‘MAHATHIR TO STAY PM FOREVER’ – BUT THE REAL WINNER IS DAP, NOT MAHATHIR, CLAIMS NAJIB CAMP: SO WILL NAJIB STILL GO TO JAIL? ZAHID & ‘RM90 MILLION’ HADI?

I think the real winner here is DAP. DAP gets to stay on until GE15 to give it time to pacify the Chinese voters who are very angry with Pakatan Harapan, and in the meantime the voters will curse PPBM, PKR, Umno and PAS for fighting with one other, enabling Mahathir to stay on as Prime Minister beyond May 2020.

For almost two years Malaysians were told that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad would serve as Malaysia’s seventh Prime Minister or PM7 for only two years, after which he will step down and hand power to Anwar Ibrahim.

When it became apparent that Dr Mahathir would not do that and, in fact, would stay on until the end of his term or GE15, DAP and the Anwar faction in PKR started applying pressure to force Mahathir to ‘honour’ his agreement. They also said the agreement for Mahathir to retire and hand over after two years was in writing.

Anwar’s people appeared flustered and unsettled while Mahathir stayed cool. One after another Anwar’s people attacked Mahathir while Anwar acted statesmanlike and appealed for calm.

But it was all just an act, by both Mahathir and Anwar, to play for time while they canvased for support to build up their numbers, the magic figure being 112 members of parliament. Both claimed they had the numbers but the truth is it was a Mexican standoff because many so-called supporters were actually supporting both sides.

Anwar’s game-plan was clear: he wanted to take over as Prime Minister by or before May 2020. But what was Mahathir’s game-plan?

Being the veteran Machiavellian that he is, Mahathir gave the impression that his game-plan is to win the numbers game and stay as Prime Minister beyond May 2020, maybe up to the end of this year.

But that was not really of concern to Mahathir. He does not need to win any numbers game. Why does he need to win a numbers game when he is the incumbent? He is the Prime Minister and prime ministers do not need to win any numbers game. Those who want to oust him need to win the numbers game. All Mahathir needs to do is to sit tight.

When you control the hill you do not need to charge. You just stay put and let the enemy do the charging. And charging uphill is ten times more difficult than standing still and defending the hill. And you need more soldiers to take the hill than you need to defend it.

Mahathir is a strategist. He knows when to attack and when to defend. And he knows you never enter a fight that you cannot win. When outgunned you retreat. And then you turn the enemies’ guns on each other.

One year ago, Mahathir did not know if he had the numbers. So he played the defeatist. He promised to honour his promise and hand over to Anwar as agreed in two years. Basically he retreated so that he could stay alive to fight another day.

Then, when he saw his support grow, he said he might stay slightly longer than two years and then hand over to Anwar.

When he felt a bit stronger, he said he will resign and hand over power when the time is right but the successor will have to be someone suitable to become Prime Minister, which may not be Anwar.

So Mahathir started with ‘for sure’, then went to ‘maybe’, then ‘maybe not’, and now ‘no way’.

So, what does Mahathir really want? Does he want to become Prime Minister? No, he is already Prime Minister. Does he want to stay on as Prime Minister up to the end of his term? He already knows he can do that because he controls the ‘hill’. So what does he want then?

Mahathir wanted to ‘own’ DAP. And now he does. He wanted to checkmate Anwar. And now he has. He wanted to break up PKR. And now he has. He wanted to split Umno. And now he has. And he wanted to break up Muafakat Nasional by playing PAS against Umno. Hmm…not sure whether he has done that yet, though.

But then what’s in it for Umno and PAS? Simple. If Mahathir retires and hands over power to Anwar, the voters will be very happy and will give Pakatan Harapan a second term. But if Mahathir stays till GE15, the voters will be very upset and will most likely kick Pakatan Harapan out.

So, who is the real winner? Mahathir? Umno? PAS? Pakatan Harapan?

I think the real winner here is DAP. DAP gets to stay on until GE15 to give it time to pacify the Chinese voters who are very angry with Pakatan Harapan, and in the meantime the voters will curse PPBM, PKR, Umno and PAS for fighting with one other, enabling Mahathir to stay on as Prime Minister beyond May 2020.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

MALAYSIA TODAY

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