Mahathir and Syed Saddiq: Broken up or just ‘gone separate ways’ in a clever political game?

Zainal Epi, MMO

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Syed Saddiq seem to have parted ways.

Or have they?

Mahathir has already launched his own Parti Pejuang Tanah Air (Pejuang) while Syed Saddiq announced plans to start his own youth-centric party.

The former prime minister’s reaction to Syed Saddiq’s plan was not anger but a comment that it would not succeed and the latter’s reply was he accepted criticism with an open heart.

On the surface, they still seem to be friendly with each other. After all, Syed Saddiq was in Slim campaigning for Pejuang’s Amir Khusyairi Mohamad Tanusi.

One speculation is Mahathir has merely “loosened” ties with his former youth and sports minister so he can round up young and first-time voters who could help give him that winning edge come GE15.

Some observers say they may be trying out a new “game” in the “new normal” as new, young voters numbering some seven million will play an important part come the next general election.

Spread throughout the country, these young voters may be attracted to a young and vibrant party that matches their idealism — such as corruption-free, zero nepotism, more freedom of expression and many more “new” philosophies.

While Syed Saddiq focuses on these voters, Mahathir will continue with his fight to “rehabilitate” and round up older voters.

Without these combined efforts to funnel new and old voters into one channel, Mahathir’s plans to be kingmaker may just be a far-off dream.

Mahathir’s plans may cause a little uneasiness among leaders in the ruling Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) — he was among its founding members after all — as they are still facing internal problems.

Mahathir, as former chairman of Bersatu, still wields some influence in the party.

The veteran politician knows where — and what — to hit. Sure, the blows may not be fatal but they will have some effect.

Given his shrewd political ways, it is not surprising if he really gave Syed Saddiq the green light for a new party for new and young voters.

In short, Mahathir and Syed Saddiq’s relationship may actually not be broken… they may be working together for the final assault against their “enemies” come the next general election.