Note: I am not privy to any discussion. I have no inside information. This entire article was pieced together using a political analysis framework that matches public actions to inside information.
When I had met up with Tun Dr Mahathir whilst he was still the Prime Minister, I found him to be a person who is constantly thinking, rating, calculating , evaluating and plotting. He governed Malaysia on a series of ideas that materialized into many edifices because he ensured that his ideas were implemented and dissent was not tolerated. And when he decides to pursue a course of action, he gets it done with a clinical precision.
The sacking of Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim coupled with the imposition of capital controls is the clearest example is the case in point of how Tun Dr Mahathir could secretly hatch a plan and carry out a surgical strike against his political enemies.
However, right now Tun Dr Mahathir faces a different dilemma. Certain quarters of the establishment, from the political, business, Government and the “……..” had approached him a while back to voice their fears surrounding the countries political developments. (Others would argue that Tun actually met them and sold himself as the solution to their problems. Many concur that Najib’s failure to dispatch Kak Jat was the straw that finally broke the Kamel’s back).
Nevertheless, the outcome was one and the same.
Everybody concerned had recognized that the Government / UMNO was short on brain and strategic thinking. The “Blue Ocean” strategies of Najib was turning into a Red tide of public anger. Voter dissatisfaction was rising and even the erstwhile compliant East Malaysian base, which the Prime Minister had counted to be his political fixed deposit, was beginning to show signs of dissent. Even worse, a massive disconnect between Najib and UMNO had reached crisis levels as the base was embarrassed at the public show of strength by NGOs like Be rseh and had grown impatient with Najib’s insistence of fielding “winnable” candidates in favour of local warlords. Not helping the situation was the resurgence of Anwar Ibrahim, who was beginning to put some distance between himself and all the allegations that were thrown against him.
They needed an answer, and they were not going to accept anything that came from a laboratory. It had to come from the Don.
And so Tun thought he had done what seemingly was impossible a few years back. He now had complete access to UMNO and could style himself as the unofficial UMNO President. As any good leader would do, he went around to various UMNO divisions to gauge their temperature as well as “reintroduce” himself to them. However, it was not all smooth sailing there as well as some UMNO Division Heads refused to meet him. Perhaps it surprised him then, but right now he would have realised that their lack of attendance meant that some opposed his staged accession to the Presidency of the party.
Still nothing much emerged. Those who attended acted out a well rehearsed act which they perform whenever somebody from the “central” leadership was in town. They attended with their bodies but their minds was focussed on one question. “When will I receive the surat watikah?”
Since TDM was getting nowhere by meeting the base, he attempted to get his message across to the very top using his channel. The election date need to be set in stone so this constant questioning will cease and the party could focus its energies on fighting one of the most closely fought General Elections in history. The constant delays and change of minds had demoralised the base. They wanted the election held soon so they could get their “durian runtuh.” In clandestine meetings, it was reported that the usually cool and calm Dato Seri Najib lost his patience and slammed his fist on the table . “How dare the old man dictate terms to me! I am the PM!” he thundered. Even Rosmah gave everybody a piece of her mind as well!
So TDM was in a pickle. He knew from his visits that the UMNO base was dead set against any outsiders being parachuted into their territory. With the leadership in Putrajaya completely out of touch with the base, the base had organised themselves into a cohesive pressure group. “If Ambiga could throttle Najib, no way are we going to give in!” they declared. (Yet another effect of BERSIH)
This was getting increasingly difficult. He could not really manage the party (even though he thought he was given the power to do so.) He could not manage the PM, whom had long since given up on using UMNO as the channel to reach the masses, preferring the direct route by giving cash handouts to endear himself to the millions of voters nationwide. The last option was to take his message direct to the voters.
And so for a bit of time, we were treated to the Don’s public pronouncements on Prime Time TV (the media being part of the conspirators who had met up earlier with Tun). But now Tun was in a dangerous territory, he was making pronouncements without any legitimate power. Even worse he knew how severe the problems were but could not offer any “solution-ising.” So it was relegated to pleading and scare mongering.
In one of those sound bites, he uttered the famous English idiom, which when taken literally meant that BN was being compared to the source of all evil. Everybody knew what he meant, but this is realpolitik. The Opposition seized on that statement and hounded Tun to no end. The current PM was simply going mad. “No more statements! Stay out of this! I am the PM!”
So now Tun had to do a strategic retreat. Without the power it was no use trying to do anything. The entire plan had been a fiasco. The folk who met him were just voicing out their concerns. They could rant and rave for all they wanted but until and unless he takes up residence in Sri Perdana, there is nothing he could do.
Take then Tun’s pronouncements today with that in mind. BN will emerge as a weak government after the election. Najib is going to attempt to buy his way out of trouble with BRIM. And he made sure that the audience knew that it was something he never had to do when he was PM.
In a word, he is frustrated. And he is no longer hiding it. The party is in a mess and the people are pissed. And his arch enemy is looking increasingly likely of making a Mandela like political comeback. But I doubt he has yet to comprehend the gravity of the last statement.
For if he did, he would have given me a call.
TIPS: I hope Najib knows how to conduct simple statistical tests to evaluate whether the reports he has received consist of “censored data” i.e. bolderdash (merapu, “Semua OK Boss” type)