On Boxing Day, we published an article titled: ‘Is Isa Samad with Najib or with Mahathir?’
In that article we said: “Felda seems to be making many silly mistakes and these mistakes can harm Umno and in the same process Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Since Isa Samad’s appointment as Felda chairman five years ago, the agency, once-touted as the most impressive in the world, is going downhill.
The question here is whether Isa is incompetent or whether he is competently serving Mahathir’s agenda.”
We also said: “So what went wrong? Mohamed Isa Abdul Samad is what went wrong.
Isa was appointed the new Felda chairman in 2011 and since then Felda, the pride of the nation, is the albatross around Prime Minister Najib’s neck.”
For two years from December 2014 to December 2016, Mahathir Mohamad tried to use the 1MDB issue against Najib.
Earlier he had sabotaged 1MDB’s IPO and bank loans in an attempt to bring the company to its knees.
When he found he could not oust Najib from inside Umno, Mahathir defected to the opposition and claimed leadership of the DAP-led Pakatan Harapan.
He even formed a new party to claim legitimacy as the de facto opposition leader, a move which has now created a mess in Pakatan.
December 2014 to December 2016 was a period of dismal failure.
Mahathir now has two choices – either end it here and call it quits or come out with a new battle-plan.
The 1MDB issue cannot cut it anymore.
So it has to be a new weapon.
That new weapon or new battle-plan is Felda.
They are now going to come out with spin after spin to put the blame for Felda’s failures on Najib’s head.
They will say that Isa Samad was not to blame or Isa is just Najib’s ‘office boy’.
The opposition actually has no choice.
It is either use Felda to hit at Najib or they have nothing left to use against Najib.
There is really no political gain in blaming Isa for the failures in Felda.
There is, however, immense political gain if they pin the blame on Najib instead.
The opposition has already made known their intentions of using Felda to try to topple Umno and Barisan Nasional and, in the same process, oust Najib from office.
Felda is a company. It has its own chairman, who is Isa Samad, and a board of directors, as well as a CEO and management.
The chairman and the board of directors are the highest authority that would decide which direction the company wouldl go.
If anything goes wrong in the company it is the vhairman and the board of directors who are responsible and accountable.
The resolutions passed by the board is the ultimate decision and is binding and is the basis for the CEO and management to act.
This is how all companies in Malaysia and all over the world operate.
But the opposition will still try to hang Najib for what Felda did, failing which they will hang Isa and try to implicate Najib as well.
The public in general do not understand the workings of a company and the opposition will exploit this ignorance.
It is impossible for the prime minister to be responsible for every board decision made by the thousands of GLCs all over Malaysia.
It is like blaming the prime minister when the Sabak Bernam District Council sealed and demolished Jamal Md Yunos’s resort in Sekinchang.
For purposes of political exploitation, Mahathir will blame Najib for whatever mess Isa is perpetrating in Felda.
Hence Isa has become an asset to Mahathir and a liability to Najib.
The opposition would then join in and even Isa’s new wife, who has a conflict of interest due to her business dealings with Felda, has jumped onto the bandwagon.
That is going to be Game-Plan 2017 after the many failures and setbacks Mahathir and the opposition suffered in Game-Plan 2015 and Game-Plan 2016.
This is just like after flying first class in 2015, Mahathir got downgraded to business class in 2016, and now is going to have to make do with economy in 2017.
What a terrible fate to be in.
Many people see the Mahathir of today as someone who wants to oust Umno and Barisan Nasional to save Malaysia.
But it was just a year ago when Mahathir wanted to oust Prime Minister Najib to, kononnya, save Umno.
Most Malaysians seem to forget that Mahathir can change his stance from one position to another and act selamba, as if this was the most natural thing to do.
In 2006, which is just ten years ago, Mahathir grumbled that Anwar Ibrahim caused his son to lose RM1 billon by asking Petronas to pay his son just RM1 billion instead of RM2 billion that the old man wanted.
Mahathir wanted Petronas to bail out his son by paying him RM2 billion but Anwar blocked it and agreed to only half that amount.
Mahathir, however, says it was not a bailout but a normal willing-buyer-willing-seller business transaction.
If that is so then why was Petronas reluctant to pay RM2 billion?
Was that not a Board decision even if it went against what the Prime Minister wanted?
In fact, Petronas was also reluctant to pay RM1 billion because they really did not need any shipping company.
But they still bailed out Mahathir’s son for RM1 billion anyway since the old man was the prime minister and he never takes no for an answer.
But Mahathir never forgave Anwar for that and he carried the grudge regarding the RM2 billion ever since because that exercise was tied to a rumour that his son had tried to commit suicide due to his financial difficulties, a rumour which Mahathir denied and called fitnah.
Anyway, the fact that his son was in dire straits and needed to be bailed out for RM2 billion was indisputable, which even Mahathir himself admitted although he refused to use the word ‘bailout’.
Mahathir has always denied liability or responsibility for whatever failures the government suffered, some that cost the country tens of billions of ringgit — which today would be 3.5 times what it was when Mahathir first took over as prime minister in 1981.
In other words, if Mahathir lost RM10 billion in 1981 that would be worth RM35 billion today.
We all know how much Mahathir lost in the 22 years that he was prime minister.
The beautiful thing is Mahathir does not deny that he lost hundreds of billions.
He does not deny it because he cannot. It is all well-documented and many books have been written about it — the book by Barry Wain, Malaysian Maverick: Mahathir Mohamad in Turbulent Times, being the most interesting of all.
Instead, Mahathir defends and justifies these losses and says that it was not due to corruption or abuse of power but losses suffered in the normal course of businesses.
Losses suffered in the normal course of business, never matter how much they may be, are acceptable and ‘normal’.
Hence we need no longer talk about how many hundreds of billions Malaysia may have lost during Mahathir’s time and is still losing due to the legacy the old man left even though he left office 13 years ago.
Mahathir and the opposition are bankrupt of ideas.
The 1MDB ‘weapon’ has failed.
So they are preparing to use the Felda ‘weapon’ in the hope that the Felda ‘weapon’ will succeed where the 1MDB ‘weapon’ has failed.
Good bye Mahathir 2016. Welcome Mahathir 2017.
It must be terrible to suffer failure in 2016 after thinking that you had succeeded in 2015 and then see 2017 as the year you get buried six feet under: metaphorically-speaking, of course.