Prime Minister For 22 Years 22 Months 22 Weeks The Risk Of Allowing Mahathir To Become Pm For The Third Time
Maszlee Malik, the infamous “Black Shoes” Minister, has argued that Opposition bloc (obviously referring to the Pakatan Harapan coalition) needs his boss – Mahathir Mohamad – to secure enough seats to form a government. He said there’s no way that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim could get more than 112 MPs, the magic number in the 222-seat Parliament.
In short, Maszlee’s message was that without Mahathir, Pakatan Harapan (PH) will remain as opposition until the kingdom comes. The former Minister of Education has even mocked Anwar, reminding the PM-in-waiting that the 107 MPs trumpeted by Anwar actually include “contribution” from Mahathir. At most, Anwar’s camp has only 91 parliamentary seats, said Maszlee.
Mr. Maszlee said – “If Anwar can only reach 91 seats, but not surpass the 112 seats (minimum numbers to form a simple-majority government), this can only be achieved with Mahathir’s help. Indeed, it is plausible to not only pass 112 MPs, but possibly reach 130 seats. If properly negotiated and arranged, Mahathir can ramp it up to even 148 seats.”
While his argument makes perfect sense, it’s absolutely arrogant and counterproductive to say Anwar has no absolute right to claim the premiership. Is Maszlee trying to say the party-less Mahathir has the absolute right to become the country’s prime minister for the third time? Exactly who caused the collapse of PH government, if not Mahathir’s favourite boys – Muhyiddin Yassin and Azmin Ali?
True, with the remaining component parties – PKR (38 MPs), DAP (42 MPs) and Amanah (11 MPs) – in the Pakatan Harapan, the coalition is left with only 91 MPs. But even if Mahathir could get up to 148 seats as bragged by Maszlee, his camp is only as strong as 57 MPs. You don’t need a mathematician from Harvard to tell you that 57 is a smaller number than 91.
If Anwar can’t become a prime minister based on his 91 MPs, Mahathir certainly can’t become a prime minister based on his 57 MPs, let alone less. It’s hilarious that a bigger coalition must play second fiddle – for the second time. Maszlee must be more convincing in his justifications, instead of ridiculing and insulting the same coalition he was part of previously.
Still, it’s interesting to speculate how Mahathir could boost the PH to 130 seats. After Mahathir was betrayed and sacked by his lieutenant-turn-premier Muhyiddin, Mahathir’s faction consists of only 5 MPs. Inclusive of 9 MPs from Sabah-based Warisan, UPKO (1), Parti Bersatu Sarawak (1) and even Baru Bian (1), his camp has 17 MPs. Add this to PH’s 91 MPs, the opposition has 108 seats.
So, where do the remaining 22 MPs (130 minus 108) come from? Unless Maszlee suddenly became very clever in playing psychological warfare and the art of bluffing, it’s understood the number 148 have to come from a defection of Sarawak-based GPS’ 18 MPs (148 minus 130). Therefore, the mysterious 22 MPs have to come from Muhyiddin’s own backdoor government itself.
Bersatu (PPBM) won only 13 seats in the 2018 election, but doubled to 26 MPs after the UMNO defection. After losing Tanjung Piai seat, that number decreased to 25 MPs, before Azmin Ali betrayed his party PKR and brought 10 MPs into Bersatu, enlarging the party to 36 MPs. However, excluding the rebellious Mahathir and his gang of 5, Bersatu now has 31 MPs.
Hence, the first possibility is Mahathir’s super influence in enticing 22 MPs from Muhyiddin’s faction in Bersatu to jump back to his camp, which could include Azmin and his gang of 11 traitors. While Mahathir has no problem hugging his former blue-eyed boy Azmin, who was caught engaging gay sex, can PH coalition welcome those traitors back just to spite backdoor PM Muhyiddin?
The second possibility is Mahathir’s incredible ability in charming (or rather bribing) Islamist party PAS to abandon its corrupt partner UMNO. But can PAS really work again with DAP, the Chinese-based party that PAS president Hadi Awang has condemned as Chinese pigs, chauvinist, anti-Islam, anti-Malay, anti-Ruler and whatnot? It’s possible, but not probable.
