Mahathir Mohamad is not stupid.
One cannot become prime minister (PM) and hold on for 22 years and be stupid.
One cannot be stupid to be able to do deals in the hundreds of billions in the names of trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies without leaving any paper trial, although Daim Zainuddin is cleverer for taking back everything from his trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies just before he left office in 1991, which Mahathir did not do just before he left office in 2003.
Well, in case many of you have not noticed, which I know many of you would not have, Mahathir is giving PM Najib Razak a peace offering.
Mahathir is giving Najib a way out.
Mahathir is proposing a win-win solution where both he and Najib can save face and no one would be seen to have lost out.
Mahathir said in his blog posting yesterday that the prime minister should not also be the finance minister.
So Najib should resign as finance minister and hand that job to someone else.
If the prime minister is not also the finance minister then this will make Mahathir happy.
In short, if Najib wants to make Mahathir happy then he should hand over the job of finance minister to someone else.
Who Najib should appoint as the new finance minister was, of course, not mentioned.
That is left entirely to Najib’s imagination.
But you do not need a fertile imagination to understand that the new finance minister should be someone Mahathir likes and not someone Mahathir hates.
If Najib still does not get the hint then he does not deserve to remain as prime minister and deserves to be ousted.
Undoubtedly, Mahathir has his son, Mukhriz in mind.
When Anwar became finance minister in 1991, it took him only two years to use that position as finance minister to become Umno’s deputy president and then Malaysia’s deputy prime minister (DPM).
The position of finance minister is more powerful than the position of DPM or deputy party president.
For sure it is even more powerful than the post of Umno vice president.
If Mukhriz becomes finance minister, even though he currently holds no position in Umno, he would be more powerful than Umno vice presidents Hishammuddin Hussein and Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, plus Umno Youth national chief Khairy Jamaluddin.
Mukhriz would be the second most powerful person in the party and in the government.
He would have an advantage over all his contemporaries and competitors.
There would be only one obstacle ahead of him in his climb to become PM — which would be the current PM, who made him the finance minister.
No doubt the original plan was for Mukhriz to become an Umno vice president in 2013 and deputy president maybe around 2016/2017, and then president in 2019 or 2020.
But that will now have to be delayed.
Anyhow, the next party election will be in 2018 so the plan needs to be delayed anyway.
As finance minister, Mukhriz can bypass making a bid for a vice president’s post in 2018 and this time go straight for the Umno deputy presidency, which for all intents and purposes is a vacant post since Muhyiddin Yassin has already been sacked.
Zahid may want to go for that post but, as merely the DPM, Mukhriz can give him a run for his money and most likely win when you consider that Anwar as finance minister beat Ghafar Baba, who was the DPM.
Ghafar was the incumbent mind you while Zahid is not.
So this is actually a very brilliant plan if you ask me.
This will see only a couple of years delay from the original timetable but Mukhriz is still young and in the end he will still become the deputy president and DPM and, therefore, on route to becoming the PM after 2020 — just a couple of years after 2020.
Even if Mukhriz decides to test the waters and not ‘rock the boat’ by first going for a vice president’s post, he will win this time around and not get number four like in 2013.
First of all, Zahid would not contest a vice president’s post, which means Mukhriz is no threat to him or vice versa, and neither will Shafie Apdal, who is no longer in Umno.
So that leaves only Hishammuddin and Khairy as competitors and that would mean Mukhriz will not only win but can most likely also win the number one slot.
As ‘vice president number one’ that makes him next in line for deputy president.
So Mukhriz can choose the one-step or two-step move to become the DPM.
The one step move is riskier but faster while the two-step move is safer but may add three years or so to the timetable.
Actually this is a brilliant plan.
With Mukhriz as the Finance Minister many things will automatically fall into place and Mahathir will finally achieve what he is trying to do.
The Finance Minister’s post gives Mukhriz the power to control Mahathir’s trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies.
They can no longer play hide-and-seek with Mahathir.
Mahathir’s RM100 billion will be quite safe as the trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies will never dare play the old man out like what they are doing now.
If they do play funny games, the finance minister can whack them with his big stick just like what Anwar did when he was finance minister for seven years.
This is actually a very clever way to consolidate your power and wealth, the real game of politics.
In the absence of any other game, and considering everything that Mahathir tried thus far has failed, this is actually not only the best plan but the only card Mahathir still has left to play.
By making Mukhriz the finance minister, Najib does not lose anything.
Mahathir, in turn, would be seen as having gained some ground.
So both save face.
As finance minister, the task of solving 1MDB would now land on Mukhriz’s table and would no longer be Najib’s responsibility.
This would mean Mahathir would have to stop attacking 1MBD.
If he continues to attack 1MBD, then the new finance minister, his own son, would suffer.
Mukhriz could even close down 1MDB and announce the problem solved.
Would Mahathir disagree with that since it is his son’s decision?
Mahathir knows that his son can never become PM as the leader of Pribumi or or Pakatan Harapan or Barisan Rakyat or whatever.
The route to federal power is through Umno and Barisan Nasional.
Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah knows this, which was why he closed down Semangat 46 and rejoined Umno, as does Anwar, which was why he fought for ten years to be allowed back in Umno after getting sacked in 1998.
So Mahathir has just created a new political dimension for his son’s future. Instead of continuing his attempt to topple Najib, which is proving impossible, and instead of trying to make his son PM through the opposition, which has proven impossible, he gets his son back in Umno as the finance minister.
It is not that Mukhriz does not have the qualifications to become the finance minister.
He may not have proven a good menteri besar but that does not mean he cannot make a good finance minister.
Well, that chap and some of his pretty boys are in the UK and it is said he is to meet Mahathir.
Is the plan for that state to ‘secede’ from Umno still on or are they meeting to discuss a change of strategy now that the secret is no longer a secret?
If Najib appoints Mukhriz the new finance minister will this menteri besar be thrown under the bus as a ‘bonus’ to Najib?
Anyway, that will be another story for another day — so stay tuned … Read More.