Azmin Ali has dug a hole so deep that it’s hard to see how he could survive. Not only is he trapped in the hole, his buddy-turn-nemesis Anwar Ibrahim has thrown a rope for him to hang himself. But he has only himself to blame. He becomes an arrogant scumbag upon being promoted as the Minister of Economic Affairs, a portfolio specially created by Prime Minister Mahathir.
It’s true what PKR president Anwar said at the Reformist Convention 2019 – that Azmin, his deputy, had forgotten his roots after securing the position of the senior ministership. Even though his rapid rise to stardom was designed by Mr. Mahathir to split the PKR party and to contain the influence of Mr. Anwar, the disillusioned Azmin still believes he is being groomed as the next premier.
The economic affairs minister became more arrogant when the prime minister continues to protect him, despite the explosive gay sex video of himself with another man in the Four Points Sheraton Hotel room in Sandakan, Sabah on May 11, 2019. Azmin felt invincible and untouchable. As his hostility to Anwar grows, Azmin increasingly depends on Mahathir to survive.
The Tanjung Piai by-election on 16 November was the turning point. Despite spending two days in the constituency campaigning for his own party, Mahathir lost spectacularly. As expected, the premier refused to admit his racial and religious extremism was one of the reasons his party lost by a whopping 15,000 votes. He can’t lose face, let alone dignity.
But it doesn’t matter who or what he blames. As mentioned numerous times, today is not 1980s or 1990s where the maverick used government-controlled news media to shape the people’s mind. Everyone knows that not only the minorities Chinese and Indians had voted the opposition to teach the old horse a lesson, but even the Malays had decided to give the old man a bloody nose.
Hence, the silly poker game of inviting about 22 MPs (Member of Parliaments) – 17 from opposition UMNO and 5 from PKR – to attend a dinner hosted by Azmin at his residence after the incredible defeat. UMNO warlord Hishammuddin Hussein, the cousin of former Prime Minister Najib Razak, also braved heavy rain to attend the co-called “secret dinner meeting.”
The economic affairs minister didn’t have the number for his political master to continue as the prime minister. Still, he tried his luck, using reverse psychologyto deceive his enemy, prime minister-in-waiting Anwar, into thinking that Mahathir’s camp has at least 112 MPs to form a simple majority government in the 222-seat Parliament. Now, it’s as clear as crystal that they don’t have the number.
The despicable Azmin hoped to become the next prime minister using the same trick he had deployed to become the Menteri Besar (Chief Minister) of Selangor. PKR, with support from ally DAP, nominated Wan Azizah (wife of Anwar) in 2014 to replace Khalid Ibrahim as the state’s chief minister. But thanks to PAS Islamist party’s support, Azmin became the CEO of the state instead.
Yes, as a result of “secret meeting” with PAS, Azmin was crowned the chief executive of Selangor. As the kingmaker who won 15 seats in the Selangor State Legislative Assembly in the 2013 General Election, PAS agreed to support Azmin (although he was vehemently opposed by PKR and DAP). PAS was rewarded with 3 EXCO, and the bizarre arrangement remained even after PAS eventually exit the coalition.
Amusingly, after Mahathir lost the Tanjung Piai parliamentary seat about 10 days ago, PAS made a sudden U-turn. Abdul Hadi Awang, the fake holy man of the Islamist party, claimed his party had received offers to form a backdoor government. However, the PAS president who was bribed RM90 million by crooked Najib Razak, said he rejected such approach.
Mr. Hadi said – “We will enter through the front even though the backdoor is open. We do not want to enter through the back.” Seriously? A man whose party had legitimised “lies” as “Shariah-compliant” now talks about forming a new government the right way? The only reason a “Prime Minister Wannabe” like Hadi isn’t interested is that there isn’t any backdoor government to begin with.
Of course, there could be a hidden message behind Hadi’s naughty statement. After it was exposed that Azmin had sex with another man, it would be hard for the Islamist party leader to justify to his boys that having a future prime minister who engaged in homosexual acts is “Shariah-compliant”. Hadi’s refusal to enter through backdoor could be a message that he can’t accept homosexuality.
This further proves that Azmin Ali does not have the number to form a new “Malay-only” government with Mahathir’s PPBM (Bersatu), Hadi’s PAS, some UMNO desperados like Hishammuddin Hussein and Azmin’s own faction in PKR. Unlike the Selangor chief minister fiasco in 2014, it appears PAS has chosen to abandon Azmin’s ambition this time.
The grand plan to create a new coalition government has been crushed. To make matters worse, Mahathir, Azmin and UMNO could not even get their stories right as far as the secret dinner meeting is concerned. Mahathir said the reason 17 UMNO MPs met with Azmin over candlelight dinner was to whine, moan and bitch that the party has lost its direction.
Mahathir told journalists on November 22 – “They don’t know what they should do (next). So they asked if they should join another party or not.” It was absolutely hilarious that despite winning Tanjung Piai with an incredible 15,000 majority votes, the 17 UMNO MPs were so demoralised and depressed that they had sought advice from Azmin, as if the minister was some sort of psychiatrist.
But the fun didn’t stop there. The UMNO MPs who had met Azmin, however, have rubbished Mahathir’s claims of losing faith in the party. Contradicting the premier’s account, the opposition Member of Parliaments, including former Defence Minister Hishammuddin said they have absolutely zero intention of leaving UMNO, let alone to join Mahathir’s party.
As Mahathir’s reputation and integrity take a hit, Gerik Member of Parliament Hasbullah Osman said Azmin had actually told the UMNO MPs to stay in their respective parties during the dinner, instead of jumping ship – clearly contradicting the prime minister’s statement. Has Azmin been played or fooled by UMNO in his desperate game to stay relevant?
Interestingly, Mahathir has not disputed UMNO’s version of the story. Azmin’s silence has raised eyebrows. Did Azmin lie to Mahathir, cooking a wild cock and bull story which has backfired and embarrassed the old man? Or did Mahathir lie to divert the public’s attention from his plunging popularity? Perhaps the UMNO MPs lied after realising Azmin didn’t have the number after all.
Perhaps everyone who eagerly wanted to kick out Anwar Ibrahim, DAP and Amanah has no choice but to lie now because the grand plan fizzles out. That explains why PAS president Hadi Awang talks about not wanting to form a backdoor government. That also explains why Mahathir agreed with Anwar that anyone who wants to be the next prime minister must use the right channel.
More importantly, Prime Minister Mahathir said PKR president Anwar agreed that the transition of power should be conducted without causing too much strain to the country – suggesting that both leaders are agreeable to a proper hand over of leadership without resorting to bringing down the present government and forming a new government with the opposition.
But if PAS is no longer interested in forming a backdoor government with Mahathir, and at the same time UMNO rebellious MPs are also not interested to leave their party for Mahathir’s PPBM (Bersatu), it means Azmin Ali is screwed up big time. Does the economic affairs minister still have the support of 15 PKR MPs now that there will be no political realignment?
There’s a reason why Mahathir keeps Azmin as his pet. But when an errand boy or a lapdog is no longer useful, there’s only one way to get rid of it. Azmin’s failure to show he has the number to keep Mahathir as prime minister also means Anwar’s power base will increase significantly. Azmin’s so-called 15 MPs, if they indeed existed in the first place, know which side bread is buttered.
– Finance Twitter