In fact, Azmin is planning to challenge Dr Wan Azizah for the party presidency. Once he takes over as PKR’s President he will want to take over from Wan Azizah the post of Deputy Prime Minister as well. There is no way Azmin is going to allow that post to fall to Mukhriz when it ‘belongs’ to him. 

In the previous article, “Is Mahathir the interim PM or Wan Azizah the interim DPM?” (READ HERE), we said: Someone who used to be in Mahathir’s team of ‘Boffin Boys’ during the Team A/Team B days of the late 1980s once said, “With bomoh, you do not listen to what he says but ‘listen’ to what he does.”

To know Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, you must not look at what he does in any single period of time but over a long period of time — such as over his entire political career. Some say Mahathir is not consistent and can change from one era to another. Actually, that is not true. Mahathir is very consistent. The only thing is you are picking and choosing one event rather than analysing an entire series of events over, say, 50 years.

Take Mahathir’s ‘endorsement’ of Anwar Ibrahim as the next Prime Minister and his agreement that he would step aside and allow Anwar to take over once the latter receives a royal pardon, gets released from jail, contests and wins the by-election, and gets Pakatan Harapan’s unanimous agreement for him to become the coalition’s Prime Minister.

Granting of a royal pardon is the prerogative of DYMM the Agong

Of course, this is all contingent on first of all Pakatan Harapan winning the next general election, DYMM Yang di-Pertuan Agong agreeing to a pardon for Anwar, one of the PKR Members of Parliament agreeing to resign his or her seat, and Anwar winning the by-election. One of those four tak jadi and the entire deal is off.

Let us assume all this happens and since Mahathir has given his word that would mean even God Himself could not stop Anwar from becoming Prime Minister later this year. But then 20 years ago in 1998 that is precisely what happened.

Anwar went to meet Mahathir to complain that his enemies within Umno had published a book – 50 Dalil Kenapa Anwar Ibrahim Tidak Boleh Jadi PM – because they want to bring him down. Mahathir told Anwar not to worry about it. They are just jealous of you, said Mahathir. They know you are my successor and that I will soon step aside and let you take over as Prime Minister.

Not long after that Mahathir got rid of Anwar even after publicly announcing during the Merdeka Day celebration that the latter was his anointed successor. That was what Mahathir did 20 years ago in 1998 so why should it be different today?

Mahathir announced Anwar as his successor and a few days later sacked him and threw him into jail

In 1998 Anwar was a threat because Mahathir knew as soon as Anwar takes over he was going to go korekMahathir’s crimes since 1981 and make him pay for them. And that involves the crimes committed by Mahathir’s children as well. So, for the children’s sake, Mahathir could not afford for Anwar to take over. Even Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Ali shared this opinion.

And it is the same today. If Anwar takes over Mahathir’s children are not safe, even more so for Mukhriz. Mahathir wants to see Mukhriz as Prime Minister one day in the near future but if Anwar takes over as Prime Minister he is not going to allow Mukhriz to become Deputy Prime Minister let alone Prime Minister.

Can you visual Anwar sacking his own wife, Dr Wan Azizah Ismail, and replacing her with Mukhriz? Even if Anwar is prepared to sack Wan Azizah there are many in Pakatan Harapan, and even in PKR itself, who will want that post. Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali feels he is the best qualified person to become Prime Minister, or at least Deputy Prime Minister first, and he is not going to allow Anwar to appoint Mukhriz as the new Deputy Prime Minister.

Azmin will have to take on Wan Azizah for the party presidency if he wants to survive

In fact, Azmin is planning to challenge Dr Wan Azizah for the party presidency. Once he takes over as PKR’s President he will want to take over from Wan Azizah the post of Deputy Prime Minister as well. There is no way Azmin is going to allow that post to fall to Mukhriz when it ‘belongs’ to him.

According to the Federal Constitution of Malaysia, DYMM Yang di-Pertuan Agong shall appoint a Prime Minister who in His Majesty’s opinion commands the majority confidence of the House. That can be translated to mean the leader of the party with the most number of seats in Parliament.

The newly sworn-in Prime Minister then proposes his Cabinet to His Majesty. But the post of Deputy Prime Minister is not in this mandatory list. In other words, the Prime Minister does not need a Deputy. Or he can have three or five deputies. This is not mentioned in the Constitution and it is the prerogative of the Prime Minister to have none, one, or more than one.

Abdullah did not appoint a deputy because the Constitution does not require him to

So, whoever becomes the Prime Minister can do what Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi did on 1st November 2003. After taking over as Malaysia’s Fifth Prime Minister he did not appoint his deputy. He left the post vacant because by law he only needs a Cabinet but not a deputy.

Mahathir was so pissed that Abdullah did not appoint his deputy so on 6th January 2004 he made a press statement thanking Abdullah for agreeing to appoint Najib Tun Razak as his new deputy. Abdullah was caught off-guard and almost fell off his chair. The next day, 7th January 2004, the press reported that Najib is the new Deputy Prime Minister so Abdullah had no choice but to make that announcement.

What was most ironical and what many did not notice is that Abdullah’s announcement of Najib as the new Deputy Prime Minister was made 24 hours after Mahathir’s announcement. But for more than two months Abdullah ran the country without a Deputy Prime Minister and he would have done so for many months more if Mahathir had not pulled off that trick on 6th January 2004.

Raja Petra Kamarudin

– www.malaysia-today.net