1MDB is Najib’s weapon, not Mahathir’s

Mahathir now realises he has been suckered into focusing on 1MDB to the point of obsession. What he thought was a weapon he could use to bring Najib down was actually Najib’s weapon to keep him bogged down with a single issue. Najib had chosen the battleground and Mahathir walked right into it not realising he is being drawn in like what Wellington did to Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo and Stalin did to Hitler at the Battle for Stalingrad. So now Mahathir is trying to downplay the 1MDB issue and shift to the Scorpene submarines instead but it is already too late for that.  


Raja Petra Kamarudin

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad told his inner circle that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak Najib had suckered him good and proper. At first Mahathir was puzzled as to why Najib was keeping quiet and did not respond when the attacks on 1MDB began. The silence was undoubtedly deafening. Mahathir thought it was because he had hit a bulls-eye and there was no way Najib could counter the attacks or explain 1MDB.

When they organised the ‘Nothing to Hide’ event on 5th June 2015 and Najib did not turn up, they celebrated their ‘victory’ thinking they had won and Najib was running scared. If Najib was not scared and had nothing to hide then why not turn up and explain 1MDB so that the air can be cleared? This can only mean because Mahathir had been spot on. Now Mahathir realises this is not the case. The real reason was Najib did not want to clear the air or else Mahathir might drop the 1MDB issue like a hot potato.

Mahathir said he had wasted so much time on the 1MDB issue with nothing to show for it. The 1MDB issue is not going to bring Najib down because if it could it would have happened two years ago in July 2015. And now it is too late to do anything about it. He regrets listening to Muhyiddin Yassin who had first brought the matter to him and says he should have investigated the matter further before shooting. And now that the shots have been fired and they proved duds he cannot take the shots back. He has no choice but to continue with what he started even though he knows it is a dead end.

Mahathir celebrated his ‘victory’ when Najib did not turn up at the ‘Nothing to Hide’ forum not realising the reason why Najib stayed away

Mahathir knows that Najib not only has his eyes on the ball but is also in control of the ball. Even before Mahathir can consider what new issues he can raise to replace the 1MDB issue, Najib brings out the US$10 billion Bank Negara forex scandal and now Mahathir is bogged down by that and cannot move. So now Mahathir is dancing to Najib’s tune regarding the Bank Negara forex scandal while Najib is not dancing to Mahathir’s tune regarding the 1MDB issue.

It really hurts when your shot does not explode while your enemy’s shot explodes in your face. That is called adding insult to injury. Mahathir now wishes he had never heard of 1MDB and that Muhyiddin had never brought the matter to his attention. Mahathir even asked his closest confidante, Sanusi Junid, whether Muhyiddin is actually working for them or for the other side to trap them in the 1MDB issue.

Najib’s strategy was simple. He just allowed the 1MDB issue to fester without closing the wound to lull Mahathir into a false sense of victory. There is no better strategy than making your adversary think he is winning even as the ship sinks. And one very important point to note is you need to know your enemy, as Sun Tzu said.

Yesterday, Free Malaysia Today (FMT) wrote that two factors might cost Barisan Nasional the next general election. The first factor is Mahathir leading the opposition pact while the second is the 1MDB issue, which the opposition has taken on as its flagship issue to bring down Najib, Umno and Barisan Nasional. FMT was quoting the opinion of Global Risk Insights, a publication founded by LSE.

If that were true then Pakatan Harapan should have won the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections plus the Sarawak state elections because the 1MDB issue was already ‘hot’ back in 2014 while Mahathir was already ‘officially’ leading the opposition back in 2015. So why should the next general election be any different from the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections and the Sarawak state elections?

There is such a thing called a window of opportunity and that window of opportunity was in 2015. The whole year of 2015 was when Najib should have been brought down if he could be brought down. Once you enter into 2016 the tide turned and the hunter now became the hunted.

Very few Malaysians, even those pro-Umno or Barisan Nasional-friendly, would disagree that 2015 was the critical year for Najib. Many did not expect Najib to survive 2015, mainly because Mahathir was out to get him and no one thus far has escaped Mahathir’s wrath. And they knew if Najib could survive Christmas and celebrate New Year’s Day 2016 in Putrajaya, then he is unshakable and will survive all the way till the 14th General Election and beyond. Then Najib can retire on his terms and only when he is ready to retire and not a second sooner.

It is in Mahathir’s DNA to go for everybody and try to get rid of them so Najib was well-prepared to make sure he does not end up like all the others

Najib knew that Mahathir was like a scorpion on your back. Hence you do not place the scorpion on your back to cross the river because halfway across it would sting you even if it has to also die in the process. If you ask that scorpion why it stung you when it is also going to drown, it would reply, “It is what I do.”

