It’s payback time

Yes, it is payback time — big time payback time. But it all depends on how far Tun Dr Mahathir wants to take these issues. The knife is in his hands. It is just whether he wants to use that knife to slit Tun Abdullah’s throat.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

There are 32 state assembly seats in Terengganu. 24 are under Barisan Nasional and the balance eight under Pakatan Rakyat. Yesterday was the second day of the three-day state assembly sitting but ten of the Barisan Nasional State Assemblypersons have refused to attend the session.

The ten Barisan Nasional State Assemblypersons, led by the previous Menteri Besar Idris Jusoh, said they are not boycotting the state assembly sitting as such. They just refuse to attend the state assembly until the police can guarantee their safety. It seems three of them have received death threats and they allege the death threats, which were sent via SMS, have been traced back to someone in the state government.

The Menteri Besar, however, says that the ten are boycotting the state assembly sitting and that he will not attempt to persuade them to end their boycott. In short, what the Menteri Besar is saying, the ten can go to hell. The Deputy Prime Minister has responded by telling the ten to not jeopardise the state government while the Prime Minister has ordered them to attend the last day of the session today.

PAS said if there is a vote of no confidence against the Menteri Besar they will support it. If that happens, then it will be eight opposition State Assemblypersons, plus ten from Barisan Nasional, to total 18 versus 14. That means Ahmad Said would be ousted from office through a vote of no confidence — like what should have happened in Perak but did not because of the interference of the Perak Palace.

The ten, however, claim that there was never any intention to table a vote of no confidence against Ahmad Said in the Terengganu State Assembly. The reason they are not attending the assembly — not to be interpreted as boycotting — is because of the death threats they received from someone in the state government. The death threats, in turn, are because of the rumours that the ten intend to table a vote of no confidence against the Menteri Besar in the state assembly.

Very confusing isn’t it? Anyway, the long and the short of it is there is a crisis in the Terengganu State Assembly with ten on one side, 14 on another, and eight waiting to vote with the ten in the event there is going to be a vote of no confidence against the Menteri Besar.

Okay, forget about all that for the meantime. The issue that must not be forgotten is that Ahmad Said, head of the gang of 14, was personally appointed by the Sultan, in this case who is also the Agong. Idris Jusoh, on the other hand, head of the gang of ten, was rejected by His Majesty the Agong. Does this mean Umno is going to defy the Agong and oust Ahmad Said in favour of Idris Jusoh and risk triggering a Constitutional Crisis in Terengganu like what happened in Perak?

In the Perak Constitutional Crisis, Nizar Jamaluddin was accused of being a treasonous person (penderhaka) for opposing the wishes of the Sultan of Perak with regards to His Highness’ choice of Menteri Besar. What would we call Idris Jusoh and his band of merry men who also oppose the wishes of the Sultan of Terengganu with regards to His Majesty’s choice of Menteri Besar? Will, again, Umno carry placards labelling the Agong as ‘natang’ if His Majesty refuses to replace Ahmad Said with Idris Jusoh?

Yes, it’s payback time. But the question would be is it payback time for the Sultan of Terengganu or payback time for Umno or payback time for the Sultan of Perak who has just been shown that they don’t really need to agree to the Sultan’s choice of Menteri Besar after all — like what they are doing in Terengganu?

And why does the Sultan not want Idris Jusoh as the Menteri Besar? The issue is quite simple really. From 2000 to 2008, Idris misused RM7 billion to RM8 billion of Terengganu’s oil revenue. The money did not go to the state. It went to Umno and Idris was the head of Umno Terengganu during that time. The Terengganu Monsoon Cup alone swallowed RM300 million a year over a period of three years. If you include the houses they built and so on, the total cost comes to RM1 billion.

Then there is the RM3 billion that is going to soon pour into the state, which the government promised the state during the recent Kuala Terengganu by-election. Whomsoever is the Menteri Besar can get his hands on that RM3 billion. Can you now understand why there is currently a big fight in Umno Terengganu? It’s all about the money. Repeat, loudly, after me: SHOW ME THE MONEYYYYYYYYYYY!

And talking about payback time, it is also payback time for Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. In 2006, Malaysia Today wrote about all those issues that Tun Dr Mahathir is not happy about. Bullshit! That was the response of many readers. They thought I was merely speculating or spinning a whole bunch of lies, or whatever.

As I always like to say: I just love it when I have the last word (or the last laugh) and can tell everyone, “I told you so!” — even if it has to be three years later.

Top of the list of Tun Dr Mahathir’s pet hates is the cancelling of his Crooked Bridge. Rest assured the Crooked Bridge is going to be back on track and no one will be able to block it this time around — unless the Tun keels over and dies from a heart attack or something like that. As long as he is still alive and kicking he will kick anyone who dares block his Crooked Bridge.

