Pakatan Harapan may need to turn to Dr Mahathir again

(FMT) – Two political analysts speculate that Pakatan Harapan (PH) will work with Dr Mahathir Mohamad again if it has to despite recent revelations that paint an unflattering picture of the former prime minister.

Commenting especially on Mahathir’s apparent unwillingness to let his erstwhile deputy, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, take up the post of interim prime minister after he resigned last year, the analysts said PH would ignore his behaviour for the sake of political expediency.

They were referring to a disclosure made in former attorney-general Tommy Thomas’ memoirs.

According to Thomas, Mahathir submitted his own name for the post of interim prime minister when he learned that his resignation had prompted the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to consider appointing Wan Azizah to the post.

Kartini Aboo Talib of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Azmi Hassan, formerly of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, told FMT they believed PH would not shun Mahathir if he could help it win the next general election.

Kartini acknowledged that PH might see its 22 months of working with Mahathir as a bitter experience, but she said the coalition’s leaders were aware of his ability to attract voters, as seen in the 2018 general election.

Azmi said PH leaders must have known that the King wanted PKR’s Wan Azizah to be the interim prime minister.

Thomas’ revelation would therefore not make any new dent on the relationship between the coalition and Mahathir, he said. “PH and PKR have always been wary of Dr M, but their political tie-up was a way of using one another.”

But he said the PKR grassroots might have been unaware of Mahathir’s disdain of their party and would view the revelation negatively.

Azmi also said the general public would now probably speculate that Malaysia’s political situation would be more stable if Wan Azizah had been made interim prime minister.

PKR deputy information chief G Manivannan said Mahathir might have angered voters with his abrupt resignation and PH needed to carry out a careful study before considering any new cooperation with him.

“PKR has been bitten by Mahathir too many times,” he said. “It may not be a good idea to go back to Mahathir again for GE15.

“We have to talk to the grassroots for their views and read comments in social media to know the ground sentiment.”