So that is what Mahathir is. He attacked the first Prime Minister right up to the current Prime Minister and he goes through Deputy Prime Ministers faster than you can change your underwear. It is what Mahathir does. He gets rid of people. And Najib knew that it is not a question of if but a question of when: when will Mahathir begin to make his move and try to get rid of him.

And this was Anwar Ibrahim’s greatest mistake. Up to 24 hours before Mahathir made his move on him he still believed nothing was going to happen and that he would inherit Mahathir’s throne. Many, however, knew that Anwar’s demise was about to come and it appeared like only Anwar did not realise that.

Mahathir made his move on Abdullah Badawi because Khairy was an obstacle to Mukhriz’s rise up the Umno ladder

Najib also knew that one of the reasons Mahathir made his move on Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi was because of Khairy Jamaluddin, who was an obstacle to Mukhriz’s rise up the Umno ladder. So, if Najib wants to be safe, he must make sure that Mukhriz wins an Umno Vice President’s seat or else Mahathir is going to sharpen his knife and come for him.

Soon after the 2013 general election Mahathir already sent a signal to Najib that he is walking on thin ice. It was not yet a shot but a mere display of intentions. The message to Najib is he is on notice and if Mukhriz does not win the Umno party election and becomes an Umno Vice President then Najib had better prepare himself for an attack.

Mukhriz did not win an Umno Vice Presidency so that means Mahathir will now carry out his threat and start attacking Najib. It is now no longer if. It is when and how. Najib must no longer have any illusion that Mahathir would not make his move. So the only thing Najib can do is to decide when and how this move is going to be made.

Mahathir was sore that Najib did not help Mukhriz win an Umno Vice President’s seat

That is basically the strategy of Sun Tzu. Never engage the enemy on his battleground and fight on his terms. Draw the enemy into your battleground and you decide when and how the battle should be fought. The attack from Mahathir is imminent. There is no doubt about that. The thing Najib must now decide is how to make sure that Mahathir attacks on his terms. And it has to be an attack on something or an issue that Najib can control.

When the behind-the-scenes attack on 1MDB started in 2013, Najib knew that this is what Mahathir is going to use as his battleground. They sabotaged the IPO and blocked the bank loans to 1MDB. And Bank Negara was not acting alone but was doing the bidding of certain powers that had control over Bank Negara and could tell them what to do. And Mahathir’s fingerprints were everywhere.

So that is what Mahathir is going to use, 1MDB. Knowing that, Najib now had to decide from which angle the attack is going to come. When Muhyiddin Yassin went to see Mahathir to discuss 1MDB and how that can be used to attack Najib, and hopefully bring him down the very latest by July 2015, Najib knew what the game plan was and how to beat Mahathir at his own game.

They started the official attack with Khairuddin Abu Hassan’s police report in December 2014. Then Mahathir announced that RM42 billion of 1MDB’s money had “disappeared into thin air.” At that point Najib knew they were on the wrong track. If this is the angle they are going to use then it is a dead end and will end up nowhere.

Khairuddin fired the opening shot in December 2014, which was supposed to trigger Najib’s downfall by July 2015

Najib decided to not respond. He would just keep quiet and allow them to continue navigating up this dead end. If Najib responds then he would be tipping them off and they might shift the angle of attack. So better he keeps quiet and allow them to keep harping on the same issue, knowing that the issue was going nowhere.

Najib could have shown that the government invested only RM1 million and not RM42 billion in 1MDB. He could also have shown that the RM42 billion is bank borrowings backed by RM51 billion worth of assets. But that would only make Mahathir change his angle of attack or drop the 1MDB issue altogether and look for another vehicle to use. Since Mahathir had chosen to use 1MDB and since he is using the wrong angle then better let him continue in his ignorance and keep feeling that he has got a gold mine when it actual fact it is only fool’s gold.

Most people were puzzled by Najib’s reaction, or in this case lack of reaction. It would have been so easy for Najib to counter Mahathir and silence him once and for all. So why did he not do that? If Najib did that then Mahathir would move on and look for something else to use. And no one knows what that issue will be. So better allow Mahathir to continue with 1MDB and not tip him off that he is flogging a dead horse.

Mahathir was so obsessed with 1MDB that he had no time to think of anything else. The 1MDB issue had become like a disease for Mahathir. It was a sort of fatal attraction. And the more Mahathir got bogged down by the 1MDB issue the more it freed Najib to focus on other things. After all, Mahathir was not bringing out any new things regarding 1MDB but was harping on the same old points again and again.

So, while Mahathir’s wheels spun and spun and just got buried deeper into the mud, Najib was running free doing all sorts of other things and was managing the country and implementing and launching projects, the new MRT being just one of the many. As they say, when you are sinking, stop revving your engine. You will never get clear of the mud and instead will only sink deeper and get stuck tighter. And while Mahathir was buried up to his chest in the 1MDB issue and could not move forward or backward or extricate himself from the quagmire he got himself into, Najib was free to do what he wanted.

