The moment the Azilah's legally ridiculous Statutory Declaration surfaced recently, after being kept a secret upon being signed in October, Raja Petra made a suggestion that Dato Najib could collaborate with Dato Seri Anwar bin Ibrahim to topple Tun Dr Mahathir.
Whether RPK is making a forecast or genuinely suggesting or it is a bait, it is not the subject of this posting. He and moi are writers thus free to write.
This posting is merely an attempt to make sense of the latest episode involving Dato Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, Dato Seri Hishamuddin Hussein Onn, and Dato Lokman Noor Adam with regard to UMNO's Disciplinary Council show cause letter to Hisham. Relevant or not, it could be linked to Mahathir's current trip to Japan, Jawi-Dong Zong commotion in Kajang, and possibly the Chin Peng ashes-CPM-no Republic protests.
RPK's "suggestion" for Najib to collaborate with Anwar may have came about from speculation that Mahathir foresee his plan to block Anwar will fail should them both collaborate.
It is unlikely to happen for many reasons as it will be touched one by one as one reads along. Sorry no easy and quick soundbytes. One has to read to know.
Running out of time
With Zahid Hamidi able to get all the UMNO MPs to agree to "decide" enbloc at the Tamu Hotel, Kampong Baru, KL meeting before the UMNO General Assembly as revealed in his closing address, he may have made Mahathir restless.
The ever suspicious Mahathir may be looking at the possibility of UMNO considering the option to back Anwar should he play hardball and insist on "my way or highway".
To Mahathir, Zahid is Najib's proxy. The perception may not hold true anymore, but a perception that remained since the Reformasi days of late 90s and early 2000 till today, is that Zahid is close to Anwar.
Mahathir cannot take that chance with Zahid. Between Najib and Zahid, the former is more a pain in the ass for Mahathir than Zahid. It is easier to handle Zahid than Najib. With clock-like precision, the Azilah SD was revealed after GA. There was also a window of opportunity.
Towards the end of the GA, there was murmurs within UMNO of Salam 400 with the Divisional Youth Chiefs and suggestion of Najib forming a club with the Division Heads. It didn't come from Najib's mouth, but the organiser of the get-to-gathers with Najib.
Someone within UMNO may have stirred out of proportion Najib's sincere concern for the financial constraints of delegates to come to KL and his intention to touch base. They speculated he was making a comeback. Such talk begin to make its round when Najib was appointed BN Adviser.
It could have come from any factions. Heard Zahid's people were uncomfortable. But the moment it came out on social media and blog, one could sense Najib will get it again and those with backchannel to Mahathir will be suspects.
One "former" politician with a past with UMNO, reformasi movement, ADIL and then back into UMNO claimed an inside source told him that Mahathir's time is up.
He will remain PM only till May 2020 because the last PH Presidential Council meeting, after PPBM's collosal lost at Tg Piai, decided on Mahathir to step down, Anwar to takeover, and no more public comment on power transition.
In the Council meeting, Tan Sri Muhyiddin expressed agreement to the plan. Strong talk is he will be made Deputy Prime Minister to Anwar but remain a stump as power will be with Anwar and the Lims.
Obviously, Mahathir do not intent to abide by the Council's restriction.
Answering to a question at a Forum in Qatar, he said said he will step down after APEC 2020 in November. Later he said, he will step down after he solved the problems of the country which the public concluded it will not get solved and he stay on as he piled up more diplomatic problems by organising the KL Summit.
A source with access into PPBM's corridor of power claimed Mahathir was asked in a PPBM meeting to come out with it: Who will be after him?
He answered decisively, "Azmin!" as Muhyiddin gaze down at the table. It may have happened before the Council meeting. This information has not been shared yet with the ex-UMNO-reformasi-ADIL-UMNO source.
The confirmation will be DIGP announcement that the US analysis did not identify Azmin in the Sandakan video as promised for the report release by the end of the year. Tan Sri Hamid Bador announced Jho Low not returning by year end so the result will be much anticipated.
With not much time left, it looks as if Mahathir intend to do either an Ops Lallang or call for EO. Immediately upon an EO, ISA can be re-introduced and Dato Ibrahim Ali, Perkasa and Putra President has made such call.
As this blog kept repeating, Mahathir seemed to be constantly stirring public unrest on issues such as Zakir Naik, Jawi, and Dong Zong. Then came LTTE and Chin Peng ashes. The latest addition could be turning Malaysia to be a Republic.
