Game over for Dr M and son


Zainal Epi, MMO

Umno’s decision to sack its suspended deputy president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and former Kedah menteri besar Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir with immediate effect was a move that had been speculated for a long time by its three million members.

Following yesterday’s decision, former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his son Mukhriz are now left in the lurch and can no longer be effective in their fight, unless they join an opposition party.

If they do so, they can kiss their political options goodbye as their legacies will be quickly forgotten by Umno members.

Umno leaders and members had been pushing for the party leadership to act swiftly when the duo and party vice-president Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal started questioning party president Datuk Seri Najib Razak over allegations of abuse of power and corruption.

Najib, however, managed to control the pressure from within and had even extended an olive branch to the three and Dr Mahathir to return to the party, during the annual general assembly last December. He said matters could be resolved through discussions and patience.

But Dr Mahathir continued to demand for Najib to step down while Muhyiddin and Mukhriz shared the same stage with opposition members.

The sacking of the duo was not an easy decision. Muhyiddin has been a party member for more than 22 years while Mukhriz had his father to bank on — a man who once steered the nation and Umno for 22 years.

Shafie, meanwhile, had already distanced himself from Umno just before the general assembly after realising the move to unseat Najib had not receive support from party leaders and members.

Given the circumstances, Najib acted cautiously and waited for the right time as the sacking could cause an adverse effect on the party and the government.

The supreme council suspended Muhyiddin as deputy president on Feb 26. Also suspended were Mukhriz and Shafie.

Dr Mahathir retaliated by quitting Umno three days later. He has been campaigning hard to rid Najib but does not seem to have the same influence he once enjoyed, as evident during the Sungai Besar and Kuala Kangsar by-elections. Despite campaigning with opposition leaders, he failed to stop Barisan Nasional from scoring huge wins in both by-elections.

The supreme council felt it was only right to finally remove the thorns in its flesh, thus yesterday’s decisions.

Najib also said funds would no longer be channelled to the Perdana Leadership Foundation, which is chaired by Dr Mahathir — severing ties between the current government and the former prime minister.