What’s behind Dr M’s joust with Tony Pua?
Could it be that Dr M is playing to the Malay gallery, subtly telling them that, except for smug dudes like Tony Pua, the DAP is all right to work with? In this view, Dr M is looking towards a post-GE15 scenario in which neither Barisan Nasional nor Pakatan Harapan, nor even Perikatan Nasional, will emerge in an electorally commanding position.
Terence Netto, Free Malaysia Today
The spat between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tony Pua that has been sparking in the political arena the past few days is interesting for what it may suggest about the former prime minister’s motives.
The public will not get any the wiser about the issues involved in the kerfuffle because Mahathir is not an elucidator.
Only when his cause stands to benefit will he endeavour to explain his side of a controversy.
In that event, he can be lucid, and his would often be the more persuasive presentation vis-à-vis his interlocutor’s.
At other times, he is apt to bring up an issue in bits and pieces, dribs and drabs, to serve an ulterior purpose he nurses, a purpose that may not be evident to observers at the outset of the skirmish he is engaged in.
Dr M always has a purpose, but won’t tell, for Dr M’s craft is essentially Machiavellian. That necessarily means gaining one’s purpose by stealth and surprise; elaborate explanations are reckoned unnecessary and self-defeating.
By the third round of the exchanges he has had with Tony Pua, it’s quite obvious that Dr M’s aim is to paint Tony Pua as arrogant.
Why he would want to do so at this juncture is not easy to surmise.
But we can be sure he has a purpose, especially when he takes care, in tandem with his deprecation of Pua, to say good things about Pua’s boss, Lim Guan Eng, about the latter’s deference towards Dr M as head of the 22-month Pakatan Harapan administration.
Could it be that Dr M is playing to the Malay gallery, subtly telling them that, except for smug dudes like Tony Pua, the DAP is all right to work with?
In this view, Dr M is looking towards a post-GE15 scenario in which neither Barisan Nasional nor Pakatan Harapan, nor even Perikatan Nasional, will emerge in an electorally commanding position.
This would allow smaller parties like Dr M’s Pejuang, Warisan and a slew of midgets, including Muda perhaps, to make strategic alliances that would conjure them a place in a ruling coalition.
The DAP’s presence and support would be vital to such a coalition taking power.
Although DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has dismissed the possibility of a third Mahathir stint as prime minister, there is no ruling out that the nonagenarian is strategising to return to the fore.
After he first retired as prime minister in late 2003, Dr M took seven years to write his first book of memoirs, A Doctor in The House, which came out in late 2010.
A purposeful man, Dr M was understandably desultory in the production of his first memoir.
He had no need to explain himself and didn’t feel called to rescue the country.
However, it has taken less than two years after his second round (May 2018-Feb 2020) as prime minister to publish a memoir of the stint, entitled Capturing Hope: The Struggle Continues for a New Malaysia, which was launched yesterday.
Dr M’s swiftness this time is indicative of his purpose, which is self-exculpation in the face of a widespread inclination among Pakatan Harapan supporters to blame him for the collapse of their 22-month government.
On the heels of this exculpation is a desire for self-projection as being, once again, the repository of hope for a better future for Malaysia.
Capturing Hope purportedly makes the case for his helplessness, burdened by the arrogance of others such as Tony Pua, in wrestling with the forces ranged against the success of his second coming as prime minister.
There are a lot of gullible people in Malaysia — witness the slogan, “Malu apa, bossku” (What’s there to be ashamed of?).
But the notion of Dr M as rescuer of the country for a third time will get one laughed out of every saloon in the country.
No arrogance in asserting this, plainly.