Mahathir: too little, too late
Mahathir can’t seem to build his political dynasty through his sons. And he blames Najib for this. He wants Najib ousted because the Prime Minister refuses to help his sons. What Mahathir cannot accept is that the failure of his sons is because of him and not due to Najib. But then that is typical of Mahathir: it is always someone else’s fault.
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
A number of readers have posted comments asking me why I am so critical of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Only stupid people and idiots would ask that question. Have these people not heard of Newton’s third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction?
This means that in every interaction, there is a pair of forces acting on the two interacting objects. The size of the forces on the first object equals the size of the force on the second object.
In other words, when you attack there will be a counter-attack. When you spin propaganda there will be counter-propaganda against you. When you slap, you get slapped back. When you insult someone, you will get insulted back. When you poke my eye I poke you back in both eyes.
Now tell me, why is that so difficult to understand? I see even Old Boys like Hussein Abdul Hamid a.k.a. steadyaku47 appear to not understand this and he said he feels like vomiting when he reads what I write. Well, vomit away old friend. That is good detox for all that shit in your tummy.
One thing that unites all the anti-Barisan Nasional Pakatuns and the ANC (Anti-Najib Campaign) supporters is that they feel it is their God-given right to say things about the government while if you do the same to them (or even just speak favourably about the government) then you are scum of the earth.
That is precisely what the Islamic State says about those who support the government. Are you saying that the Islamic State is right since you and the Islamic State both say the same thing? Or do you apply two different and opposite standards, one for you and another for others?
I have already explained time and time again why Anwar Ibrahim and I no friend anymore in 2010. He just could not accept my views and was angry that I criticised him. And why can’t I criticise him? If you can criticise the Prime Minister why can’t I criticise someone who is merely a de facto opposition leader?
Freedom of speech, konon! What you really mean is freedom to whack the government as long as you don’t also whack the opposition. And you wonder why people like me are disillusioned with the opposition and have lost faith and confidence in them.
Khairuddin Abu Hassan is angry with me for not supporting his boss, Mahathir. He calls me otak udang and kerbau gila. Well, he has every right to call me what he wants. But that still does not change the fact that I am superior to him in all ways. And he also called all Bugis pirates. His Highness the Sultan of Selangor is not too pleased about this so maybe Khairuddin should seek an audience with Tuanku and apologise personally.
Khairuddin also said he wants me to face him for one-to-one unarmed combat. Well, when Khairuddin meets Tuanku maybe he can also mention this and request Tuanku to bring me back to Malaysia so that he (Khairuddin) can beat me up. I will return to Malaysia if Tuanku commands it.
Khairuddin is trying to con us by saying that Mahathir’s cause is noble and that he is only trying to save Malaysia. So that means it is our duty to support Mahathir, the ANC, PPBM and so on. Khairuddin might be a dunggu but he should not assume that we are also dunggus.
Mahathir is not trying to save Malaysia. He is trying to save Boboi. He wants Mukhriz to become Prime Minister — and since Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak refuses to help Mukhriz become Prime Minister, Mahathir wants Najib ousted.
The problem is, Mahathir has left it too late so he is now trying to make up for lost time and fast-track Mukhriz’s rise to the top.
Mahathir proudly tells us that when he was in politics, and when he was Prime Minister, he refused to allow his children to also be in politics. Only when he retired did he allow his children to get involved in politics.
Actually that is a load of bullshit. When Mahathir was in power he was too busy making his sons, trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies rich. He was so engrossed in turning his children, trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies into billionaires that he had no time to groom his children to become future leaders.
Then, just a few months after Mahathir retired on 31st October 2003, he suddenly realised that an ex-Prime Minister is just that, an-ex Prime Minister. Even someone as lembab as Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi could ignore Mahathir while all his old friends and people he made rich suddenly were too busy to take his calls.
Then Mahathir realised that once you are a ‘has-been’ no one really cares about you anymore. And the bigger danger was that he had RM100 billion in the hands of trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies and if he was not careful all this was going to ‘burn’ and he would never be able to get it back.
But it was too late for him to get back into power. The only thing he could do was to make sure that one of his sons got into power. And that was when he started working on Mukhriz to be his kuda so that political power could still be retained through his son.
The greatest obstacle to Mukhriz, though, was Khairy Jamaluddin, the Prime Minister’s son-in-law. As long as Abdullah was still Prime Minister, Khairy would be powerful. And that would mean Mukhriz would face a ‘roadblock’ by the name of Khairy.
So, in June 2006, less than three years after Abdullah took over as Prime Minister, the oust Abdullah campaign was launched. To be honest, I, too, supported that campaign and participated in the road shows all over Malaysia.
And we knew perfectly well that the target was Khairy and that we were bringing down Abdullah to kill Khairy (and Khairy also knew this because he told me so when we met, the first and last time we ever met to smoke cigars).
In our minds we were very clear that the objective of ousting Abdullah was so that Khairy could be neutralised and so that Mukhriz would not face any obstacles in his rise to the top. In a way, the anti-Abdullah movement was also a pro-Mukhriz movement and we may be many things but not stupid enough to not realise that this was Mahathir’s way of continuing to hold Putrajaya by proxy.
As soon as Abdullah stepped down and Najib took over as Prime Minister in 2009, the move to push Mukhriz to the top started. But Mukhriz failed to win the Umno Youth leadership that year although Khairy was now the son-in-law of an ex-Prime Minister and no longer the son-in-law of a Prime Minister.
