When Najib almost did not become PM


If you really want to discuss who ‘made’ Najib the Prime Minister then it would be Tengku Razaleigh. Tengku Razaleigh blew his chances of becoming Prime Minister when he told Dr Mahathir to go fook himself. And Dr Mahathir fooked Tengku Razaleigh back by dumping him in favour of Najib.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Muhyiddin Yassin opened a very interesting can of worms with his latest revelation that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad offered him the post of Prime Minister but then, according to Muhyiddin, he turned it down and asked Dr Mahathir to give that job to Najib Tun Razak instead.

So, said Muhyiddin, it was he who ‘made’ Najib the Prime Minister.

Actually, that was not really how the story goes so let me tell you what really happened. By the way, those who have been reading Malaysia Today for some time will know that this is not a new story and that I have told this story before, more than once.

Soon after the ‘disastrous’ 2008 general election (that is, disastrous for Barisan Nasional) Khir Toyo organised a seminar at the Hotel Singgahsana in Petaling Jaya attended by a few hundred Umno members. I, too, was there — just out of curiosity since I was not an Umno member.

Dr Mahathir and his son, Mukhriz, were also there sitting at the main table on stage.

Dr Mahathir then announced that Tun Abdullah Badawi should resign as Prime Minister (in fact, he had been saying this for two years since June 2006) for performing so badly in the general election, and worse, for losing Penang, the Prime Minister’s ‘home state’, to the opposition. (Actually Dr Mahathir’s home state, Kedah, also fell to the opposition although Dr Mahathir made no mention of this).

What was most interesting, though, was that Dr Mahathir announced that a Presidential Council would be formed and that the next Prime Minister would be ‘guided’ by this Council. In short, the Council would run the country.

But Abdullah’s deputy then, Najib, was not only not prepared to push for the Prime Minister’s resignation, to make it worse, he publicly declared that as the number two he will be loyal to his boss.

And this upset Dr Mahathir who told Najib that if he wants the job of Prime Minister then he must fight for it. In other words, he must kick out Abdullah if he wants to take over as the Prime Minister.

But Najib was not prepared to do that. Of course, there were allegations that Najib does not have the balls, he is not a fighter, he wants the job to be served to him on a silver platter, etc. Najib’s argument, though, was that after a very bad showing in the 2008 general election, triggering an internal crisis and power struggle is not going to help Umno’s or Barisan Nasional’s cause.

So Dr Mahathir decided to dump Najib. He then started talking to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. Whether Dr Mahathir really wanted Tengku Razaleigh as the new Prime Minister or whether he was just using this to ‘threaten’ Najib that ‘if you do not play ball I have other candidates’ is not clear.

Tengku Razaleigh, however, feels that Dr Mahathir was just using him to pressure Najib to go against Abdullah. In other words, Dr Mahathir was telling Najib that if he was not prepared to challenge Abdullah then he is going to be dumped in favour of Tengku Razaleigh.

In this whole scheme of things, Muhyiddin was supposed to be the number two. It was either number two to Najib or number two to Tengku Razaleigh. Dr Mahathir had no plans to make Muhyiddin the number one, as Muhyiddin claims.

Of course, Najib was Dr Mahathir’s first choice. Tengku Razaleigh was Dr Mahathir’s second choice or maybe not even a choice but just the leverage to get Najib to ‘move his ass’ and take on Abdullah. Tengku Razaleigh feels he was never really a choice at all from the very beginning but was just being used.

Anyway, Dr Mahathir and Tengku Razaleigh then met a few times. I think it was at least five or six times (once in Dr Mahathir’s home). And Dr Mahathir laid down Tengku Razaleigh’s ‘terms of employment’. And amongst these ‘terms of employment’ was that Tengku Razaleigh had to agree to the formation of a Presidential Council to guide him in how the country should be run.

Tengku Razaleigh was indignant and he replied with a big, fat no. No way Jose! If he becomes the Prime Minister then he runs the country the way he wants to and not become a puppet Prime Minister with a one-man Presidential Council as the de facto Prime Minister behind the scenes telling him what to do.

So Dr Mahathir dumped Tengku Razaleigh and went back to Najib. After Najib became the Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir started telling him what to do and when Najib could no longer take it he ignored the old man and stopped talking to him or taking his calls for six months.

And that was when, last year, Dr Mahathir decided that Najib has to go. In fact, Dr Mahathir said this openly — that Najib has ignored him and refuses to talk to him for the last six months.

But he needed an excuse to oust Najib, just like he needed an excuse to oust Abdullah — which was the Oil-for-Food controversy. And this is all now water under the bridge, of course, and that issue Dr Mahathir is using against Najib is 1MDB.

So, no, Muhyiddin did not make Najib the Prime Minister. In fact, Najib almost did not become the Prime Minister because he would not go along with the plan to stab Abdullah. Muhyiddin was supposed to be the Deputy Prime Minister all along. The only thing is deputy to whom, Najib or Tengku Razaleigh?

If you really want to discuss who ‘made’ Najib the Prime Minister then it would be Tengku Razaleigh. Tengku Razaleigh blew his chances of becoming Prime Minister when he told Dr Mahathir to go fook himself. And Dr Mahathir fooked Tengku Razaleigh back by dumping him in favour of Najib.