Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Invoking Trojan horse in PKR, but in UMNO, it failed again

Tension in PKR between Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Dato Seri Azmin Ali has escalated.

As Mahathir's Trojan horse to split PKR and keep him as PM, Azmin is playing the role well. Despite the overwhelming condition, he is still holding up.

Anwar's people claimed he has at best only 5 PKR seats in Parliament for support. But, Azmin claimed he has 20. His collaborator claimed it could be 15 or 16.

On the other hand, Mahathir's trojan horse in UMNO is not doing so well.

One UMNO key operative from the days of Dato Najib claimed Dato Mohammed Hassan was Mahathir's trojan horse in UMNO.

Unlike Azmin, he is not as strong and failed to play his role.

Mat Hassan confided to sources that he has no heart to carryout Mahathir's request to close UMNO and join PPBM. UMNO is his life, he claimed.

Even Zahid's boys believe he has U-turned. The same with other UMNO MPs that planned to jump ship to PPBM but have reviewed their move in view of Muafakat Nasional and more so, the collossol loss of PPBM at Tg Piai by-election.

The perception now is that the role Azmin played in PKR is now being played by Dato Hishamuddin Hussein Onn.

His supporters and propagandist claimed it is only realpolitik and necessary strategy for UMNO to regain power in government.

The MPs involved in his various moves are quite consistent in their stand to remain in UMNO. They could be among the many Trojan horses Mahathir planted in UMNO.

However, the UMNO operative still insist on Mat Hassan as the Trojan horse that will climb out at the time UMNO is in deep sleep.

That is his reading and steadfast opinion.

PKR Trojan

Obviously, the #1 in PKR is fighting his #2. Woman's wing is fighting the Chief. AMK is taking a different direction from the Chief.

AMK Chief office recently received a death threat and dead chicken. It could be for real or merely reverse psychology by Anwar's supporters.

It was Anwar's side made that made the move on Azmin by attempting to block Azmin from addressing the AMK annual meeting.

They attempted to remove Baru Bian as PKR Sarawak Chief, expelled Zuraidah's boys on corruption related allegation and offense, and threatened to expel both Azmin and Zuraidah.

The drums are beating at the Konvensyen Reformasi 2.0. The message is loud and clear that both Anwar faction in PKR and DAP are out to ouster Tun Dr Mahathir.

Anwar expect the position vacated by May 2020 or else, expect a Reformasi 2.0 upheaval.

With a hungry stomach phenomenon developing, and both police and millitary have their hands tied, it could lead to a peoples' revolution. Mahathir is unpopular and he could come out victorious.

Azmin is resisting and still boycotting PKR leaadership meetings. Baru Bian is still getting majority support among PKR Sarawak leaders.

Recent sabotage by PKR state assemblymen aligned to Azmin denied PKR the Malacca nomination for Senatorship.

Azmin have been flexing his muscle. Contrary to its Chief position, a faction in AMK has endorsed Mahathir.

Knowing the basis to expel Azmin and Zuridah could affect the likes of Rafizi and other Anwar supporters, both have challenged the leadership to expel them.

They two could be holding other cards to reveal.

Coincidently, before the current open quarrel in PKR, police announced that they are awaiting result of the Sandakan video from US firm.

With Dato Lokman Noor Adam able to secure positive identification from experts in the UK and Indonesia, that could be Mahathir's threat to Azmin to not attempt to betray him.

If Anwar succeeded to be PM, Azmin is highest on his list to face political persecution, above possibly Tun Daim and Mahathir and family.

Both ways Azmin is a dead duck.

Mahathir in desperation 

The Hisham boys claimed his political move and stunt to defend Mahathir and prevent Anwar from becoming PM was necessary.

Despite the party's Supreme Council decision that any dealing for UMNO with other political party must get their consemt, they claimed Najib and Zahid secretly agreed to his move.

In addition, the post-Tg Piai gathering of MPs at Azmin's home is not Hisham's doing but that of Azmin and Tan Sri Mokhzani as to prove to Mahathir they can bridge the link to UMNO.

More so, the UMNO MPs that appeared are not entirely from Hisham's faction as there are members of Dato Shahidan Kassim, and Khairy-Mat Hassan's factions present.

Perhaps, the Hisham's move could be discussed in another posting (if necessary). It is Mahathir's statement to spin the meeting that is interesting for interpretation.

