Commentary Politics

It’s the power that makes politicians to want more

Me or him?

Written by Aziz Hassan

June 19, 2017.

Recollections & Reflections – A weekly column

ON paper and given the circumstances, it looks like a piece of cake, with no contentions, no signs of a scramble for positions (and hence, power) but in reality that’s what the opposition has had to deal with since some months back.

In the Third world especially, that’s what political power does to people, and leaders are notorious for refusing to let it go and enjoy life in retirement.

In the case of Pakatan Harapan, an offshoot of what used to be Pakatan Rakyat but now without PAS, this is an issue that refuses to get off the monkey’s back.

Trace back developments in the last several months and you will see clearly that it has everything to do with Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia, the party initiated by former prime minister and Umno president Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad.

It also has everything to do with where Mahathir wants himself to fit into the coalition.

That Pribumi Bersatu, the new kid on the block in Pakatan, has been flexing its muscles and most recently thinks that its two main leaders should also bet at the top of the Pakatan pile, hasn’t gone down well with others in the coalition. Understandably so.

Now the de facto opposition leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, has issued a statement that can be interpreted any which way you want.

Cunning fella….

He doesn’t categorically state that he doesn’t want to be prime minister if the opposition wins the next general election but rather that he won’t offer himself to be the PM. In the same breath he mentions that the choice should be by consensus, as was practised by the old Pakatan.

No prizes for those who guess correctly who will be the choice of PM if left to others in Pakatan, with the exception of course of Pribumi Bersatu.

Anyone trying to understand what it is that makes Mahathir still an active participant in Malaysian politics at the age of 91 may want to revisit the question-and-answer session conducted by his own boys and put up at You Tube at the end of May.

Amongst other things, Mahathir said that he expected to be consulted by the government on various issues since he had the experience of being prime minister for 22 years.

People say that Mahathir is knowledgeable and is a widely read person but still, that statement says it all about what he thinks he is in the wider scope of Malaysian politics.

Another suit by DoJ and still no charges

Just as you thought you had seen most of it, the United States Department of Justice has filed yet another civil suit to try and recover assets alleged to have been acquired from money stolen from 1MDB.

Yes, you cannot argue that every thief must be punished and for this, Malaysians must consider themselves lucky to have a foreign agency that is truly concerned that the interest of Malaysians should be looked after and whatever stolen money rightfully returned to our shores.

The problem is a year after filing its first suit on the same, the multiple agency approach led by the DoJ has yet to seize or forfeit anything. Mind you, during the first press conference to announce its decision in July last year, then Attorney-General Loretta E. Lynch was flanked by representatives of the FBI and various big name attorneys.

The question is if they can be so specific about the items that had been acquired by blokes like Jho Low and friends, why haven’t they filed criminal suits?

It’s not only in the US that not much seems to be happening apart from the suits, investigations in several other jurisdictions, including Switzerland, have not unearthed anything much either and it has been many, many months since the investigators were said to have started work.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore a few weeks ago stated that it had completed its two-year investigation into fund flows linked to 1MDB after imposing fines against two more banks.

Does this mean there’s nothing more that can be expected from there vis-à-vis any wrongdoing linked to 1MDB funds?





About the author


Aziz Hassan

A journalist since July 1976 with both the English and Malaya press and was with two newspaper groups before The Mole. Does corporate report-writing and translation in his free time. Currently also a contributing weekly rugby columnist for the New Straits Times.