The third possibility is a jaw-dropping mass defection of Hishammuddin Hussein and his followers from UMNO to Mahathir’s camp. It’s worth to note that not everyone in UMNO likes the idea of having crooks like Najib Razak and Zahid Hamidi back in the driver seat again. The fourth possibility is defections of a mixture of MPs from Muhyiddin’s Bersatu and MPs from UMNO.
Regardless of which possibility, Anwar (assuming DAP and Amanah do not break ranks with him) holds the master key to Mahathir’s plan to topple Muhyiddin, the same way Maszlee claims his boss holds the master key for Anwar’s camp to return to the federal government. It may sound like a childish game, but it depends on who blinks first – who is more desperate.
Mahathir had his first chance when he ruled with an iron fist for 22 years (from 1981 to 2003) as the 4th Prime Minister. He was given a spectacular chance to rule again for 22 months (2018 to 2020) as the 7th Prime Minister. Now, he wants to break another world record, his third chance as 9th Prime MInister, for probably 22 weeks – if he keeps his promise to hand over after the APEC Summit.
However, very few believe power-hungry Mahathir can be trusted to hand over the throne to Anwar after a couple of months. What could he achieve in 22 weeks that he could not in 22 months? For that reason alone, it’s perfectly normal for Anwar to reject the proposal to make way for the 94-year-old fox again. That couple of months could see Anwar being sent to jail just to deny his chance – again.
Like it or not, Anwar has to be the prime minister. That’s the safest bet to prevent the PH coalition from being played again. Mukhriz, Mahathir’s son, could be appointed as deputy prime minister in exchange for the old man’s support. As a safety measure, Mahathir could also be made Minister Mentor to maintain stability of the new government.
But Sabah and Sarawak are the kingmakers. Sabah’s Warisan (9 MPs) and Sarawak’s GPS (18 MPs) are crucial to the so-called Pakatan Harapan Plus alliance. It’s actually more believable that Maszlee’s boastful number of 130 seats already included Sarawak’s GPS, which is currently part of Muhyiddin’s loosely glued Perikatan Nasional backdoor government.
To ensure Sabah and Sarawak’s loyalty, both states must be represented with nothing less than a deputy prime minister post each. In fact, both Borneo states must leverage on the current political uncertainty by demanding the No. 2 posts after being made a sucker for decades. It’s astonishing that Sarawak did not push the weak PM Muhyiddin for more concessions when it can.
Even with Anwar in the prime minister seat, there’s no guarantee that Mahathir would stay quiet. Let me repeat this again. Mahathir has never denied his evil intention of leaving the Pakatan Harapan coalition. It was just about the right timing when to leave. This is the biggest reason why it’s incredibly risky to allow him to become prime minister for the third time.
Mahathir’s desperation to become 9th Prime Minister is to send Najib Razak to prison. Let’s assume Anwar gives way for the greater good of the country. And assuming a newly crowned PM Mahathir could send UMNO crooks to jail within a couple of months, what is there to stop him from pulling out of Pakatan Harapan thereafter and rejoin or merge with UMNO?
If Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan knows very well that Mahathir may play them again, which he most likely will based on his mission to re-create a dominant Malay-based political party for his son before he kicks the bucket, should they foolishly swallow the hook, line and sinker? Of course, PH can always gamble their last chip away, betting that they have nothing more to lose.
The worst that can happen to PKR, DAP and Amanah is they would become opposition again in the event Mahathir betrays them. The worst that can happen to Mahathir if he fails to topple Muhyiddin is the prospect of his families being harassed, hunted and charged with corruptions by a newly installed Najib regime. It would be game over for the Mahathir dynasty.
On the other hand, if everything goes smoothly, the Pakatan Harapan Plus will have 2 years to prove they can run the country better than the current backdoor government. That provided the Agong (King) does not listen to Muhyiddin or Najib to dissolve the Parliament. Thanks to Mahathir, a good 22 months had been wasted.
Time is of the essence. As speculation runs wild that backdoor PM Muhyiddin is looking at calling a snap election by year end, and UMNO crooks are being released at lightning speed, both Mahathir and Anwar must quickly find a common ground. The deadlock must end. If neither of them is willing to compromise, perhaps a general election is the best option after all.
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