Malaysian politics has witnessed numerous twists and turns over the past years with mentors and protégés turning on each other, adversaries becoming allies and allies becoming adversaries.
Anything is possible with this enigmatic politician. After all, UMNO Baru which Prime Minister Najib Razak inherited was created by Dr. Mahathir in 1987.
MAHATHIR THE NEXT AFTER MAT TAIB?
On September 17, Muhammad Muhammad Taib ( aka Mat Tyson) was the latest to make a political twist, his third since quitting UMNO.
From a PAS grasshopper elevated to an UMNO katak
After UMNO, the former Selangor Menteri Besar went to PAS and then later to PKR. Yesterday, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak announced that Muhammad, after seeing the light, had returned to UMNO.
An article published in PAS organ Harakah Daily stated it is possible that other former UMNO leaders, who are now in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), would return to UMNO as well.
In fact, the article said it would not be impossible for Bersatu chairperson Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself to return to UMNO.
“As it is known, Mahathir has served well in creating a mess in the opposition and at the same time has been able to give UMNO credit to hold (on to power) in GE14.
“It is clear this is an old script. In the end, the people are cheated with UMNO’s tricks and at the same time, issues like 1MDB, fuel price hikes, increase in cost of living and others will be confined to history when Mahathir returns to UMNO,” it stated.
Mahathir, 92, has denied that he would return to the party which he had helmed for more than two decades, claiming that UMNO is no longer the UMNO he believed in.
Meanwhile, the Harakah Daily article described Najib’s announcement regarding Muhammad’s return as an anti-climax to the hype which had been building up since morning.
Speculations were aplenty when news broke that the Prime Minister would make a special announcement and all UMNO leaders were ordered to be present, forcing Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi to cut his trip to Perlis short.
There were those who speculated that Najib would announce the dissolution of Parliament to pave the way for the next general election, or that some top gun from the opposition had switched camps.
However, the Prime Minister drew flak and ridicule when he announced Muhammad’s return, with detractors claiming that the latter did not warrant such fanfare.
Following this, new theories surfaced that Najib was supposed to announce something bigger but this did not materialise. Some have linked it to a possible coup of the opposition-helmed Selangor government.
The Harakah Daily article, on the other hand, claimed that the announcement was part of Najib’s attempt to divert public attention.
At the same time, it claimed, the move is to give the impression that former UMNO leaders have repented and come to understand that only UMNO can defend the Malays and Malaysia.
The article claimed that the move was aimed at diverting attention from the concerns arising from Najib’s disclosure that EPF and Khazanah Nasional would invest in the US.
“It is common knowledge that the people, especially workers contributing to EPF, are livid. They are worried if the investment would end up a liability like 1MDB.
“This is what Najib wanted to silence and did a ‘market test’ by announcing Muhammad’s return to UMNO,” it stated.