Lim Kit Siang’s u-turn on Pribumi
DAP’s Lim Kit Siang has done a u-turn on Mahathir’s Pribumi. He has been warned that the Chinese voters, which is all that matters to him, are very negative about DAP’s collaboration with Mahathir and may punish DAP in the next general election like they did in 1999. So now Kit Siang and DAP are distancing themselves from Mahathir and Pribumi.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
In the beginning, in early 2015, when Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad started his attacks on Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, the opposition got very excited and saw this as the golden opportunity to exploit the old man’s move to weaken the Prime Minister, Umno and Barisan Nasional.
Basically they adopted the Machiavellian doctrine of an enemy of my enemy is my friend — just like what the United States did when they aligned with the Taliban to fight Russia or they aligned with Saddam Hussein to fight Iran (both which have now been proven terrible mistakes).
The man DAP tasked with the job of supporting Mahathir in his attacks on Najib was Tony Pua, who barked and growled and bit into the 1MDB issue and refused to let go like a dog with a bone. At that time DAP did not fear any backlash or backfire because Tony Pua used his PAC hat and not his DAP hat to do the attacking.
When the planned vote of no confidence in Parliament in October 2015 failed, and the second attempt at the Umno general assembly also failed in December, DAP dropped the whole thing and treated the exercise as a no-go. Clearly Najib was well entrenched and could not be so easily ousted.
Then Lim Guan Eng came under attack regarding the corrupt deal involving his house and the hunter became the hunted. Tony Pua who had earlier said if Guan Eng was ever charged for this crime he would be the first to demand the Penang Chief Minister’s resignation suddenly fell quiet. Not a peep was heard from Tony Pua the day Guan Eng was arrested and charged.
Lim Kit Siang realised that this was no longer just an allegation. His son had now been charged and was awaiting trial. The matter was becoming very serious and something needed to be done about it.
Kit Siang knew that the top guns of the MACC such as Abu Kassim Mohamed, Bahri Mohd Zin and Mohd Shukri Abdull were in Mahathir’s pocket and the old man could ‘call off the dogs’ if he wanted to. However, to seek Mahathir’s help, some horse-trading would be required on the basis of ‘you scratch my back and I will scratch yours’. And that would mean DAP would need to show some support on what Mahathir was trying to do.
At this stage, Kit Siang was still very sceptical about working with Mahathir because it was proven that the success in the 12th and 13th general elections was due to the opposition coalition being a DAP-led Pakatan Rakyat. DAP was seen to be the leader of the coalition and that was what swung the Chinese votes.
The success in practically killing off MCA and Gerakan is because DAP managed to convince the Chinese voters that those two parties are playing second fiddle to Umno whereas DAP is not playing second fiddle to anyone but is leading the pact.
That was DAP’s main campaign tactic and Mahathir knows this. So for Pakatan Harapan to make inroads in the next general election it must be seen that the opposition collation is still DAP-led and is not subservient to anyone, especially not to Mahathir who the Chinese have still not forgiven for his past sins. For Pakatan Harapan to continue to be able to garner Chinese votes it must be seen to be led by DAP; there are no two ways about it.
But now it had come to a stage where his son is most likely going to end up in jail so a deal has to be made whether they like to or not. Kit Siang has no choice but to work with Mahathir because the old man gave his assurance that he could save Guan Eng from going to jail. Mahathir can tell the top MACC people such Abu Kassim Mohamed, Bahri Mohd Zin and Mohd Shukri Abdull what to do and they will listen.
So the trade-off was Mahathir will save Guan Eng from going to jail but Pakatan Harapan must be turned into a Pribumi-led opposition coalition. It would no longer be a DAP-led Pakatan Harapan. It was a price Kit Siang would have to pay to ensure his son stays free.
Najib, however, knew the game plan so he stepped in and removed the three top guns of the MACC who were Mahathir’s stooges. Najib had to do what was necessary to ensure that the MACC serves the interest of the government and not Mahathir’s interest. Basically Najib took the appropriate action, which any other Prime Minister would have taken, and relocated Mahathir’s stooges to other agencies.
Najib pulled the rug from under Mahathir’s feet so he failed to deliver what he promised Kit Siang. And now Guan Eng might be going to jail after all. And Kit Siang knows that any further collaboration with Mahathir is futile because not only is his son not going to escape jail but the double-whammy would be the Chinese might punish DAP for the collaboration. In the next general election they are not going to get as much support from the Chinese as they did in the last two general elections.
The DAP leaders’ absence in court when Mahathir went to pay homage to Anwar Ibrahim on 5th September 2016 was the signal that Kit Siang and DAP have done a u-turn on working with Mahathir and his Pribumi. They believe that Najib will not hesitate to remind the Chinese about the sins that Mahathir committed to the Chinese and that DAP would be hard-pressed to counter that. As it is even now DAP’s flirting with Mahathir on his Save Malaysia campaign and the Citizens’ Declaration are already have some negative affect.
Kit Siang explained this to Anwar and has warned him that Pakatan Harapan would suffer as the Chinese will punish them if they are seen to be under Mahathir’s thumb and Pakatan Harapan is seen as a Pribumi-led coalition instead of a DAP-led coalition.
In 2013, Mahathir attacked Najib for giving too much face to the Chinese and for not focusing on the Malay voters, which is the support base for Umno. The Chinese have also not forgotten what Mahathir did to the Chinese schools, which triggered Operasi Lalang in 1987. Then there is the New Economic Policy, which was supposed to have ended in 1990 but which Mahathir extended indefinitely. In November 1999, Mahathir threatened the Chinese with ‘May 13’ if Barisan Nasional lost its two-thirds majority in Parliament, which was why many frightened Chinese voters voted government just in case.
All these are still sore points to most Chinese and if DAP works with Mahathir it would be most unforgivable. Anwar’s reply to Kit Siang was to not worry because he knows what he is doing. Anwar said he, too, studied Sun Tzu so let him play along with Mahathir and enjoy the moment like a cat playing with a mouse. In the end Anwar will drop Mahathir into a bottomless pit and say “Adios Mahathir” just like Jeff Ooi said “Adios Haron Din” to the late PAS spiritual leader.