Mahathir has to join Pakatan Harapan


Pakatan Harapan has to officially invite Mahathir to join one of their parties. He must then be given a senior and important position in the party. Only then will Malaysians believe that the partnership between Mahathir and the opposition is for real and not just a con game.


Raja Petra Kamarudin

The recent two by-elections in Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar have proven that Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has to officially join Pakatan Harapan if the opposition wants to have any chance in the next general election two years or so from now. It is clear that the present ‘loose arrangement’ is not working out and the voters are not buying it.

Mahathir, however, cannot apply to join one of the Pakatan Harapan parties. For a man of his stature, that would be seen as demeaning. Mahathir cannot lower himself and appear to be begging. Instead, one of the Pakatan Harapan parties must extend an invitation to Mahathir, whether DAP or PAN, unless Azmin Ali is prepared to membelakangkan Anwar Ibrahim and family and invite Mahathir to join PKR.

The voters are not happy about the breakup of Pakatan Rakyat after DAP divorced PAS. Then they went and formed a new coalition, with PAN replacing PAS, called Pakatan Harapan, and with Mahathir replacing Anwar Ibrahim as the new de facto Opposition Leader. The voters are actually very confused and no longer know who is married to whom and who has divorced whom and who is having an affair with whom.

Mahathir’s war cry is to save Malaysia. But who is Mahathir to save Malaysia unless he has some sort of political machinery behind him? As an NGI (non-governmental individual), like what Hishamuddin Rais calls himself, how far can Mahathir go? The last 18 months has given that answer: not very far. So unless Mahathir has the backing of a political vehicle he might as well call it a day.

Save Malaysia

Furthermore, with Mahathir officially a member of one of the Pakatan Harapan parties, and holding an important position in the party on top of that, that would give the impression that the marriage between Mahathir and Pakatan Harapan is serious and sincere. If not it would appear like they are just sleeping around and using each other for pleasure.

As it is, many are not convinced that Mahathir’s so-called perjuangan is really about saving Malaysia. They suspect it is merely about saving his son, Mukhriz. Mukhriz failed to win a senior party position even how many times he tried. And unless he can be at least an Umno Vice President, Mahathir’s hope for Mukhriz to become the Deputy Prime Minister, and later the Prime Minister, would be a pie in the sky.

Mahathir blames Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak for this. Mahathir says Najib refused to help his son and that is why Mukhriz failed the few attempts to climb the Umno ladder. And that is why Mahathir wants to get rid of Najib, a person the old man views as an obstacle to Mukhriz’s career progression.

If Mahathir remains on the outside then he would not be seen as serious about saving Malaysia. Many would insist it is about saving Mukhriz. But once Mahathir joins one of the opposition parties he would have burned his bridge with Umno and, according to the Constitution, can no longer return to Umno.

No one likes to work with someone who has one leg here and another leg there. They want to see commitment. If Mahathir succeeds in ousting Najib then he can immediately abandon the opposition and return to Umno (like what he did in 2009 after resigning in 2008). And then he would stab the opposition in the back.

So many are wary of working with Mahathir who they view as just using the opposition to oust Najib, after which he would return to Umno and become the enemy of the opposition again. But once Mahathir joins one of the opposition parties, Umno’s doors would be closed to him and by law he can no longer go back to Umno.

So it is crucial that DAP or PAN, or even PKR if Azmin can swing that, officially invites Mahathir to join Pakatan Harapan. That would be seen as seeking a serious and long-term relationship and not just sleeping together to enjoy sex. Mahathir then accepts the invitation and is given quite a senior and important position in one of the parties that he joins.

This would probably impress and convince the voters that Mahathir’s relationship with the opposition is serious and sincere to the point that Mahathir has closed the door of ever going back to Umno and that he is going to sink or swim with Pakatan Harapan.

Short of this Pakatan Harapan may not even be able to deny Barisan Nasional its two-thirds majority in Parliament come the next general election, let alone win the election.