2015 came and ended quickly.
It felt only recently that Arul Kanda joined 1MDB as CEO when in fact, it is almost a year since he joined in mid January 2015.
The planned rationalisation of 1MDB's debt he was assigned is already in the works. Announced are IPIC's debt for asset swap, sales of Edra, and announced at the buzzer yesterday the 60% sales of Bandar Malaysia to a consortium led by IWH Berhad and partner China Engineering for RM12.35 billion.
That almost cleared the RM42 billion debt in the 2014 accounts. with some asset to go by and work completed. The year has truly ended. To use the latin term used by Queen Elizabeth, it has been an annus horribilis for 2015. A difficult political decision had to be made.
For 2016, The Mole had written this blogger's comment here. Mentioned is "public losing interest in the 1MDB issue, which had troubled the prime minister throughout this year". Not mention is the belief that politics in Malaysia could turn into a Dallas.
Not "Debbie does Dallas" type but the primetime soap opera, Dallas of the late 70s.
Stories in soap opera are open ended. It depicts relationship and affairs in the daily life of soap opera characters.
Unlike in movies or TV series, soap opera allows in the storyline for characters to switch roles. Antagonist could turn protagonist or the other way around. Enemy become allies and friends tyrn enemies. Switching lovers and at times, the unlikely of partners.
All for no apparent logical reasons than purely to meet the emotionally melodramatic audience of the soap and detergent manufacturer market.
Judging from events unfolding towards the end of 2015, Malaysian politics could do a Dallas. The Mole commented that it had been a lively year for politics.
After the UMNO General Assembly and for the rest of December, politics have been rather slow. There was supposed to be a demonstration on December 27th to call on Dato Najib to resign by the coalition of UMNO branch leaders but it didn't happen.
Tan Sri Muhyiddin was expected to give his "wind-up" speech and take the inevitable quarrel to another level but it too did not happen.
Wall Street Journal attempted to reveal new startling revelation but still did not attract attention.
The allegation of 1MDB remitting USD850 million to a fake off shore Abu Dhabi account did not catch on. Pro-Tun bloggers like Din Turtle, Apanama, OTSB and the last, JMD tried but still could make the issue viral during the holiday season. 1MDB called the allegation as recycling answered issue. LSS has an explanation here.
Another attempt by WSJ three days ago was to recycle questions on 1MDB as conduit for political funding but still using disputed fact. The last bombshell for the year. It suffered similar fate as attempts by Tun Dr Mahathir to rehash his disputed issues in the three postings before the UMNO GA.
By the time, Tun M made a non-1MDB posting on the recently alleged terrorist attack in Paris, MyKMU teased it as a ceasefire.
They had earlier made an aggressive diversion on the rising ERL fare and toll hike to blame it on the lop-sided concession agreements structured under Tun M. Before that, YTL was stripped bare of their first generation IPP deal.
Upon announcement that the new model Proton will be 30% higher, Proton came under heavy attack for allegedly usurping public fund in the tune of more than RM30 billion. Concurrently, it was revealed that Tan Sri Vincent Tan had made application for gaming license but rejected, thus suspected to fund the attack on Najib together with Tan Sri Francis Yeoh.
Strangely, RPK played down Tun M and speculated that it is Muhyiddin that is the main player in the attack on Najib. Something more could be coming on Tun M but he had his gun aimed at Muhyiddin. It gave the tip-off by a non-player friend at a wedding some credibility.
Though the exposes did create a little dent on Tun M's reputation, it is unlikely it had douse his fighting spirit. He will not give up and those that met him to advise a truce saw him as critical as ever on the 1MDB and alleged RM2.6 billion donation.
As one blogger shared her observation several days ago, he seemed "possessed" to bring down Najib. The role played by the character JR Ewing in Dallas.
Though comfortable within UMNO, Najib need to offer a convincing and indisputable explanation for closure to the various allegations hurled against him. Otherwise, the negative perception on him by the public and UMNO grassroot will be permanently imbedded.
Those that gave him a chance to resolve 1MDB may pull back their support. His comfortable hold on the party may not work out to his political advantage.
Former MCA President, Dato Dr Chua Soi Lek expressed the possibility that BN could lose the next general election. There goes the Ewing's Texas oil empire.