The issues are relevant concerns to the Malay-Muslims, and traditional nationalists and Islamists. However, there are suspicions of partisan politics at play and deepstate involvement to take the opportunity to revive Mahathir's popularity with Malay.
It will be a tough act to do after the KL Summit diplomatic disaster. He may have only January and February to make it happen before, remote as it is, a precedent setting vote of no confidence in the March Parliament seating.
Anwar and his boys have gathered and riled up support in preparation for a Reformasi 2.0 to implode, or explode or plod for February. Talk is it may be brought forward to January following Mahathir's rough play.
Thre is a belief that the Yusof Rawther's SD is Anwar creating a false accusation that could be easily be dispelled. His boys seem confident that it is nothing.
And, it is only an SD, thus Yusof's words against Anwar. No evidences such as medical records, videos, witnesses etc.
However, Mahathir's lawyer, Hanif Khaitri surfaced with Yusof Rawther for the police report. Apparently, words over the grapevine is that the polygraph test on Yusof is positive. RPK recently mentioned that there could be five liwat videos to surface.
One can't ignore such possibility because talk is Anwar have been reckless since his trip to Turkey upon release from prison last year.
Political pundits see Mahathir is using Azmin and Yusof Rawther to break up PKR and deny Anwar the Prime Ministership.
And they claim Hishamuddin has taken over the role, that Azmin was playing in PKR, given to Dato Mohammed Hassan to break-up UMNO. Mat Hassan is now reduced to the role of Trojan horse.
Withdrawal of show cause letter
Now that Zahid has unite UMNO MPs, the game could have changed.
The speculation that Najib can now talk to Anwar is still not possible. The MPs claimed to be in Hishamuddin's list will not likely join Najib to collaborate with Anwar.
See why it is a "Nah ... unlikely!"
And, Zahid's decision to request Chairman of the Disciplinary Board, Tan Sri Apandi Ali to withdraw the show cause letter given to Hishamuddin confirm it is unlikely for Najib to collaborate with Anwar.
The logic is simple. Lokman is being viewed as a BossKu or Maam Ku man. If Zahid asked pulled Apandi to pull back the latter, it could mean Zahid is not backing BossKu's man.
So "Nah ... unlikely!' for Zahid to follow Najib in the event he collaborate with Anwar. It also means "Nah ... unlikely!" of Najib to collaborate with Anwar.
The request for withdrawal happened days after the letter was issued.
Zahid sent Tan Sri Anuar Musa to talk to Apandi. The letter was issued on December 13th. The story broke on December 16th. [Read Bigdog here].
Zahid appointed the former AG and Federal Court judge as Chairman of the Disciplinary Board.
Despite him having contested under UMNO ticket twice during Mahathir era, one cannot take the rigidity and uncompromising side of any legal practitioner on formal matters of law, and constitution albeit party constitution lightly.
UMNO announced his appointment with much fanfare on the independence of the Disciplinary Board and to cleanse UMNO from disloyalty, and unethical practises together with acts that compromise party interest.
With UMNO such close scrutiny, Zahid has to stay consistent. Disciplinary Board cannot play politics.
Hishamuddin has been the subject of such concerns and was accused of asking UMNO MPs and leaders to change party to PPBM.
The meeting of MPs at Azmin's house immediately after the Tg Piai win, which took the wind out of the celebration, made Lokman Nor Adam act with a formal complaint.
Hishamuddin is due to answer the show cause letter on Boxing Day but instead, on the day an eclipse of the sun also happenned, Lokman's earlier video accusation on December 18th of Zahid's interference turned out true.
Lokman claimed the trial was postphoned for the third time and lambasted the President publicly.
At the same time, Apandi was reported to offer his resignation. Malaysia Insight cited him refusing to be taken for a ride.
There is a long lengthy debate on the social media and within few days, one can summarised that those criticising Apandi is unaware of the independent power of the Chairman and the limit of his power to sentence is the sacking of members as it is within the Supreme Council.
Apandi and the Disciplinary Board is empowered to issue warning letter up to membership suspension up to 3 years without referring to the Supreme Council. An UMNO lawyer confirmed it is in letter and spirit of the UMNO constitution.
From the alleged offenses of Hishamuddin, the debate has turned to the improper conduct of Lokman. It is past practise of UMNO to encircle the bandwagon around the President.
