Mahathir finally met his match in Najib

 |Aug 14, 2016
Mahathir hates losing, and he is losing consistently against Prime Minister Najib.
Mahathir hates losing, and he is losing consistently against Prime Minister Najib.

Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah once described Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a ‘beruk’ (pig-tailed macaque).

The reason Razaleigh called Mahathir a beruk is because, as he explained, the stronger the gale the stronger the beruk would grip the coconut tree and will not fall.

However, bila takde angin takde rebut (when there is no wind, no tussle), the beruk will fall by itself.

Hence the way to bring down Mahathir, said Razaleigh, is to leave him alone and not fight with him. Then he will eventually just fall all by himself for no apparent reason.

Of course, Tengku Razaleigh was just being cheeky and the audience loved his wit.

But then Pak Wan, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s father, who used to work for Mahathir, said that the old man loves controversy and loves to fight.

And if there is no controversy or no fight he will get bored and will start one. Mahathir cannot go on for long without engaging in some sort of skirmish.

Yes, that is Mahathir, what we would call back in the old days, a fighter-cock (which still exists in some parts of Malaysia — cock fighting, that is).

And who has Mahathir not taken on?

Mahathir quarrelled with the Chinese in 1969 (and lost the general election that same year when the Chinese voted for Yusuf Rawa of PAS to teach Mahathir a lesson).

Mahathir quarrelled with Malaysia’s first Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, who got ousted in 1970. Mahathir quarrelled with Malaysia’s third Prime Minister Hussein Onn, and took over as the Fourth Prime Minister.

Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, Abdul Razak Hussein, died in 1976 before Mahathir could start a quarrel with him — so he is quarrelling with Razak’s son, Najib, instead.

Mahathir quarrelled with the Americans, the British and the Australians, just like Idi Amin Dada did when he was ruling Uganda.

In fact, many referred to Mahathir as Malaysia’s Idi Amin, which is no compliment considering that Idi Amin was said to be an utter lunatic second only to Adolf Hitler.

Mahathir quarrelled with the Lord President (Chief Justice) and his fellow judges.

Mahathir quarrelled with His Majesty the Agong and his nine fellow state rulers.

Sigh…I think it would be easier and a shorter list if we talk about whom Mahathir did not quarrel with rather than whom he quarrelled with.

One pet enemy of Mahathir is Singapore.

He regards Singapore as the Israel of Asia and Singaporeans no different from the Jews (yes, Jews, another group of people who Mahathir hates to pieces).

So anyone who is seen as friendly or accommodating to Singapore automatically becomes Mahathir’s mortal and life-long enemy (all the Prime Ministers after him included).

But above all else, more than anything in this world, what Mahathir hates the most is losing.

He must win at all costs, never mind what it takes to win, by fair means or foul.

And if he loses, he will literally as well as figure of speech die. Losing is worse than death in Mahathir’s playbook.

But that is what is happening today. Mahathir is losing and he just cannot take that, and Prime Minister Najib Razak knows this.

Hence Najib knows the right buttons to push to upset Mahathir, and every time he pushes these buttons, Mahathir will melenting and his heart would flutter.

When he decided to oust the fifth Prime Minister in June 2006, it took Mahathir less than three years to topple Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

But now it is more than three years and Najib is still in office.

Worse than that, not only is he still in office, Najib is in fact stronger now than when Mahathir’s proxies first made their move on him two years ago in 2014.

Mahathir has been hammering away the 1MDB issue for the last two years since 2014 and still Najib will not fall.

Najib was supposed to have fallen a year ago in July 2015 but that did not happen.

It looks like it may never happen, and never mind how hard Mahathir keeps hammering the 1MDB issue.

Maybe Mahathir has not heard what Albert Einstein was supposed to have said: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”

Yes, if the 1MDB issue could not bring Najib down by now that means it is never going to bring him down.

Surely the Sarawak state election and the twin by-elections in Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar would be very clear by now that 1MDB cannot do the trick that Mahathir hopes it can.

So is it not insane for Mahathir to do the same thing over and over again while expecting different results?

Mahathir is worried that this may be the end for him.

Realistically speaking, Mahathir does not have the luxury of time due to age and health issues and it would need time for his new Pribumi party to prove itself — if it is ever going to be viable in the first place.

Tengku Razaleigh’s Semangat 46 had a far better chance of success but even after eight long years it still could not go farther than just capture the state of Kelantan.

