I am perplexed by the amount of time spent by those who, whilst they appear to want UMNO-Barisan Nasional to lose the election, never stop talking about the “bad things” done by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during his tenure.

These “Mahathir-haters” will remain unsatisfied no matter what your explanation is, so why bother? Online news portals still ask many questions about his suitability to lead Pakatan Harapan, as if they have a better candidate.

I suggest that we stop talking about him and focus instead on what we need to do to win. The game has started and it’s too late to change the captain on the field.

One of the few things we can do to make the difference between winning and losing is to ensure that civil servants who have been newly classified as postal voters (without much protest from Pakatan Harapan leaders, by the way)—such as firemen, emergency services personnel, medical staff and others—cast their votes under the watchful eye of election volunteers working for the Opposition.

By adding more civil servants to the list of eligible postal voters, the Election Commission has again given a great advantage to UMNO-BN. Everything must be done to reduce this advantage in postal voting, and we must also do everything we can to have the voting process properly scrutinised. This will be more useful than talking about Tun Dr Mahathir’s past.

I also happen to agree with Datuk Ibrahim Ali (and that’s very rare), namely that the seats allotted to Bersatu are difficult seats. A fresh look at the seat allocation is necessary. To me, PKR looks like a stumbling block to a unified position for the Pakatan Harapan team, even with regard to choice of captain, despite the fact that the whistle has been blown.

I still think that ignoring Selangor PKR makes sense, and this will allow the other three parties in Pakatan Harapan to have other options on seat allocation.

Just consider Tun Dr Mahathir having to choose (as reported) Langkawi, Putrajaya or Kubang Pasu. These are not the constituencies that can give Pakatan Harapan any certainty of having him as their Prime Minister, unless they are not very concerned about his chance of winning in the first place.

In Kubang Pasu, UMNO delegates have had no qualms abandoning Tun Dr Mahathir who, as a former UMNO President, only wanted to be a delegate at the UMNO General Assembly in 2006. He was defeated. Do you think that, with sufficient “incentives”, these UMNO warriors will have any problem abandoning him again? This is one of the many examples of “Melayu mudah lupa”.

As for Putrajaya, do you think that civil servants and teachers, who have no shame donning UMNO shirts and colours and singing UMNO songs—and who have promised to work for UMNO in this election—will suddenly become “Hang Jebats” who care about truth and justice?

When former Attorney-General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail, the MACC top brass and senior Special Branch officers were booted out in that infamous Sunday “clean-up”, there was not a whimper of protest from the civil servants. What does that tell you about them? Will they suddenly have some newfound courage to correct past injustices in the coming election? It’s unlikely, in my view.

If Pakatan Harapan leaders aren’t bothered about the risks to Tun Dr Mahathir, then I say to them that they are selfish, and selfishness will not bring victory. They should have allotted safer seats to those leaders they want to lead the country, regardless of which party that person belongs to.

I see Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as a magnanimous and credible leader of the Opposition who must be protected. A safer seat than Pagoh will give him much time to go around the country. He might win Pagoh easily for all I know, but because of the history of UMNO Malays, we cannot take that for granted.

“What history?” you ask. Do you remember when Tun Ghafar Baba lost the nomination as UMNO Deputy President to the mighty Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim? Soon after that, he visited Kota Bharu, Kelantan. After Friday prayers, he was alone in the mosque with only a few friends around him. Others just ignored him. It was a pitiful sight. He muttered to me, softly: “Friends in UMNO don’t last long.”

The other three parties in Pakatan Harapan must safeguard Tun Dr Mahathir and Tan Sri Muhyiddin, as well as Dr Mohd Hatta Ramli and Amanah leaders. Pakatan Harapan must allocate them seats that are more winnable—there are no easy seats but some are more winnable than others.

Agreeing on the number of seats each party can contest doesn’t amount to much, but we must agree to sacrifice some “safe seats” so that leaders of the team in the battle against Datuk Seri Najib Razak will have a fighting chance to make the battle count for something.

I don’t believe that the parties in Pakatan Harapan are so generous as to even consider my views, but since I have completed this piece, I will post it anyway.