KUALA LUMPUR, June 13 — Former two-time prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad does not see his successor Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin as his primary nemesis but that his real adversary is still Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
South China Morning Post’s This Week in Asia reported that Dr Mahathir has painted Muhyiddin as nothing more than Najib’s patsy — or a weak acolyte — who is being used by the former Umno president as his ‘get out of jail’ card.null
He also said that he and on-off ally PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim must cooperate in order to remove the backdoor Perikatan Nasional (PN) administration.
“Without being together, we will not have the kind of clout we need to unseat the government, and the government has a frail majority,” he reportedly said.
Recently, political observers have noted that the Langkawi MP and the Port Dickson MP have been planning to oust Muhyiddin’s administration, seeing that it has a slender majority.null
However, support from federal lawmakers from the other side of the fence have been fickle. Many MPs from Muhyiddin’s team had backed off when they were offered cushy jobs in government-linked agencies.
Dr Mahathir had also accused that the plot toppling the Pakatan Harapan (PH) administration was an insurance policy for Najib from being imprisoned for his role in the 1MDB financial scandal.
The verdict for the first of his five trials will be delivered on July 28.
“One thing is certain. Najib is not going to work hard to make Muhyiddin the prime minister if he is going to jail. He is not going to leave this man [to become] prime minister, and he goes to jail. He doesn’t want to go to jail.
“If he has a docile prime minister that he can influence, he may escape from going to jail,” Dr Mahathir reportedly said, adding that his nemesis is probably hoping to make a comeback — even as a prime minister — if he managed to beat all his charges.
Recently, the prosecution under a formerly esteemed judge Tan Sri Idrus Harun who was appointed as the Attorney General had discharged their cases against Najib’s stepson Riza Aziz and former Sabah chief minister Tan Sri Musa Aman.
Idrus had given many excuses regarding his decision to drop the cases – claiming that the decisions were made “independent” of political considerations.
Dr Mahathir expects more of Najib’s allies who have committed crimes will be “set free”.
“They will come up with all kinds of reasons In the case of Najib, [they will say] he was a victim of a scam [by] Jho Low.
“[They will say] it’s Jho Low, not Najib, so we can find him not guilty. Once he is not guilty, he will then be eligible to contest, and even become prime minister. At that stage, I think he is not going to support Muhyiddin as prime minister,” he reportedly said.
Dr Mahathir also believed that only mature people will react adversely towards such a situation. He accused Najib of successfully convincing the majority of the Malay community that PH was dominated by the Chinese or the DAP.
“He made use of this issue that Pakatan Harapan is not Malay, it is entirely controlled by DAP, but the Malays accepted that.
“People after some time [forgot] about his crimes and all that, even about his trial, because they feel that this man is championing Malay Muslims so the Malays must support him.
“He has reached the point where he can say, ‘yes, I stole money but I am your boss, so it’s all right’ because he is a Malay Muslim prime minister although he has stolen money,” he reportedly said.
Touching on the possible success of his counter coup with Anwar, Malaysia’s oldest politician said it heavily depends on support from Sabah and Sarawak MPs.
However, he admitted that negotiations with the East Malaysian lawmakers were tough as they demanded concessions for greater autonomy, which he claimed no provision allows for.
Dr Mahathir also voiced his hope that there could be unrest within PN due to the fact that they are using political appointments to ensure loyalty and support.
But since there is only so many jobs to go around, there are indications of disgruntlement over the top ministerial portfolios and other highly valued government linked jobs to Muhyiddin’s inner circle.
“So, people are getting less supportive of the government. So, we are in a position where we cannot claim that we can overthrow the government, but we are working very hard at it,” he reportedly observed.
As for a snap election, Dr Mahathir thinks that due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, holding a contest at this juncture would be very difficult and costly.
He remains adamant that the best way to determine victory is in the Lower House, where the one who commands the majority of the MPs confidence will become prime minister.
BY AZRIL ANNUAR – MALAY MAIL