Mahathir claimed Azmin said the UMNO MPs met him to express their unhappiness with their party. Sources that attended said they did not.

Mahathir said he is for UMNO if its name is not tarnished. One could read him as making overture to UMNO or adamant on closing UMNO to get members and leaders to join PPBM.

Off hand, the statement seemed to discredit the efforts of Azmin and Mokhzani.

It could also be him trying to potray himself as still in control. Apparently, someone close beyond the inner circle is claiming Mahathir is in no hurry.

The more astute political observers see it as Mahathir on desperation mode and trying to reach out to UMNO without begging for help. When in political mode, Mahathir would usually say one thing but do something else. 

And, Dato Ahmad Zahid could see it and gave Mahathir the respect to offer the crossover the opportunity to return.

That brought an angry reaction from UMNO grassroot as they see those crossover as traitors and weak hearted.

It is supposed to be the opportunity to emulate PAS to rejuvenate the party to bring up the second liners and offer new faces for GE15. Khairy could read that as he seemed to be doing a U turn from his earlier critical mode.

Many seemed to forget and not take seriously of Zahid's statement that UMNO have 91 seats in hand.

While everyone talks of the quest of power is between Mahathir and Anwar, they forgot that UMNO could be making their own move.

The public generally presumed UMNO could not make any move without a prospective PM candidate to offer. With court cases on-going, Najib and Zahid are no where close to a possibility.

Much talk is Hisham is a possible Minister of Finance in the next cabinet reshuffling. It was Anwar who revealed Hisham's secret desire.

Off course, it make no sense for Mahathir to appoint an opposition MP for such an important position. More so, Hisham is not serious in his work. Too much an aristocrat. Lazy and indifferent like Mukhriz. 

Nevertheless, Hisham's boys went further to claim him as future PM8. There could be several possible routes for that to happen. Realistically, it is a long journey, including as Azmin, surviving the hurdle of UMNO's Discilinary Board.

If it is not Najib or Zahid or even Hisham, does UMNO have other option?

Failed to read UMNO?

His fanatics will never agree and see it as preposterous for any view of Mahathir as mere mortal, but realistically, his vision seemed not quite 2020 in reading UMNO's move.

After 50 years in politics, there is not much unexpected moves one can expect of Mahathir. More so in this era of free flowing information on Internet and social media.

Former Malay Mail and now with Malaysiakini, Terence Netto had the same view of Mahathir lost in his game with UMNO. His M'kini article is reproduced below:

Umno repaying Dr M in his own coin

Terence Netto 
Published: Nov 23rd, 2019

COMMENT | Umno is playing Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Machiavellian game devilishly well.

Latest developments in the political arena attest the reality that the party is shaping to beat the old fox at his now-familiar game.


Mahathir (above) forgets that people who endorsed his leadership of Pakatan Harapan last year did it despite doubts about his reformist credentials based on his conduct in his first 22-year stint (1981-2003) as Prime Minister.

The size of the task of unseating a 61-year BN regime had moved them to realistically root, despite qualms, for the success of a Mahathir-led revolt against BN’s kleptocrats at GE14 in May last year.

When between June and September this year they saw that the Harapan supremo had not sloughed off his old skin, they waited for a verdict from the Tanjung Piai by-election on Nov 16.

It came with what is regarded by many as a resounding rejection of Mahathir’s recrudescent Machiavellianism.

But Mahathir affects not to read it that way.

He proceeds, barring a nose bleed or two, on his serene path, oblivious to the Tanjung Piai polls signal to him to quit.

But, now, in the latest twist to the melodrama surrounding the power transition from Mahathir to heir presumptive Anwar Ibrahim, Umno is telling him, in the words of the Irving Berlin musical, “Anything you can do I can do better.”

The saga of the 18 Umno MPs who met up with PKR deputy president and incubating quisling Azmin Ali in the latter’s home in Putrajaya on the night of Nov 18 has taken a new twist.

Initially, from the stories that spread even before the start of the meeting, it seemed the 18 were acting from murky motives.

On Nov 19, some participants, Azmin (above) included, secreted information about the affair to a ravening press, that the discussions had been about matters to do with projects in their constituencies rather than with the politics besetting the ruling coalition.

Their differing versions had the effect of throwing up a smokescreen around it.

At this point, Mahathir chimed in to say that the 18 had wanted to defect to Harapan.

