Thursday, May 9, 2013


By Mansor Puteh

Mahathir surely do not have talent to spot talent; he thought he was getting someone interesting and promising in the person of Anwar, who became deputy minister upon his entry into the Umno fold and quickly rose to become deputy prime minister under him, which allowed Anwar to create for himself a new Malaysian political dynasty.

And by sacking Anwar as deputy prime minister and Umno/Barisan, Mahathir thought he had had the last of Anwar, who he also assumed would be left limp with nowhere to go to.

But the opposite happened.

‘Reformasi’ was established in 1998 with more Umno and Barisan officers or leaders joining him, which ultimately caused the formation of Parti KeAdilan Rakyat or PKR and later Pakatan Rakyat, the loose coalition of opposition parties.  

The founders of ‘Reformasi’ got the idea from the other Umno members and officers who had left the party when it was disbanded by the courts to form ‘Parti Semangat 46’ which later ran against Umno Baru.

So it is not wrong for anyone to say it was Mahathir who had helped to create PKR and also Pakatan Rakyat, and the new generation of nemeses of Umno and Barisan that we have now. 

All this should not have happen if Mahathir had resigned as prime minister in 1991 or few years later, if he truly loved Umno and Barisan and not only to want to serve his personal interests. 

Because Mahathir had stayed on too long, the others in the Umno and Barisan Nasional hierarchy became confused and disillusioned; and they too thought they ought to follow in his steps by overstaying their welcome.

His deputy then, Musa Hitam should have been allowed to take over from him, so that the history of Umno and Barisan would be different with the flow of new blood into the party and coalition and dissent within Umno especially would also have been thwarted.

It now seemed that the only way for Mahathir to cling onto power to remain as prime minister was to replace his deputy in the cabinet as well as in Umno itself so in the end he had four different persons acting as the deputy Prime Minister – Musa Hitam, Ghafar Baba, Anwar Ibrahim and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who in the end managed to succeed him, but only for as long as he wished, before Abdullah himself was compelled or forced to resign.    

Maybe Mahathir feared if Musa had succeeded him as prime minister, Musa would become a better prime minister than he had been, and Mahathir would be treated the same way he had treated his predecessor, Hussein Onn and also Tunku Abdul Rahman who both left Umno to join or support Parti Semangat 46, who support saw the Johor Baru parliamentary seat going to it.

So no one know how Musa would have fared as prime minister, and how the course of the history of Umno, Barisan and the whole could would be henceforth till now, as does the existence of DAP, PAS and the other parties in Barisan, and if Musa would have caused the end of Anwar’s political career early in his personal and political life so that he did not have the energy, ground support or cunning to try to chart his comeback like what he has been since he was sacked by Mahathir in 1998.

Worse, those who were expelled from Umno and also Barisan still harbored intentions of staying on in politics in Malaysia, even if they do it on the other side.

So no one can blame those who are now in Parti KeAdikan Rakyat (PKR) and Pakatan Rakyat for doing what they are doing; they are those who do not have principles of attacking the very party and coalition which had given them everything they had, which they had benefited very much from, including getting their pensions and other fiduciary interests, including their spouses and children who are now vociferous critics of Umno and Barisan.

They knew they had not had enough, so they insist on staying on and test their luck with each general elections.

Some of them were lucky in 2008 when they won their seats in parliament and the state assemblies.

And most, if not all of them were once in Umno and Barisan, who would have all gone up the Umno and Barisan hierarchy if not for Mahathir blocking their way there.

Anwar Ibrahim would have succeeded Mahathir after becoming his deputy and chances are Anwar would be as critical of the Chinese and Chinese or vernacular education as he was before.

His favorite punching bag or bags today would be Parti Islam SeMalaysia (Pas) and the Democratic Action Party (Dap), who now form the two of the three major components in Pakatan Rakyat.

And surely, those who are in the Najib Tun Razak cabinet today would not be where they are now, with Najib and his deputy Mahyuddin Yassin and also Najib’s cousin, Hishamuddin Hussein Onn becoming chairmen of some GLCs or retired politicians.

Mahathir’s eldest son, Mokhzani, too would not be in the list of the most wealthy Malaysians today as does his other son, Mukhriz who definitely cannot find himself in the Anwar cabinet.

And Nizar Tun Razak might not have taken control of CIMB Bank, formerly Bank Bumiputera.

But at the same time, by Mahathir not resigning earlier, he might in fact have stopped Mokhzani from becoming the wealthiest Malaysian in the country and all of his children and those of Tun Razak, too, from becoming international personalities and who could become more successful today simply because they did not want anyone in the country and the whole world to think that their success was all due to their parents’ influence in the government and not of their own personal achievement.

So we can also feel sorry for Mokhzani and his brothers and sisters and those of Nizar’s for not being able to fully realize their potential.

And for that matter, all of Lim Kit Siang’s, Karpal Singh’s, Nik Aziz’s and Hadi Awang’s and the other old-timers in DAP, PAS or even Gerakan, MCA, MIC and the others in Barisan Nasional and Pakatan Rakyat today, would be more successful than they are now and they could even be more important than their own fathers were, if they had resigned along with Mahathir.

And Malaysia would be a much peaceful country today, with PAS, DAP and the Chinese, Indian and also the Malay chauvinist groups not being able to do much.

Most likely Anwar, too would have resigned by now having been prime minister for more than ten years, leaving behind an image of him which is positive and his reputation intact internationally.

One can see him playing the roles like what Musa Hitam is doing now.

Chances are, too, that he would not have found his ‘lookalike’ taking advantage of him by acting in videos that are often posted in YouTube.

However, Mahathir today would not be like what he is now, an international statesman, which some stature but no real influence today; he would be much like Tunku Abdul Rahman, Hussein Onn and also Abdullah Badawi, as former prime ministers, although it would seem highly unlikely Abdullah would be deputy prime minister and prime minister, but a mere former minister and later perhaps chairman of another GLC of his own choice.

Maybe Mahathir knew if he had not overstayed his stay as prime minister and left the office ten years after assuming the post, he would not have such an interesting career in politics, as most of what he had done were done after the first decade of his premiership, when his own children had all grown up having left university, although none of them had excelled in their studies.

So in other words, Mahathir’s refusing to relinquish the post of prime minister in 1991 or 1996 was good for the chauvinists in the country who now can demand whatever they want because the Melayu are now fractured into many parts and each of the part seems to be interested to pacify non-Melayu dissent by giving whatever they want, more schools and land and money, especially to those who are not well educated who dropped out of their vernacular schools early in their lives.

And Anwar, too, would now be a former prime minister, after assuming office in 1991 and leaving it in 2001, if the two of them had agreed to stay on the job for two terms of ten years each.

It is long enough for each of them to live an imprint in the history and development of the country.

What more would they want to do?

And the two of them would not be sitting on the opposite sides of the fence, but at the same place, serving Islam, Melayu and the Federation of Malaysia or the Melayu and Islamic Kingdom of Malaysia.

In the end, we can also say Malaysia has been hijacked by two persons, who used to be together in the same party and coalition – Mahathir and Anwar, but who now find themselves in opposite positions.

The ‘Mahathir and Anwar Episode’ of the country has dragged on for too long now; when will it end?

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