Rumours are flying around KL that the former PM Dr Mahathir has finally agreed to support the failing rebel backdoor coup government, which came to power after he astonishingly resigned last year on the eve of a pandemic that has ravaged the country, largely owing to the collapse of governance that ensued.
As a result of his February 2020 antics ‘Dr M’ went from hero to zero in the eyes of the majority of Malaysians who had valued his role in turfing out a decades long corrupted mafia BN/UMNO regime, which he had once tellingly led himself.
Ever since, the nonagenarian has apparently sought to rescue his legacy. However, it seems, only on his own terms rather than through supporting others. He still believes he can be in charge and it now appears that in order to save their plunging and discredited coup administration (led by a man now hiding in hospital) PN’s leadership have come up with a formula to satisfy him.
For weeks, following the abject failure of his original plan to set himself up in charge of a ‘National Government’ which would have enabled him to dispense with all the leaders of the political parties on which his victory and government had relied in order to effectively rule Malaysia on his own, Mahathir has pushed the concept of a ‘National Recovery Council’ to rescue the nation from the Covid mess. It is largely a mess of his own making.
Now, over the past few days, it seems that in order to save the PN administration (Dr M with the support of his faithful Shafie controls 15 seats) the coup leaders have decided to buy the old man with what he wants. They appear to have offered him the job of Leader of a National Recovery Council.
Signals of the settlement came with a request to visit by the unelected Finance Minister (appointed as a pal of the Agong) which the old man boasted of last week. Simultaneously, his new party of 4 Pejuang, which was for weeks denied its basic registration by the politically controlled Register of Societies, has suddenly been awarded its ‘right to exist’ (such is the lame nature of Malaysian ‘democracy’).
Rumours now abound that Dr M will be appointed to ‘lead the recovery’ and in return his newly-minted party of four, plus Warisan, will support PN.
It is not hard to see how this would satisfy the vision in an old man’s mind about how to secure his legacy once more and to establish himself back as the national leader in all but name – particularly since the appointed one is pretending either not to be seriously ill or pretending to be a sufficiently ill, out of sight in hospital.
In the midst of raging chaos and incompetence (caused by him) Dr M could thus step back onto the national stage and initiate the basic vaccination effort that is needed to curtail the crisis. He could enjoy prime-time TV appearances giving his daily updates and dispensing calm, whilst doing the obvious that PN have avoided up to now, which is to roll out jabs.
He plainly envisages a grateful nation a year from now, relieved to have been saved once more by the authority and brilliance of the only man who can lead the country – as he sees it, since he has refused to hand over to anyone else, whether elected or not, to do so.
And what do PN get out of it? Whilst the old man is enjoying his craving for the limelight and posing once more as the man in charge, PN can see the path for their collapsed administration to carry on for another stint through this distraction, during which time they can all continue to play the part of ministers and complete their plans for plundering what’s left of the country’s natural resources and in the public coffers.
Meanwhile, businesses will continue to flee and the population will plunge further into poverty. By 2023 the electorate might get their chance to vote out the lot of them. But by that stage the coffers will be empty, the landscape denuded and all the cash spirited abroad. Mission completed.
One deluded old man will be left believing that he has rescued his reputation for the annals of history. We await the announcement of a National Recovery Council to be headed by Mahathir Mohamad.