Mahathir was so upset that by December 2015 Najib was still in office that he could no longer hide his feelings

By then Mahathir should have realised that Najib had played him for a sucker. However, Mahathir thought he still had the upper hand and had Najib on the run. If not why did Najib not defend himself and prove Mahathir wrong? That would have been so easy to do but Najib did not do it. And he did not do it because he wanted Mahathir to continue flogging the dead horse and not abandon it and go looking for a new horse to ride.

It was brilliant. Najib played Mahathir for a sucker and the old man did not realise it. Now, of course, he realises it, which is why he is tying to downplay the 1MDB issue and move on to the Scorpene submarine issue. But it is already too late. Mahathir had tied his entire fortune to the 1MDB horse and that horse proved to be a donkey, and a dead one at that too. It is too late to change horses in midstream, as what we wrote in the article ‘It Was Mokhzani And Daim, Not Najib, Who Mooted The Submarine Deal’ (READ HERE).

Mahathir is so predictable. You know what he is going to do before he even opens his mouth. In that sense Mahathir is very consistent. He is even consistent in his inconsistency. He is so consistently inconsistent that you know he will say whatever suits the issue of the day even if that is the opposite to what he said the day before or 50 years ago.

One very consistent thing about Mahathir is he is like a dog with a bone. Once he sinks his teeth into something he never lets go. He will clamp his teeth tight and growl and growl. And that is what he did to Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and now to Najib as well. He also did the same to Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Tun Musa Hitam, Anwar Ibrahim, etc.

That is Mahathir’s style and Najib knows it. If Mahathir decides he wants to use the Crooked Bridge issue to oust Abdullah he would go on and on about it and travel the whole of Malaysia talking about the same issue for two or three years non-stop until Abdullah is ousted. And this is precisely what he is doing with the 1MDB issue as well, which Najib knew would happen.

So never take away the bone from a growling dog. If not it may bite you or just go looking for something else. Allow that dog to keep biting that bone and let it continue growling because a growling dog with a bone in its jaws has no time to bite you. And that was what Najib did to Mahathir. He allowed Mahathir to bite into the 1MDB issue and keep barking and barking and in the meantime Najib ran the country and implemented all those things he had in mind.

Mahathir should have taken the cue from Tan Seng Giaw who said that there is no evidence to implicate Najib in any wrongdoing involving 1MDB. Seng Giaw is a member of the PAC and he knows what they investigated and discussed during the PAC meetings. He knows that what Mahathir is saying has no merit and is based on insinuations and conjecture.

Justo had revealed that the documents which Sarawak Report and The Malaysian Insider published were doctored

Xavier Andre Justo also revealed that the documents which The Malaysian Insider and Sarawak Report published were doctored and that the originals that he stole and sold to them were different. He also said he was not the one who doctored those documents. That should have already tipped Mahathir off that he was walking on extremely thin ice but he mistook Najib’s silence as an admission of guilt. And that was why Mahathir refused to drop the 1MDB issue even with so many warnings that he may be heading for a dead end.

Even if what Seng Giaw and Justo said are not strong enough, the fact that Barisan Nasional won the Kuala Kangsar and Sungai Besar by-elections and the Sarawak state elections should already have indicated that the 1MDB issue is not working.

Seng Giaw said there is no evidence to implicate Najib in any wrongdoing regarding 1MDB

The trouble with Mahathir is he is very poor at history. The way he talks and what he says already proves that. If not Mahathir would have known how Stalin defeated Hitler and Wellington defeated Napoleon.

Hitler should have attacked Moscow but he thought that Stalingrad, which carries Stalin’s name, makes a better target since it is the jewel in the crown. Hitler could have walked into Moscow with little resistance, like Napoleon did 200 years earlier, but he made the mistake of attacking Stalingrad instead and lost 400,000 of his elite troops.

For all intents and purposes, that was the beginning of the end for Hitler and it was because he played into Stalin’s hands by attacking the city that Stalin wanted him to attack rather than the city he should be attacking. And this was the same mistake Napoleon made when he faced Wellington at Waterloo. Napoleon’s army got bogged down in Waterloo and the delay allowed the Prussians to reinforce the British, thus outnumbering the French army. It was a wrong choice of battleground that cost the French the war.

And this is the same as what Mahathir did. He attacked 1MDB when he should have attacked something else instead and Najib allowed him to do that because then he was going to get bogged down like Hitler was in Stalingrad and Napoleon was in Waterloo. To Hitler, Stalingrad is Stalin’s symbol and that is why it must be attacked. To Mahathir, 1MDB is Najib’s symbol and that is why it must be attacked. Stalingrad was Hitler’s downfall, Waterloo Napoleon’s downfall, as 1MDB is Mahathir’s.