The next item on Tun Dr Mahathir’s agenda is the setting up of the Presidential Council — with him as the head and Tun Daim and many others from his previous regime as Council Members. Way back in 2006 or 2007 I said this was on the cards. The Tun, however, personally denied this. In fact, not long after the 8 March 2008 general election, in his speech at the Singgahsana Hotel in Petaling Jaya, Tun Dr Mahathir announced the plan to set up the Presidential Council.

Almost as close to the cancellation of the Crooked Bridge, Tun Dr Mahathir’s next pet hate is the selling off of MV Agusta for Euro 1 or RM4.80. This was a write-off of Euro 70 million or more than RM300 million. Tun Dr Mahathir was furious as hell. He had plans for that company and Tun Abdullah’s decision to sell off the company was a slap in the face and a sort of vote of no confidence against Tun Dr Mahathir.

The reason given for selling off MV Agusta is that if they don’t sell it then the government would have to pump in another RM300 million to keep it afloat, on top of the RM300 million they already paid to buy the company. This is like saying whoever made that decision to buy the company, meaning Tun Dr Mahathir, was stupid and did not know what he was doing.

Now do you know why Tun Dr Mahathir took it very personal? He knew what he was doing and he knew that after paying RM300 million to buy the company they would need to pump in another RM300 million to keep it afloat. That was part of the plan and was no mistake. But RM600 million is considered still cheap and a good buy for what they were getting — a motorcycle company that makes good motorcycles and has the technology to make small motorcars.

In a way Tun Dr Mahathir had a point. It all depends on how you want to look at it. The Germans spent more than RM1 billion on R&D back in the early 1980s to develop the 190E. R&D is not cheap. It cost billions. So paying RM600 million to own a company that has the ability to do R&D can be considered a good deal if R&D is what you are looking for and if you happen to have RM600 million sitting around doing nothing.

Whoever made that decision to sell the company was, however, looking at it from another angle. Why send good money after bad? You already wasted RM300 million. Why waste another RM300 million? You might as well cut your losses and save the RM300 million that is still in your pocket. And that was why they decided to sell off the company.

To Tun Dr Mahathir, however, the real issue is; who was it sold to? And at that price of Euro 1 or RM4.80 on top of it. And how much money did they make on the deal? This is what Tun Dr Mahathir wants to know and which has never been answered even how many times he posed that question. And this is what irks Tun Dr Mahathir the most. He feels someone did a scam and made big bucks by selling MV Agusta for a mere Euro 1 or RM4.80. And he wants to know who it is so that he can nail this person’s balls to the wall. And he suspects that that person is Khairy Jamaluddin. And he wants to nail Khairy’s balls to the wall plus the balls of all those others who were involved in the scam.

Yes, it is payback time. And it is going to be payback time in a big way. Those who ignored and sidelined Tun Dr Mahathir are going to feel the full weight of his wrath. And this includes Najib.

For a brief moment, Najib distanced himself from Tun Dr Mahathir and pledged undying loyalty to Tun Abdullah. This not only upset Tun Dr Mahathir but hurt him as well. It was not Tun Abdullah but Tun Dr Mahathir who gave Najib his job. If left to Tun Abdullah, Muhyiddin would be the number two instead of Najib. But now Najib regards Tun Abdullah rather than Tun Dr Mahathir as his boss.

That was when Tun Dr Mahathir decided that Najib needed to be taught a lesson and Malaysia Today was more than happy to help teach him that lesson. When Najib realised that his future lay in Tun Dr Mahathir’s hands and not in Tun Abdullah’s, he quickly did a U-turn and managed to save his ass in the nick of time. In fact, Tun Dr Mahathir had already written Najib off and was talking to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah as the possible successor to Tun Abdullah. Najib was that close to losing the job of Prime Minister.

Watch what is going to happen to Islam Hadhari as well. The government is reviewing Islam Hadhari and will probably abolish it in due course. Tun Dr Mahathir revealed his contempt for Islam Hadhari when he remarked that he does not know what Islam Hadhari means and that he knows only one Islam, the one that Prophet Muhammad taught.

And, last but not least, let’s see if Tun Dr Mahathir launches an investigation into the Oil-for-Food scandal. This is another thing that Tun Dr Mahathir feels is an issue that should not be allowed to be swept under the carpet. The Oil-for-Food scandal has already been reported by the UN Committee and US Congress and the report has been published so you really do not need any fresh investigation. The name of ‘Abdullah Badawi’ is mentioned in those two reports as the beneficiary of the Iraq oil quota and there is even bribery involved.

Yes, it is payback time — big time payback time. But it all depends on how far Tun Dr Mahathir wants to take these issues. The knife is in his hands. It is just whether he wants to use that knife to slit Tun Abdullah’s throat.

But what I find most interesting about all this is that I can recap what I wrote in 2006 and 2007 and shout, at the top of my voice, with glee: Didn’t I tell you so?