Whither Pribumi and Pakatan Harapan?

 |Jan 17, 2017
Launching of Pribumi last week.
Launching of Pribumi last week.

Last Saturday was the official launch of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) at the Malawati Stadium in Selangor.

However, I can only describe this whole episode as a weekend of utter confusion and it appears like Mahathir Mohamad and his gang of Pribumi leaders, plus their comrades from Pakatan Harapan, do not know whether they are coming or going.

First of all, the newspapers reported that PAS attended the party launch.

Today, however, PAS Selangor announced that it did not attend the launch as reported.

Then Mahathir announced that BR1M will be continued if the opposition comes to power.

Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali, however, contradicted Mahathir and insisted that BR1M was a bribe and would be discontinued if Pakatan Harapan comes to power.

Lim Guan Eng then announced that not only will GST be abolished but highway toll charges as well.

However, Guan Eng did not announce how much this entire exercise was going to cost the government, which in the end was going to cost billions and would be borne by the taxpayers, who do not even use the toll highways.

Mahathir then announced that since GST was going to be abolished and the government was going to lose RM40 billion a year, the GST would be replaced by a sales tax.

So that means the government will still be collecting RM40 billion a year from Malaysians but they will just change the name from ‘GST’ to ‘Sales Tax’.

Nevertheless, collecting RM40 billion in Sales Tax every year is better and fairer than collecting RM40 billion GST.

Muhyiddin Yassin (left) and Mahathir at the Pribumi official launching last weekend.
Muhyiddin Yassin (left) and Mahathir at the Pribumi official launching last weekend.

Mahathir then insulted PAS in his speech but at the same time said that the opposition must be united and avoid three-corner or more contests in the next general election.

So this means PAS must join the opposition coalition.

But it will be impossible for PAS to join Pakatan Harapan after DAP closed down Pakatan Rakyat and announced that a new coalition called Pakatan Harapan would be formed and PAS will not be invited or allowed to join the new coalition.

So, to save face for both PAS and DAP, Muhyiddin Yassin announced that Pakatan Harapan would change its name to Barisan Rakyat.

Actually, they did this before back in 2008.

In 1999 they formed Barisan Alternatif but two years later DAP left the coalition and in the 2004 general election went solo.

In 2008 DAP rejoined the coalition but they changed the name to Pakatan Rakyat to allow DAP to save face and not let it appear like DAP was licking back its own spit.

Then DAP closed down Pakatan Rakyat and formed Pakatan Harapan.

The reason was so that DAP could get rid of PAS.

So it would look awkward if PAS now joins Pakatan Harapan because the whole reason why Pakatan Harapan was formed was to get rid of PAS.

That is why Pakatan Harapan will need to change its name to Barisan Rakyat and give the impression that it was a new coalition and not the same old one with a new name.

Anyway, Prime Minister Najib Razak was aware that this was the game plan all along.

That was why when Mahathir wanted to meet him to ‘talk peace’ back in December 2014 Najib ignored him.

Mahathir, in fact, admitted this in 2015 when he grumbled that he had been trying to meet Najib for the last six months but was not able to and that the prime minister was ignoring him.

Mahathir thought that Najib was brain dead like most of the Pakatan leaders and that he could pull the wool over the prime minister’s eyes.

Muhyiddin Yassin was never Mahathir's choice for prime minister.
Muhyiddin Yassin was never Mahathir’s choice for prime minister.

More than two years ago in 2014 Najib already knew what Mahathir was up to and he just sat back and allowed Mahathir to make his moves while he made his countermoves and preemptive moves just like a cat playing with a mouse before it kills it.

Mahathir is so predictable and transparent it makes you laugh.

His Plan 1A is to work on DAP and get DAP to go along with his plan.

That is a done deal.

Plan 1B is for Muhyiddin to work on PAS and get them on board and on the same page.

That has still not happened yet and may never happen.

Finally, Plan 2 is to change the name of Pakatan Harapan to Barisan Rakyat to allow PAS to join the opposition collation without them and DAP both losing face.

In fact, in September last year Malaysia Outlook already reported this in the article titled Barisan Rakyat the next opposition coalition?

When you look at everything that has been done, not only over the last week but since the last two years, you can see that Mahathir does not respect relationships.

To Mahathir only his personal agenda matters and the end always justify the means.

Najib knows this perfectly well, which is why when Mahathir tried to do a deal with him back in December 2014 the Prime Minister just ignored the old man until he could no longer take and it and came out with guns blazing.

The plan for Mahathir to form a new party and eventually a new opposition coalition was already discussed and agreed way back in 2015.

So why all this wayang over the last two years?

Mahathir (right) has found out that Najib had been his toughest ever political opponent.
Mahathir (right) has found out that Najib had been his toughest ever political opponent.

In fact, the plan to make his son Mukhriz the Prime Minister, and not Muhyiddin as he has been leading people to believe, was also something he had decided even before Najib took over as prime minister in 2009.

Mahathir wanted Najib to take over as prime minister because he thought this was the only way to kill off Khairy Jamaluddin and open the way for Mukhriz to climb the Umno ladder.

But Najib did not kill off Khairy and help Mukhriz win the party elections in 2009 and 2013.

This made Mahathir pissed big time and that was when he decided that Najib has to go.

The only thing was what issue to use against Najib to push him out – which was how the 1MDB issue came up in the first place.

Mahathir has been fooling Muhyiddin all this while by giving the impression that he was the chosen one.

Actually there was never any intention to make Muhyiddin the prime minister.

So, while Muhyiddin works on PAS and tries to fool them into joining the new opposition coalition called Barisan Rakyat (by telling PAS that he is against Mahathir working with DAP when he knows that is not true), Mahathir is fooling Muhyiddin by giving the impression that he and not Mukhriz is going to be prime minister (with Kit Siang as Mukhriz’s deputy and finance minister).

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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.