There are several possibilities to come in the fued against the Barnes, i.e. Najib. In the series Dallas, the Ewing's family mortal enemy was the Barnes.
One would be to continue the effort of WSJ by reviving the 1MDB issue with more dramatic script to not allow the completion of the rationalisation bury the issue
Another possibility, done concurrently, and already at it is to focus attack on Najib's public policies, primarily the negative effect of rising prices from Dato Idris Jala-inspired transformation of public finance.
It was reported that the coalition of UMNO branch leaders have started a campaign to do a 1,000 solat hajat to pray for Najib's resignation. A reminder of the manner PAS used to do massive event at Kota Baru stadium.
FMT, which could possibly be the new voice of pro-Tun and anti-Najib, seemed to up the ante on Najib in the last few days of the year despite the holiday indifferent public. Today's issue see them begin to report few of Tun M's latest criticism. Tun M has started attack on TPPA which is due for debate in Parliament.
One soap opera script suspected to happen is possible changes in the political alignment. Sufficient events gave hint of "Where will this quarrel lead to?"
Early in the year, RPK revealed in his February posting that Azmin met Tun M in London. The reason for the meeting arranged by London-based Kamal Siddiqui was not mentioned. A source said Tun M was uninterested to talk politics with Dato Azmin but only on Malay issue.
When Tun M appeared at Azmin's son wedding recently, there was a strange tone in Azmin's speech as he showered him with much accolade. That made AMK led by Azizah's supporter, Nik Nazmi restless as though Azmin had foresaken Anwar.
So it is a wonder what would the Malay issue was because this blog revealed of a meeting on April 23rd between Tun M and Datin Dr Wan Azizah's people; Johari Abdul and Saifuddin Nasution, at the Yayasan Kepimpinan Perdana [read here]. In the meeting, Tun M was talking politics.
A source said he had then predicted the removal of Muhyiddin as Deputy Prime Minister. That is the trademark of Tun M's politics. He has the uncanny ability to anticipate and pre-empt the opponent moves.
So Najib's political life could be made tough in the next three months because his "penasihat" are not sufficiently proactive and tend to be reactive. Why the three months is because the September target for Najib's resignation was rumoured to have shifted to March 2016.
For the comfort of Nik Nazmi, Chegu Bard and Tian Chua, former UMCEDEL Director and now Vice-Chairman of Selangor think tank Darul Ehsan Institute, Professor Datuk Dr Redzuan Othman believe Anwar will always be part of PKR struggle. Otherwise, PKR could not exist, could they?
RPK's view that Anwar is a relic will fall on PKR's deaf ear. So if such view remain while Azmin is cosying up with Tun M, it could mean several possibilities.
One being Tun M could be teaming up with PKR, or at least Azmin, to being Najib down. Part of the deal is the safety of Anwar's wife and family.
The old man could have anticipated Najib's close working relation with certain PAS leaders thus the need for him to do a strategic alliance with PKR. It is like switching lovers in a a soap opera. Friends can become foe. Enemy become friends because the enemy of your enemy can be your friend.
An open cooperation with DAP would be too far fetch. UMNO grassroot sympathiser will scorn on him. Being in coalition with Azmin serve the same and many purpose. One could notice Lim Kit Siang repeatedly setting the volleyballball for Tun M to spike.
PKR and DAP is in a coalition with Amanah through Pakatan Harapan. In Amanah, there is a leader said to be Tun M's former partner-in crime to help criticise or revealed from outside on any of his political foes within UMNO.
Tun M was the person that gave Azmin his break in Government before he was taken in into Anwar's office. The family relation with Pak Ali's family is strong. He was the one to "tepung tawar" Azmin at his wedding to Shamsidar Tahrin.
At Azmin's son wedding, his Highnesses the Sultan Of Selangor and Perak together with Muhyiddin and Dato Hishamuddin were present. But the presence of Tun M may have it's own significance to reunite past relationship.
It is no big deal for politicians of different political parties to attend and socialise among themselves in Sabah. Though it does happen, it is not common happenings in Semenanjung.
The relation between Muhyiddin and Azmin have it's own significance. Rumours has it that Muhyiddin and Azmin and their people had sat together at KLGCC late into the night several weeks ago.