Finally, after eight years of being neither here nor there, Tengku Razaleigh closed down his Semangat 46 and rejoined Umno together with many of his supporters.

Tengku Razaleigh’s Semangat 46 was stronger than Mahathir’s new Pribumi party by far.

Actually, Mahathir’s anxiety as to whether this may be the end is misplaced.

The beginning of Mahathir’s end actually came about in 2013 when his son Mukhriz failed to win an Umno vice president post.

Mahathir should have realised then, but he did not, that Mukhriz’s failure reflected on the fact that the era of Mahathirism had come to an end.

Of course, Mahathir blames Najib for Mukhriz’s defeat.

If Najib had instructed his cousin, Hishammuddin Hussein, to stand down then Mukhriz would have won third position instead of fourth.

But then if someone needs to offer Mukhriz a walkover before he can win, that just means the Mahathir name no longer carries any weight.

This is the reality check that Mahathir should have done but did not.

Instead, he blamed Najib for Mukhriz’s defeat rather than accept the reality that Malaysians would like to move on and leave Mahathirism behind as a footnote in history.

Due to Mukhriz’s 2013 defeat, Mahathir began to plot an attack on Najib just like how the Japanese plotted the attack on Pearl Harbour.

Mahathir was going to use 1MDB as that sneak attack.

The plan was simple. Sabotage the IPO and block the loans that 1MDB needed. No company anywhere in the world would survive this type of onslaught.

That was probably the mistake that Najib made, just like the mistake the Americans made in December 1941 by not anticipating betrayal from the Japanese.

Najib did not expect to be betrayed by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), the Special Branch (SB), his own Deputy Prime Minister (Muhyiddin Yassin), Shafie Apdal (an Umno vice president), the Attorney General (Gani Patail), T. Ananda Krishnan (who was doing a deal with 1MDB, which included the IPO), and so on.

But after that sneak attack — just like after that Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbour in December 1941 — Najib consolidated and counter-attacked.

For example, Khairuddin Abu Hassan, at Mahathir’s behest, made a police report against 1MDB in December 2014.

Within a month Khairuddin was declared a bankrupt and his house was auctioned off. He then lost his position in the Umno Batu Kawan division.

This slap was not so much on Khairuddin’s face but was meant for Mahathir.

Later Najib also moved against Muhyiddin, Gani, Shafie, Mukhriz, and many more.

It was to demonstrate that Mahathir was not really that powerful after all and that he could not protect his people.

In the end all of Mahathir’s ‘foot soldiers’ got taken out one after another with Mahathir just looking on and not being able to do a thing about it.

When Mahathir realised the fight was going to get bloody and it may not actually be Najib’s blood that is going to be spilt, on Jan 20, 2015 he secretly sent word to Najib that he would like to call for a ceasefire.

Najib agreed although his Boffin Boys felt that the ceasefire was just playing for time so that Mahathir can plot his next move.

So expect more acts of betrayal, said Najib’s Boffin Boys, but in the meantime let us humour the old man and see what he does.

Mahathir did not want open warfare. He wanted a guerrilla war where he can throw stones but his hand would not be seen.

Mahathir wants to slap Najib but he does not want to be slapped back. That was why he needed a ceasefire and buy time to plot his next move.

Mahathir realised that the attacks need to be covert and not overt. When he attacked Abdullah Ahmad Badawi he did it openly. But he cannot do this a second time.

First he attacks Abdullah and now he attacks Najib. People will say the problem is Mahathir and not Najib and Umno will support its president cum Prime Minister instead.

So Mahathir’s hands must not be seen and he needs to use proxies to fight his war.

Even more important would be that it must be seen that Umno wants Najib out. So Mahathir needs people in Umno to attack Najib.

If the opposition attacks Najib then Umno would close ranks and rally behind Najib.

The anti-Najib forces in Umno must not be sent to be working with the opposition or be seen to be serving the interests of the opposition.

This is very crucial for the plot to succeed … Read  More

Source: Malaysia Today

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Raja Petra Kamarudin or RPK, cousin to the Selangor Sultan, is one of Malaysia's earliest online 'citizen journalists'. He started his website in 1995 before the internet 'explosion' triggered by the Reformasi movement in September 1998. Malaysia Today was launched as a blog in August 2004 and is one of the few pioneer blogs still active and posting articles on a daily basis 24-7. RPK, 66 years old, has been writing since 1990.