathir is getting tougher today.

His schedule was packed on his birthday on 10 July, attending the Dewan Rakyat sitting, officiating events, meeting visitors and chairing meetings.

Birthday wishes showered on him inside the Parliament auditorium, and birthday song was sung at the subsequent press conference.

He looked absolutely delighted at the countless greetings hailing from across the nation.

On the following day, he was invited to Istana Negara to attend a special birthday party the King had prepared for him, plus a DKM (Darjah Yang Maha Utama Kerabat Diraja Malaysia) title -- normally awarded only to the Rulers – as a birthday gift.

The warm reception at the Palace today is a stark difference from his lukewarm reception last May.

And today, the prime minister is at his best, both physically and mentally.

His birthday wish is to lead the country towards full recovery.

To be honest, to fulfil this wish takes a lot more than just a few months or one year.

Merely days ago, he ambitiously pushed for greater Malay unity, urging Umno and PAS to join his party PPBM. This initiative is a mammoth political engineering itself!

Mahathir is prepared to take much longer time to fulfil his two birthday wishes.

People who want him to automatically relinquish his post very soon, be they his political allies or rivals, are bound to be disappointed.

He and PH alliance claimed that he would only be interim PM of two years.

If things go by this timeline, he will only be in office for not more than ten more months.

Mukhriz and Azmin, people closest to him, have said two years is only a suggestion, not a written or verbal agreement.

THE FACT AZMIN is still plagued by the sex video scandal has perhaps strengthened the prime minister's determination to stay in office longer.

Looking around the prime minister, it doesn't seem he has a better candidate anywhere.

When Mukhriz Mahathir told Nikkei Asian Review he was willing to take up the responsibility if entrusted with the post of prime minister some day, he was generally greeted with disdain.

While Mahathir may want to groom his son for the top post, Mukhriz himself must have the competency to go with it in the first place.

PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin could be another option, but this gentleman seems to move closer to Anwar than Mahathir now, and is seen as a very likely DPM choice of Anwar.

Without an ideal candidate to take over his post, Mahathir has to force himself to stay on for as long as possible.

But, Anwar may not wait forever, and his people are already getting very impatient.

Anwar feels that the he must be given at least two and a half to three years to implement the reforms and establish his own worth before he can lead the ruling coalition to fight the next election war.

The longer Mahathir stays, the more unfavourable the situation will get for Anwar and his PH team in the face of GE15.

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