Megat Junid Megat Ayub, who I first met just over 30 years ago — (I last met him in June 2006, 18 month before he died) — once told me that when it comes to Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad you must not focus on what he says. You must focus on what he does. Furthermore, when Mahathir says something he can actually mean the opposite.
Hence when Mahathir says something you need to dissect and analyse what he says and why is saying that. When Anwar Ibrahim heard that Mahathir was planning to get rid of him, he went to meet the old man to seek clarification. Mahathir told Anwar, “Aiyah, why do you listen to all these rumours? All these people know that you are my successor so they are jealous of you.”
To assure Anwar that he is safe, Mahathir even publicly announced that there are no problems between him and Anwar. What does he need to do to prove this, Mahathir asked, kiss Anwar in public? Then, two days later, Anwar was history when Mahathir exposed his sexual misdeeds to the whole world and got the Umno Supreme Council to pancung (behead) Anwar.
Later, during Anwar’s sodomy trial, Tun Mohammed Hanif Omar testified in court that Mahathir had known about Anwar’s sexual activities and misdeeds for a long time, many years before Mahathir ousted Anwar in September 1998. So why did Mahathir lie and pretend that there was nothing when all the time there was?
And that was most puzzling because just hours before Mahathir made his move on Anwar he had said that all those sodomy allegations against Anwar were false. Hanif, however, testified in court that Mahathir had known about it for a long time. I asked Pak Wan (Anwar’s father-in-law) about this and he told me that this is the way Mahathir works. It is his SOP.
Pak Wan said that Mahathir knows all about the sins and crimes that his people commit. He will not take action, though, never mind whatever you may have done. Then he will use your ‘thick file’ (and will let you know he has a thick file on you) so that he can keep you in line and make you do the things that he wants you to do. Pak Wan said that Mahathir’s SOP is to keep dark secrets of his people so that he can control them and make them do things.
And that would mean Muhyiddin Yassin never had a chance from the very beginning. In fact, when Muhyiddin was still the Menteri Besar of Johor, Mahathir already openly declared that Muhyiddin is his richest Minister. And everyone knew about Muhyiddin’s shady deals and how be became rich.
The ACA (now called MACC) had a thick file on Muhyiddin and was ready to move in and finish him off. Mahathir asked the ACA to hand him that file and to NFA (No Further Action) the case. Instead of sending Muhyiddin to jail, it is better that Mahathir have him on a tight leash so that one day he can use Muhyiddin.
Mahathir knew that Muhyiddin was tainted. And even better than Muhyiddin’s shady and corrupt deals was the long-term affair he was having with someone’s wife who is not even Muslim. To Malays-Muslims, this is a no-no. Not only are you having an affair with someone’s wife but a non-Muslim on top of that — who most likely eats pork and drinks liquor.
Anyway, now that that secret is already out in the open, Mahathir can no longer use that to control Muhyiddin. Blackmail is only of value if you put that person under threat and fear of exposure. People will follow your commands to protect that dark secret. But once that secret is no longer a secret then it is no longer of any value.
In a way Muhyiddin has just been freed. Since Mahathir can no longer use secrets to blackmail Muhyiddin (because there are no longer any secrets) he is no longer under Mahathir’s control. So in that sense we have done Muhyiddin a favour by making him a free man
And this has put Mahathir in a dilemma. His son Mukhriz still wants to become the Deputy Prime Minister so that he can later become the Prime Minister. However, as long as Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamid are both still in power, that is never going to happen. And even worse now considering that Muhyiddin and Mukhriz have both been sacked from Umno.
When Mahathir suffered his heart attack ten years ago in 2006, the doctors gave him a less than 50:50 chance of recovering. Against all odds, though, Mahathir recovered. It is said that against the backdrop of all this uncertainty Mukhriz told his father that he still needs him. Mukhriz told Mahathir he would not be able to make it without him.
So, more than ten years ago, Mukhriz had already planned to go all the way to the top — and he told his father so. And Najib knew this as well. And when Mukhriz kept failing every attempt to climb Umno’s ladder, they blamed Najib for ‘not helping’. They had expected Najib to make sure that Mukhriz reaches the top and eventually to the post of Najib’s Deputy Prime Minister.
When Mahathir realised that this is never going to happen and that Mukhriz would never become Deputy Prime Minister (and for sure never become Prime Minister) through the Umno route and with the help of Najib, Mahathir decided, at the behest of Mukhriz, to shift platforms and to try it through the opposition platform.
So Mukhriz has no problems for his father becoming a tool of the opposition as long as he eventually becomes the Deputy Prime Minister and later the Prime Minister. It is the least Mahathir could do for his son and to please his son and help his son achieve his objective of eventually becoming Malaysia’s Prime Minister.
So Mukhriz arranged for Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali to meet Mahathir in London in February last year with the hope that Pakatan Harapan would help oust Najib and replace him with Muhyiddin, who will then appoint Mukhriz as his Deputy. That was basically the game plan.
But with Muhyiddin and Mukhriz both now out of Umno what is Mahathir going to do? Is Mahathir going to do what DAP did, form a new party like PAN? Mukhriz thinks that Mahathir’s status as a statesman and ex-Prime Minister carries a lot of weight and can project whatever new party they form to great heights.
If that were so then the recent two by-elections would have not been so disastrous for ‘Team Mahathir’ considering that it was turned into a Mahathir versus Najib contest. And based on a Mahathir versus Najib contest clearly Mahathir got wiped out.
Mukhriz has reduced Mahathir to ridicule and impotency. Mahathir is surrounded by an equally bankrupt gulungan kecewa and an army of dedak-eaters. If this is what Mahathir has then Najib can just relax and go take a holiday because Mahathir is digging the hole even deeper.
Najib need not try too hard. All he needs to do is to cut off Mahathir’s limbs one by one (like what he has been doing the last 12 months since July last year) and eventually Mahathir would be an invalid in a wheelchair. As it is Mahathir has nowhere left to go except down. And when he finally touches bottom all his dedak-eaters would be grovelling in the dirt and not even have dedakleft to eat.