Former Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad may kick his own self for not taking a total exit from the politics. The country was cheering after 22-year rule under Mahathir, who is often called a dictator by his critics, announced his exit. He was and still is a master politician who has beaten many of his rivals and sends them packing with their tails between their legs. Former PM Abdullah Badawi, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and Tengku Razaleigh are amongst the politicians who were defeated by Mahathir. But Mahathir is still very much in the political scene.
Time will tell if the old-man will have no choice but to give his final jab to current PM Najib Razak before the dictator, who is also known to promote corruption during his time, rests in peace. Heck, time is catching up and the 84-year-old Mahathir does not have the luxury of time to play Cat and Mouse. The old-fox may need to adopt Mike Tyson’s style of boxing – fast, ferocious and intimidating – in sending his opponent TKO or KO.
It’s a known fact that while Najib Razak is the official Prime Minister, nothing goes without a nod from his wife, Rosmah Mansor. And it’s a known fact that Mahathir is the actual UMNO Supreme Commander, pulling the strings from behind the curtains, in dictating the direction of the administration. Mahathir was not going to let Najib has a free-hand in piloting the country and in the process dismantle what he thought was his toy he built over 22-year-rule. Not after what his handpicked Badawi has done.
While Najib may have the time and patience to become Mahathir’s “yes-man”, at least until the old-man became totally senile in a couple of years, the ambitious Rosmah Mansor may have shown her middle-finger and asked the old dictator to fly-kite. Najib has the endurance but not a fighter as he was born with a silver spoon. On the other hand Najib’s wife is a fighter who couldn’t care less if she has to offend Mahathir in the process of freeing up Najib from his influence and control.
Hey, even the Singapore Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew paid a personal one-to-one visit to Rosmah during his visit to Malaysia not many moons ago, strengthening speculation that the country is at least run by Najib-Rosmah on a 50-50 stake (or rather 40-60 stake?) partnership. And when you own 50% stake in a “company” the last thing you wish to have is another guy entering your company freely telling your other partner what to do. Mahathir owed Najib’s father a great favour and now Najib is grateful to the senior but Rosmah does not have anything to do with the former PM.
The ghost of Malaysia Airline System’s (KLSE: MAS, stock-code 3786) RM8 billion scandal has re-emerge, again. And you don’t have to be a scientist to connect the dots on why despite punching a huge hole of losses in the national carrier, Tajudin Ramli, the chairman of MAS from 1994 – 2001 is practically immune from prosecution. Powerful hands that walk the corridors of powers have indeed telling Tajudin to perform his “national service” again, this time against Mahathir.
Pre-1997 Crisis, Tajudin controlled 47% of now defunct Naluri which was given a special privilege to purchase a 32% controlling stake in MAS from Bank Negara (Central Bank) at RM8.00 a share as part of Mahathir’s “short-cut” plan to produce Malay entrepreneurs (or rather UMNO cronies?) overnight to rival Chinese conglomerates. All hell breaks loose when the economic crisis hit and it was the mother of bailouts when the government bought back the MAS shares at the same price of RM8.00 a share (for a total of RM1.8 billion) even though the market price was only at RM3.68 a share.
Faced with a RM589 million suit by Danaharta later, Tajudin Ramli has counter sued for RM13.46 billion and also drops the bombshells that he was directed by former prime minister Dr. Mahathir Mohamad and former finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin to buy shares in MAS to help Bank Negara recover from foreign exchange losses in 1994. Tajudin also claimed the transaction was a national service (and should be kept confidential) and he was only an agent of the Government and was assured by both Mahathir and Daim Zainuddin that he would not suffer any losses or be held liable for anything arising from his purchase of the MAS shares.
Now, by playing Tajudin’s story over and over again, it was hoped that Mahathir would receive the signal that it’s time to back-off from Najib’s administration. Obviously Tajudin is untouchable, at least for the time being, because he’s holding the balls of the once most powerful person in the country – Dr. Mahathir Mohamad. And there’re more corruptions and irregularities which Rosmah could expose.
Former PM Abdullah Badawi was stupid (not to mention sleeps on the job) enough to taint himself via his brother, Fahim Ibrahim’s deal, in 51% of MAS Catering purchase, which later re-sold to Lufthansa’s LSG Skychef at an inflated profit. Otherwise Badawi may still be the prime minister today if he can just threaten Mahathir (to shut-up) with his past irregularities and corruption practices.
Mahathir may have finally met his true rival – Rosmah Mansor. And the lady has stacks of files ready to be exposed such as Mahathir’s bailout of his son Mirzan’s MISC (Malaysia International Shipping Corporation) losses of RM1.7 billion using national piggy bank Petronas. At the moment Mahathir doesn’t know how to deal with Rosmah simply because the lady is not a politician. You can’t fight a war that you do not know much about your enemy. People might say Mahathir bullies a lady the age of her daughter if he openly attacks her.
Sure, Mahathir can scream at Najib until his lungs came out but then the PM may just play tai-chi and say he can’t do anything to control her, with tongue in cheek. It may be hard for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to nail Mahathir since he doesn’t have the access but it’s a totally different story for Rosmah. She just needs to say it and all the past dirty transactions during Mahathir’s rule would be on her next morning’s breakfast menu.
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