Even though many of former Muhyiddin men had left UMNO and join PKR during the reformasi days, it is premature to say Muhyiddin is willing to be in Tun M's coalition with PKR. It is said he is not present in Tun M's pow wow team.
It gives reason for RPK to speculate Muhyiddin as really calling the shot. Only thing is the UMNO within Muhyiddin will not be in bed with PKR. It will also be in contradiction with the issues he is carrying and that is his concern for UMNO.
Maybe he is playing a role as Deputy President of UMNO. It was said that it was Muhyiddin that was sent to meet Azmin to discuss Selangor. He had then represented UMNO to talk to Azmin during the leadership crisis arising from the pressured resignation of Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.
Azmin got himself appointed with the support from PAS. However, the support of UMNO may have moved his Highness the Sultan to do so. This is the very reason Azmin insist on two PAS state assemblymen to remain in the state exco despite DAP and Wan Azizah's faction vocal opposition.
It could be the reason that Hadi's man, Dato Iskandar Samad was vocal against UMNO-PAS coalition after the Azhar University Alumni Multaqa event that discuss the cooperation between UMNO and PAS. Dato Haji Hadi Awang was seen on stage with Najib.
Hadi could be playing a hard to get or keeping his options open using his boy Iskandar. On one hand, he extend his silatulrahim to Najib but the hand direct his men, which include another VP Idris Ahmad, to criticise the possible coalition to appease the grassroot from leaving for Amanah.
Tun M's proactive and far sighted politics to be in coalition with Azmin could also be for the purpose of sending olive branch to PAS. So this could be the Malay issue talked about in London. Tun M had brush off Najib's ability to pull a cooperation between UMNO and PAS.
That possibility could be seen from the recent Perkasa General Meeting. Usually it was held before UMNO General Assembly but now after. Just months before, Perkasa President Dato Ibrahim Ali was seen on stage embracing Haji Hadi after talked of UMNO-PAS cooperation surface.
Tan Sri Sanusi Junid was the honoured "tokoh" this year. In his speech, Tun M's political mastermind mentioned past attempt to united UMNO and PAS failed due to "hasutan" (persuasion) by certain group.
This was mentioned in front of the invited current and former PAS Secretary General, Dato Takiyuddin Hasan and Dato Mustapha Ali, respectively. Most likely, he may have meant it to target a certain faction in UMNO. It could be intended to fail the cooperation.
Perkasa President, Dato Ibrahim Ali made disparaging remarks on UMNO. He threatened Perkasa could change support away from UMNO if it does not change. However, observer see it as his attempt to persuade PAS to allow him to run again for Pasir Mas on PAS ticket. Mustapha is PAS Election Director.
A point to note. PAS Youth leader, Nik Abduh Nik Aziz did say it is UMNO and PAS cooperation for a united ummah and not political coalition. PAS want to remain as opposition for now.
The politics has all the making of a Dallas soap opera but it is still not over. Azmin faction is in competition with Wan Azizah. Many in PKR felt that it is time for a makeover from the constant fight for Anwar to a new way forward. His supporter see him as more a PM material than Azizah.
However, DAP and Amanah is more comfortable to "use" her as Opposition Leader. She is easier to tame.
There is also the internal bickering within DAP. It is still boiling but not yet spilling over.
It is still early but there are those already predicting the days of Lim Kit Siang and Lim Guan Eng are numbered. Though far fetch, they could be making their exit especially with coffer sufficiently filled with "developments" in Penang.
Another far fetch theory for now is DAP to be in a coalition with UMNO. after all, the Ewing-Barnes family feud did not stop Bobby Ewing from marrying Pamela Barnes or later Pam Ewing.
Though the perception created is that BN could lose the election with only a little swing in the votes, there are pro-opposition political analyst that see the opposition as being too presumptous. They are still not settled.
So Najib could still make it through in the next GE and from there on, solidify his position further. Consequently, Najib potential set back will be to fulfill the long list of promises he made to remain in power.
So the illogical soap opera script continues with possible spin-off like Knot's Landing. And somewhere in there, there will be roles for gorgeous characters like Pam Ewing, Sue Allen, Mandy Winger and Jenna Wade.
Does soap and detergent manufacturers' political script serve the purpose of nation building? Think about it. Maybe the public should ignore the politicians's drama and focus with their life and country.
* Edited 2/1/2006 10:30 AM