Here’s Why Mahathir Did What He Did, And Isn’t Worry About UMNO-PAS Alliance

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Feb 14 2019
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Mahathir, now popularly known as the garbage collector by even critics within the Pakatan Harapan coalition, has done something a normal leader would not dare do. He had just recruited seven defecting opposition UMNO Member of Parliament, otherwise known as frogs. For his abnormal and stubborn action, the 93-year-old man has been condemned until the kingdom comes.


But the old man isn’t any ordinary leader. He knew he would be called a traitor, or other nastier names, for welcoming ex-UMNO scumbags like Shabudin Yahaya – infamous for advocating that rape victims can marry their rapist. Shabudin had also promoted child marriages, arguing that girls as young as nine were “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage.


Has Mahathir suddenly become a strong supporter of child marriages, which sex maniac Shabudin, a former Shariah Court judge, said was perfectly alright? As far as the world’s oldest prime minister is concerned, he couldn’t care less whether the seven UMNO MPs have really repented or just hopping over to enjoy immunity and free projects.

Shabudin Yahaya - Member of Parliament for Tasek Gelugor - OK For Rapist

To the Malaysian leader, it’s the end justifies the means that matters. Hence, shaming him as a rubbish collector will not make him lose sleep over the recruitment of the former UMNO MPs. He had already dethroned his protégé-turned-nemesis Najib Razak. His mission was accomplished. Whatever he is going to do next are considered as a bonus.


His party – PPBM (Bersatu) – now has 22 MPs, becoming the fourth biggest party. Once laughed off as a mosquito party within the Pakatan Harapan coalition with only 13 seats, it is now bigger than opposition PAS Islamic Party (18 seats). UMNO, once the dominant ruling government, is now left with only 37 MPs, down from 54 MPs after the 14th General Election on May 9th last year.


The premier would be one very happy old man if he could continue to steal more MPs from UMNO to strengthen PPBM. His priority is the survival of his party as it struggles with ethnic Malay support. He can’t hand over a half-dead party for his son, can he? Time is a commodity Mahathir doesn’t have much left. And there’s no assurance PM-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim will not reverse everything after he took over.

Mahathir Mohamad and Mukhriz Mahathir

Well, Mahathir had better hope and pray that all the UMNO crooks and frogs he welcomed into his party will not rebel and do a reverse take over instead. He would have no one to blame but himself if one day he suddenly discovers PPBM no longer under the control of his dynasty, leaving his son – Mukhriz Mahathir – wandering in the wilderness without a base.


Of course, to the critics, the old prime minister can also justify that his mission of recruiting ex-UMNO MPs – most of them highly corrupted – is to achieve the two-thirds super-majority in Parliament to fulfil the key reforms promised by the Pakatan government, including imposing a term limit on the prime ministership to prevent dictatorship and abuse of power.


The coming Semenyih by-election will be the battleground to see if PPBM is still a force to be reckoned with. As former PM Najib’s popularity continues skyrocketing among the Malays unhappy with Mahathir administration, the premier should prepare for the possibility of a humiliating defeat. Even if PPBM could retain the state constituency, a razor-thin majority win would spell trouble for Mahathir.

Najib Razak - Malu Apa Bossku

But if that’s true, the more reason for the prime minister to escalate the hiring of UMNO frogs. He needs the number to boast and brag that even UMNO MPs are jumping ship for his party. Like it or not, herd mentality still exists among the 68% Malay voters in Semenyih. They like to be associated with the winner and will flock to the party with “bigger gang members.”


Still, even a defeat in Semenyih by-election does not necessarily mean an automatic defeat for the Pakatan Harapan government in the 15th general election in 2023. Mahathir knew that a by-election and a nationwide election are two very different animals. That’s why he could tolerate all types of minor nonsense, including the “fake degree” fiasco that hit one of his warlords.


Mahathir is also betting that the Pakatan Harapan would most likely win the next 15th general election again. As long as there isn’t any major scandal as massive as Najib’s 1MDB scandal, theoretically people would vote back the Pakatan government. At the end of the day, people will ask themselves: is Pakatan Harapan’s 5-year administration worse than Barisan Nasional’s 61-year regime?

Mahathir Mohamad - Blue Suit 2

His administration also realise that bread and butter will always be the determining factor in any election. A hungry man is an angry man. Frustrated at the snail pace his ministers were at boosting the economy, Mahathir set up the Economic Action Council (EAC) to receive feedback and advice from experts and former experienced ministers.


More importantly, the premier can afford to be a little cocky because he knew despite the so-called UMNO-PAS alliance; the opposition’s collaboration would come to an abrupt end before the next general election could even be called. That’s because both UMNO Malay nationalist party and PAS Islamic party will be fighting tooth and nail for the same slice of cheesecake.


UMNO and PAS will not be able to agree to the territorial dispute – seats allocation – because both racist and extremist parties are targeting the same Malay vote-bank. In fact, a defeat in Semenyih for Mahathir’s PPBM might be a blessing in disguise after all. Critics would get the satisfaction of seeing the arrogant Mahathir eats his humble pie, forcing the leader to rethink about recruiting more ex-UMNO MPs.

PAS-UMNO-Barisan Nasional Alliance - Flags

In the same breath, it would encourage UMNO and PAS to aggressively fight in their territorial negotiations and in the process cannibalising each other. A victory in Semenyih by-election for UMNO-PAS will also force both parties to be more racist and extreme, forcing the Sabah and Sarawak to distance themselves further from UMNO and align with the moderate Pakatan.


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