Malaysia’s Mahathir sidelines Coalition Partners

February 21,2019

Malaysia’s Mahathir sidelines  Coalition Partners

Image result for dr.mahathir mohamad

There is growing uneasiness in Malaysia that the ethnic chauvinism of the United Malays National Organization under Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad during his first 22 years in power is rising to overpower the platform of multiracialism and ending political corruption that defeated the country’s founding coalition last May 9.

Thus fears are growing that letting Mahathir lead the Pakatan Harapan coalition means the founding parties – Anwar’s PKR, the DAP and Amanah – are likely to soon find the entire camel in the tent with them despite their Reformasi platform.

Mahathir has come to dominate the coalition with ideas that drove the Barisan Nasional, the ruling national coalition, and UMNO, its main component, during his reign from 1981 to 2003. He has pushed through yet another national car plan even though his previous one, the ill-fated Proton, lost billions of dollars. He is squabbling with Singapore and backing the concept of Ketuanan Melayu over the objections of coalition partners, the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s own Parti Keadilan Rakyat, who favor a multi-ethnic government.

He has accepted eight former members of parliament who have crossed from the corruption-ridden and imploding UMNO into his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, with more possibly to come from the  East Malaysia state of Sabah.

“There’s a lot of resentment over the acceptance of these eight UMNO bozos and they are possibly going to accept several more in coming weeks,” said an annoyed Kuala Lumpur-based political analyst. “The coalition partners have expressed unhappiness, the same way the minor parties expressed unhappiness during the Barisan days – muted and sheepishly. None have the balls to vigorously stand up on principle against Mahathir.”

Mahathir, by far the country’s most popular political figure at age 93, is having none of it. He said earlier this week that he wouldn’t hesitate to abandon his coalition partners “if they are not loyal to the country.”

When the country’s 14th general election was held last year, Mahathir’s Parti Bersatu emerged with just 13 seats, compared with 47 for Anwar’s PKR and 42 for the DAP, with a handful of lesser parties making up the rest. With the defections from UMNO, Mahathir’s party has nearly doubled its seats in parliament to 22.

Image result for a. kadir jasin

Last October, Kadir Jasin, a former newspaper editor and longtime Mahathir ally, said as many as 40 former UMNO members might cross over to Parti Bersatu. That set alarm bells ringing, with the other coalition members, particularly Lim Kit Siang of the Democratic Action Party, raising a furor and putting a temporary stop to it. If indeed Parti Bersatu were to take in 40 additional members, that would make it by far the strongest party in the coalition.

Despite some concerns over nonagenarian forgetfulness, the Prime Minister appears to be as headstrong in his new incarnation – despite swearing fealty to democratic principles during the campaign to oust former Prime Minister Najib Razak – as he was during his reign as premier from 1981 to 2003.

Bloodletting in the new ruling coalition appears to have claimed several scalps including Nurul Izzah, Anwar’s daughter, who quit as vice president of PKR in December along with giving up her chairmanship of Keadilan Penang, reportedly in disgust over the political situation. Rafizi Ramli, the party secretary general, also appears to have been sidelined, with former Selangor Chief Minister Azmin Ali – a favorite who was appointed economics minister by Mahathir — now playing a leading role in Anwar’s own party.

Whether Anwar can emerge from the two-year sabbatical he promised is also unclear. He is not trusted by many including some in PKR, and thus the squabble for party primacy between Azmin and Rafizi.

Mahathir has never made a secret of his insistence of ethnic Malay primacy that characterized UMNO during his first 22 years in power. Since the election, he has repeatedly defended the concept of Malay rights, saying at a party assembly in December that “Malays feel that they must be protected and they feel this could only be done by their own race through politics. That is why a party comprising Malays and led by them needs to be formed.”

But the last time Mahathir tried that, he ended up with school systems and universities that simply passed Malays through without educating them, with a civil service that was choked with unneeded employees, with companies that carried dead weight on their payrolls.

It was Mahathir who sought to create a cadre of 100 super-rich bumis who in turn would help rural Malays into prosperity, much the way he envisioned driving the country into industrialization through massive projects. But once the privileged got rich, there was little incentive to share it with the kampungs, the Malay rural villages. Many of the state-backed companies eventually collapsed and for decades had to be supported by government institutions.

Anwar has been careful to say that Mahathir has changed his stripes. But Parti Bersatu bills itself as an “older and better version of UMNO” with no need to accept non-Malays. That appears to be a recipe for disaster.  It was UMNO in the fading days of the Barisan’s reign that kept the now-disgraced Najib Razak in power through massive bribes to party members.

Pakatan Harapan has made some progress towards multiracial government, with a highly respected ethnic Indian – Tommy Thomas – as attorney general, and Lim Guan Eng, the effective Chinese chief minister of Penang, as finance minister. It appears to be making steps towards cleaning up the judiciary, and it has arrested Najib and his grasping wife as well as others. But the coalition hasn’t helped its reformasi reputation with the discovery by opponents that at least five officials appear to have faked their university degrees.

But there is little doubt that there is an elemental inconsistency between Mahathir’s view of governance and that of the other component parties, and that Mahathir, through the sheer force of his will, is winning.

Nine months ago, country was euphoric and jubilant,” a disillusioned source said. “Today people refer to the new PH Government as ‘the bloody government.’  No more of this ‘New Malaysia’ stuff. You bring that up, people whack the shit out of you. Because there is no New Malaysia. There is only one Malaysia – the Malaysia that we have all allowed to exist, the old Malaysia, where corruption, cronyism, abuse of power is all justifiable in the name of national unity.”

