November 23, 2019.
Recollections & Reflections
DRAMA is never too far away from Malaysian politics and it is thus not surprising that in recent days we have seen a fair bit of it, especially after the Barisan Nasional’s trouncing of the ruling Pakatan Harapan in the Tanjung Piai by-election but not entirely because of it.
Since some months ago three politicians don’t seem to be able to avoid getting embroiled in the gossips and rumours but while one is a party leader who is unlikely to be sanctioned solely due to his position as its president, it does make one wonder why someone like PKR deputy president Azmin Ali and former Umno vice-president Hishammuddin Hussein have been allowed to seemingly act against the interests of their parties remain free of any disciplinary action.
While it shows indecisiveness on the part of the respective parties’ leadership, this could also be why the intrigues never seem to end, which in turn makes the ordinary Malaysian seek and tired of their shenanigans which are seen as a major distraction that makes any effort to focus on the more important economic issues less effective because of the time needed to douse these fires.
There was this dinner meeting at Azmin’s house that was attended by Umno MPs plus a few PKR MPs and not surprisingly different people have given different versions as to what it was all about, with the one about forwarding requests for financial assistance to some BN parliamentary constituencies perhaps the most ludicrous. Since when have MPs, regardless in the government or opposition, make a house call on a minister for something like this? Even if that was why they met, why should at least two PKR members of the administration be present when what was supposedly being requested had nothing to do with their portfolios?
Mahathir has now told us what Azmin had told him about what transpired but a group of seven Umno MPs from that dinner group have issued a statement that fundamentally differs from Mahathir’s statement.
In between these statements Hishammuddin denied being the man who made that meeting possible but given what he had been said to be involved in these last several months plus significantly, the recent declaration that he was ready to be prime minister, makes his denial sound so unconvincing.
That plus talk that flowed out of Hishammuddin’s recent meeting with Johor Umno leaders which said that he would be offered the job by Mahathir so long as he can first oust former Umno president Najib Razak and current president Zahid Hamidi into oblivion as part of efforts to clean up Umno. A meeting with MPs from another southern state is said to be next.
Any PM aspirant must first clear the hurdle within his own party
Easier said than done this offer because Hishammuddin will first have to win enough support from Umno, followed by support from parties in Pakatan. Who amongst the latter will want to give way to Hishammuddin but if the man himself thinks that he is in with a chance only because Mahathir is the one who wants him as the chosen one, Hishammuddin must be the type that believes pigs can fly.
Meanwhile Anwar has publicised again on social media a photo of a recent meeting at Mahathir’s office, where both were reported to have again pledged not to waiver from the succession plan endorsed by the Pakatan presidential council before GE14.
Many people interpret this as Anwar’s obsession with wanting to be Malaysia’s PM8.
But for someone who’s been involved in mainstream politics on and off since 1982 surely Anwar knows that to reach the country’s top political office, he first needs strong support from his party and this for now remains a grey area, with a sizeable number of those holding office and also ordinary members placing their faith in Azmin.
Assuming that he does get far enough to be nominated as prime minister-elect, this split in PKR may be just the stumbling block his rivals would like to see thwart Anwar’s ambition to be PM8. He can still swing the vote among MPs to favour him but to achieve this he will need support from PAS and Umno especially and for years, many in both parties have said that they don’t trust Anwar.
There is also now a countdown at Facebook on the days remaining for Anwar to eventually become PM8 – on May 9, 2020 that is, exactly two years to the day after GE14. Don’t be surprised that if asked, Anwar will deny having anything to do with this but the inside information is that his office indeed has a role in the countdown.
Talk about political ambition – and obsession.