It took many of us by surprise. We thought that, since Abdullah was no longer Prime Minister, Khairy would not be strong any more. Apparently, Khairy won because he had better PR (not because of his father-in-law) while Mukhriz could not even remember the names of people he had already met before.
Just to digress a bit, I remember back in 1987 when I bumped into Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah at the PWTC and he patted me on the back and said, “Raja Petra, how’s Terengganu? Is your marine engine business doing okay?”
I tell you, this was a Cabinet Minister, and he recognised me and knew where I came from and what business I was in. On that day I fell in love with Tengku Razaleigh and when he launched his Semangat 46 the following year I supported him with all my heart.
So this is important. Simple things like remembering people’s names and asking them ‘how is your son Faisal, is he doing well in university?’ and so on, wins support. And always look them in the eye when you salam with them or shake their hands and not look away. This is very important and something Mukhriz (plus Ghafar Baba and Zaid Ibrahim as well) do not seem to understand.
Anyway, Khairy and not Mukhriz won in 2009. Then Mukhriz tried a Vice President’s post instead in 2013 and he lost again. So Mukhriz is not really that strong even with Mahathir’s backing. But then Mahathir would not accept it as his son’s weakness. Instead he blamed Najib for his son’s failures.
Mahathir felt Najib would not be Prime Minister if not because of him. So Najib owes Mahathir a favour. And he must repay this favour by helping his son, Mukhriz, to climb the Umno ladder. And when Najib did not help Mukhriz climb the Umno ladder, Mahathir decided that Najib has to go.
And that was when in 2013 Mahathir decided that Najib must be ousted. He first used this excuse and then that excuse. Finally he settled on 1MDB as the excuse to oust Najib.
Khairuddin thinks we are too stupid to know all this. But then he is stupid if he thinks we are stupid. We know precisely why Mahathir made his move to oust Abdullah in 2006 and why he made his move to oust Najib in 2013. And you can sum it up in just one word: Mukhriz.
But then Mahathir has left it too late. He should have done this soon after he got rid of Anwar Ibrahim in 1998. Mahathir should have realised that political power is fragile and you lose it once you no longer sit on the throne.
General Lee Hsien Loong joined the Cabinet at age 32 when his father was still the Singapore Prime Minister. At that time Lee Kuan Yew was still just 61. By the time General Lee was Prime Minister he was 52 while Kuan Yew was 81.
It took 20 years of grooming (excluding 13 years in the military) for General Lee to take over as Prime Minister.
Lim Guan Eng was 26 when he became a Member of Parliament, 29 when he became the Youth Leader, 35 when he became the Secretary General, and 48 when he became the Chief Minister of Penang.
Lim Kit Siang was 45 when his son, Guan Eng; first launched into politics and 67 when Guan Eng became Chief Minister, the highest post yet for a DAP leader to ever attain.
Nik Mohamad Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz was 43 when he became a Member of Parliament and 45 when he became Youth Leader. His father, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, was 82 when his son started the climb to the top.
Muhammad Khalil Abdul Hadi became the Deputy Youth Leader when he was 38 and his father, Abdul Hadi Awang, was 68.
READ ALSO: For sure, Mahathir is no Kuan Yew
But then you cannot say that all these people made it just because of their fathers. Khairy made it at age 33 after this father-in-law had stepped down. Najib launched his political career at age 23 after his father had died. Hishammuddin Hussein became the Umno Youth Chief at age 37, 17 years after his father retired as Prime Minister.
So not all had their father’s ‘helping hand’ to step up. But Mukhriz, even with his all–powerful father behind him, still flopped. And that is what riled Mahathir to no end. But he cannot accept the fact that it his failure. He has to blame someone else. So he blames Najib for it and wants Najib to pay with a vengeance.
But then at 91 what can Mahathir do and how far can he push his son? You can lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink. And Mukhriz just does not have it in him to succeed. So Mahathir might have to consider dumping Mukhriz in favour of Mokhzani.
But is this a case of doing too little too late? Time is not on Mahathir’s side (or even on the side of his sons) and you need time. Najib, Khairy, Hishammuddin, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and many more are not overnight successes. They took years to get where they are today. Is Mahathir serious about wanting one of his son’s to become Prime Minister in just the next five years or less?
And all these others are leaders of significant parties such as Umno, PAS and DAP. Mukhriz, however, although he may still be just 52, is a leader in a mosquito party. And we are not even sure yet whether Pakatan Harapan will accept them in the coalition or whether they will settle on just an electoral pact involving seat distribution. If so that would make PPBM just a passenger and not the leader of the pact.
Mahathir is not stupid. He realises all these limitations. So in December 2014 he met up with Najib and tried to hammer out a deal. The deal is Najib would help ease the way for his son to rise up the Umno ladder and eventually become Prime Minister.
Najib said he does not think Mukhriz has what it takes to run the country. If he agreed with what Mahathir wants he would be doing Malaysia a great disservice. Najib knew Mahathir would crucify him if he refuses to help Mukhriz but better that than sell the country down the river. And it was then that Mahathir told Khairuddin to make his police report against 1MDB.
Mahathir should have thought of all this earlier instead of wasting all that time in making his sons, trustees, proxies, nominees and cronies rich. Now it is too late to build his political dynasty even if he replaced Mukhriz with Mokhzani
Malays have this belief that bila takde berkat you cannot go far. What you feed your family becomes darah daging so you must ensure that what they eat is halal. Well, that is what Malays believe anyway.
As the English say, the fruit from a poisonous tree is poisonous. The English also say the fruit does not fall far from the tree. Maybe Mahathir should ask himself whether this is the real problem he is facing.