13 thoughts on “Malaysia’s Mahathir sidelines Coalition Partners

  1. Dr. Mahathir’s recent moves are intended to strengthen his new Pribumi party by accepting crossovers from UMNO, and prevent Anwar Ibrahim from becoming his successor in 2 years’ time. He knows he knows he cannot trust the slick liberal pro-US democrat to protect the Malays. It is clear to me that Azmin Ali as Economics Minister will likely be his anointed successor and flag bearer. To his credit, Dr. Mahathir never hides the fact that he is a Malay nationalist in the traditions of Tun Razak, our second Prime Minister .–Din Merican

  2. Actually Din, there is no such thing as Pakatan Harapan. Never was. It was justa convenient label to scam us, the oblivious polity.

    It’s was and is, as Liew Chin Tong – the Bush-Jacketed Deputy MinDef Senator (hypocrite appointee!) said – a Mahatir-Bersatu/UMNO3 and Anwar’s-PKR/DAP/Amanah GE-14 cooperative. No Distributism, once Octo stepped into the PM’s breach. There is some truth in Kak Wan – the perpetual seat warmer’s, intended resignation as DPM, at the same time as her daughter’s fit of pique.

    Come what may, Azmin is no worthy successor to Octo. So I’d place my bets on Brader, as Octo rides into the sunset whatever his agenda is.. Otherwise Malusia will be a goner. Perhaps you have been partial to AA, but i’m no fan since the early 90’s when he was one of Brader’s SUSK.

    • Whichever way , most of ( our) political leaders are liars with little integrity or credibility or competency.

      There never had any ” worthy successor ” as long as Octo is PM/ in power because he, for 38 years (actually not 22 )had appointed and disposed them ( 4 (6 actually) DPMs and 2 PMs ,not for the benefits of the people/country but largely to advance his personal agendas/ interests, wealth in cohort with his cronies,leaving behind tons of scandalous messes he created, without credible or capable leaders to lead and clean up.

      His divisive and destructive governance would create bigger woes for the people.

      PH will sink with his leadership.

      People must keep a check on him and Anwar (if ever he become PM in 2 years time), and keep reminding them , that they are in transition. They must keep their promises to regain the trust LOST.

      Meanwhile, get down to work for the benefits of the people, train and lead by good examples to the new generation of leaders from the political divide, public and private institutions, so that in 5 -10 years time or earlier,

      So that the country can START ON A CLEAN SLATE.

      Then, there is hope for this country—HARAPAN
      Malaysia be blessed ?

  3. Leopards don’t change their spots… I guess we’ll have to wait until after MM expires before any meaningful change commences – but will it be too late?

    Such a let down after an amazing victory 😦

  4. The moment I saw the powerful natural unity , multi-ethnic and multi-religious platform of Bersih,which was the collective hope and aspirations of the people been hijacked by Mahathir, I deeply lamented that it was the beginning of the end of the New Malaysia.

    Each following move he had made, is a reflection of every dark spot that can never change of a Leopard.
    He can NEVER be Trusted.

    He is, in actual fact , ruled Malaysia for (22 + 16 )= 38 years, 22 years as Mahathir 1 , 15 years as Mahathir 2. (behind the scene), and 1 year presently as Mahathir 3——-all of which had mainly brought the country to this dired state of affairs.

    If he is not quickly checked , collectively by the people power wilfully, Malaysia future will look very bleak. His or his nominated candidate’s ultimate target will be the presidency of the created Umno 3 , which will also inherit the billions worth of Umno 2 ‘s cash and assets.

    My guess is, if allowed to continue his way, Mahathir 3 will likely left behind a much bigger mess he created for the past 38 years under his authoritarian rule.

    The nation’s next generations will suffer the insufferable through his insidious, systematic divisive and destructive way of governance.

    It will be the usual old wine with new Umno 3 bottle.!

    • In retrospective of the recent ” no confident vote” debacle , I think I had in one the many comments made in this blog late 2018, suggested a ” no confident vote ” with the people power to collectively check on his excesses “my way ” of governance.
      Nothing much will change.
      Harapan will be hopeless for next generation.

  5. On a more positive note, Welayu could at least come to the end, or a few second caste politicians could finally have the gut to run on what I have been yelling on this blog. I am unsure if it is Dato Din who has filtered out all the comments yelling at me. If it is not the case, there are indeed a few Melayu who still cares. As such, perhaps, this would be a good beginning. Defeating Tun Dr in the next election would be the most fitting parting gift for Tun Dr for his flawed divisive ideology.

  6. On not needing to loose hope, all the party hopping has not increase a single kiasu MP. On the contrary, it increases the chance of creation one not so kiasu MP for the good of the Melayu.

  7. Mahathir greatest wrong now is, just as created the kleptocracy that became Najib and Rosmah, he is creating political entitlement that will rebirth kleptocracy, power abuse that will still destroy this country.

    Mahathir do not get it. Its exemplified by his answer to Felda. He does not get it, Felda was never a real success and he never solved their problem of necessity to be good farmers. Now their options are very few when they need it most. Its not just Felda, but the country is the same, running out of options eventually from entitlement.

    Someone need to say it. Mahathir created Najib and Rosmah and he is doing it again

  8. Another way to look at what Mahathir and Bersatu/PH is doing is after they have borrowed from one lender, instead of paying their first loan, they are borrowing a second loan, plan to pay the second loan because its cheaper but not really planning to fully paid off the first loan that got it started.

    • Literally, a few years later, the next Tun Dr will be talking about Japan as the kiasu has borrowed from one to cover the previous hole, while enjoying the fun of putting the next generation more into serfdom.

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