The morning of Nov 19, one of the 18 attendees got into a verbal slanging match in the lobby of Parliament with a non-attendee, who clearly wants his Umno colleagues to allow Mahathir to slowly twist in the wind of Harapan’s want of will to show their supremo the door.

By the evening on Nov 19, both Umno MPs kissed and made-up after an initial show of acrimony.

Clearly, Umno’s firefighters were quick to quell tumult and project unity in the face of evident discord in Harapan.

Nothing gives the Umno bunch greater retributive satisfaction than seeing Mahathir get his comeuppance for having led the national mutiny against Umno-BN.

The disclosure by Mahathir as to the Nov 18 meeting’s purpose had placed Azmin, who until recent weeks was more wronged than wronging in the saga of his relationship with Anwar Ibrahim, in a very bad light vis-a-vis his own party and Harapan components DAP and Amanah.

Harapan is caught between a rock (a by-election cashiered supremo who doesn’t want to quit) and a hard place (an heir presumptive chaffing at his long wait for a post coveted from his salad days).

Until Mahathir became Prime Minister in 1981 no major politician in Malaysian politics had played the Machiavellian game.

The former PAS president Mohd Asri Muda was right about Mahathir when asked for an opinion a few months after July 1981 when Mahathir became PM.

An astute political operator, Asri (above) said you could predict all three past presidents of Umno (Tunku Abdul Rahman, Abdul Razak Hussein and Hussein Onn) but not the latest one.

Surprise and unpredictability in politics – the ability to keep friends and foes guessing – are Machiavellian stratagems.

Mahathir’s Machiavellian political craft rivals that displayed by Otto von Bismarck, Germany’s late 19th-century welder of fractious Prussian principalities into a united power in Europe.

Bismarck was a ruminative man, not terribly enamoured of the amoral methods he adopted to attain his objectives. He gave the impression that for reasons of state (raison d'etat) he had to do what he did.

Tellingly, he said the aim of a statesman was to “listen to the rustle of God’s mantle in history and catch the hem of it for a few steps.”
This is a humbling description of a leader’s task, but no humility constrained the Iron Chancellor in his ruthless pursuit of German unity which he accomplished by restraining the forces ranged against him by manipulating their antagonisms. A Mahathir speciality one might say.

Unlike Bismarck, Mahathir is not a ruminative man. He must think he is surrounded by a menagerie of fools who he can readily bamboozle.

Witness the latest bloviations of DAP’s Liew Chin Tong who now says Harapan needs both Mahathir and Anwar.

Witness also the way Kadir Jasin, Mahathir’s never acknowledged but vaunted communications czar, who after Azmin Ali was recently sued for unpaid travel bills of RM370,000, hinted in a blog posting at Azmin’s incompetence as economic affairs minister.

Before Mahathir’s disclosure of the purpose of the meeting between 18 Umno MPs and Azmin - a disclosure detrimental to the latter’s credibility - Azmin had already become soiled goods, which is a pity because he had been an effective menteri besar of Selangor (September 2014 to May 2018).

The Selangor Harapan coalition swept 51 of 57 seats in the country’s wealthiest state at GE14, an achievement that should have been a springboard for Azmin to the premiership.

Now, thanks to his putative patron’s desire to prolong his tenure as Harapan supremo, Azmin is trapped in the backwash.


TERENCE NETTO has been a journalist for more than four decades.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

In the meantime, the outcome of two PH Presidential Council meetings and Anwar's statement after post Tg Piai meeting with Mahathir and talk of a failed dawn raid to seek Agong's audience indicated Anwar does not have the magic 113 numbers to call of a vote of no confidence. 

He is likely to be closer than Mahathir's, who could not find the formula with UMNO yet, to play rough or diplomatic.

Mahathir's move through Hisham may not get the 30 UMNO MPs as his boys claimed. Without expressed UMNO leadership consent, Mahathir will come out short.

Push come to shove, he may have to secede to Zahid's term. Simple and nothing else, take all!

Talk is Mahathir has weighed the possibility of throwing the towel. An aide of his have been talking to friends of the possibility and soon. Is it possible?

Nah ... call the bluff of this misinformation propaganda. It is to draw up sympathy and get others to worry. He is too used to getting his ways. Maybe not this time.

It would have been pro-Anwar supporters wet dream, thus it will not likely to happen.

* Edited: 28/11 6:00 AM

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