UMNO Youth has issued stern statements against Lokman and defended Zahid. Johor UMNO Youth called him UMNO parasite. While Kelantan UMNO Youth accused him of crossing the boundary and called for disciplinary action against him. On social media, his past affiliation with PKR was dug up and condemned for blurting out party affair in public.
Lokman's response is where were them when then Supreme Council Member Dato Hamzah Zainuddin demanded Zahid to resign. In fact, UMNO Youth issued a statement to call for Zahid to go on leave till his case cleared. The Hishamuddin boys subsequently questioned why a President should go on leave.
Back then, it was believed there was a plot involving Hishamuddin, Hamzah and Mat Hassan to take control of power in UMNO. Thus Zahid's perceived change in stance is really surprising.
Three days after the show cause letter was issued and it came out in the open, Hishamuddin expressed his disappointment. He accused the Disciplinary Board of unsettling the party after members made a solemn oath to strengthen the party at PAU.
It is rather ironic of Hishamuddin as he was hardly present at PAU to avoid facing the brunt of delegates. The time he was there and out of the hall Hishamuddin was said to be hiding under the elevator to not be seen.
So it beg to know what transpired at the Tamu Hotel. One Division leader said it is no big deal.
Lokman may have made the decision out of his own conviction. He is brave and not bothered with convention. He is ever willing to speak out. He could bulldoze issues deemed necessary and by pass red tapes seen as hindrance. UMNO needs as much an ulamak as a pukimak to make themselves heard and effectuve as opposition.
However, observers claimed Lokman have lately been accused of not attacking Anwar enough. So the claim Najib is reaching out to Anwar.
Lokman has responded to that allegation.
Lokman's disposition is being viewed as not adhering to party discipline. Its a repetitive trait of Lokman as he was once sacked by ADIL for not abiding to party discipline.
In UMNO, they dislike open attack on other leaders. Or maybe only certain people can do so.
But to discipline Lokman and allow Hishamuddin scot free and untouched will not look good on UMNO. Even if there may be no proofs and evidences, but there are lots of testimonies.
Supreme Council has issued a statement that any dealing with other political parties must get prior consent of the Supreme Council. It is too obvious to be ignored for Hishamuddin not to be aware of such directive.
No blood, no water at stake
That is unless there was something Hishamuddin disclosed to Zahid. Party strategy cannot be mentioned publicly. It is confidential and only meant for those in the party high echelon.
Anuar Musa's statement today said Apandi has not signed his resignation. Zahid will meet him personally. And, there is no interference but merely postphonement. Hopefully Apandi reconsider.
The incident has partly damaged Zahid's reputation. He has to provide something resembling an answer himself to the perceived inconsistency.
Or it would look bad on UMNO. Remarks are already being passed that UMNO has not changed for the better.
Viraling rumour to claim it was Najib who asked Zahid to pull back on Hishamuddin is not the way to do. Blood is thicker than water is a simple story to sell, but it is unfair as it is putting words into Najib's mouth.
Zahid and Najib was recently sighted at Seri Pacific Hotel next to PWTC. Apparently, it was a private four-eyed meeting but not on the matter of Hishamuddin.
Najib needed a decision from Zahid before he could take a certain course of action for the party. However, Zahid could not make the decision yet. Najib would likely take it as no. Hishamuddin was not discussed.
The only possible reason to postphone the inquiry is the Kimanis by-election, in which UMNO is defending a seat they won against Warisan. So is it UMNO vs Warisan or some other parties and groups against Warisan?
Saving it for the last, the main reason why Najib will "Nah ... unlikely!" to collaborate with Anwar is simply he does not trust him.
Anwar was among the main hands in setting up the slander against Najib to make up the remote possibility of his involvement in the murder of Altantuya and linking it to the submarine deal.
Even within PKR, leaders and the friends, who struggled together are coming out in the open to express their lost of trust with Anwar.
Najib seemed up against the wall. But he has repeatedly expressed he will clean his name through the courts and not through backchannel political dealings.
Zahid should do the same. There are suspicion that he saved Hishamuddin in exchange for assistance to get himself out.
Why would he do so when the proceeding shows he has a defense and no case of beyond reasonable doubt for any truly criminally intended offense? Does he think Hishamuddin could be expected upon to negotiate and save him?
One of the four cigarettes in Mahathir's plan is for Najib and Zahid to go in. But it cannot be done by May 2020.