IT’S almost comical to see ex-Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad challenging his once disciple Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to call for a general election to test the latter’s support.
Not too long ago during the 15th General Election (GE15) in November 2022, the nonagenarian not only lost the Langkawi seat where he stood but also his deposit. Along with him, another 124 other Pejuang candidates who stood in the national poll also lost their deposits.
For the uninitiated, Pejuang was the party founded by Dr Mahathir after his unceremonious exit from Bersatu post the Sheraton Move which paved way to the formation of two consecutive backdoor governments helmed by Perikatan Nasional (PN) and Barisan Nasional respectively.
It is understandable why Dr Mahathir wants polls to be held. The Madani administration appears to be bent on going after the former premier. His son, Mirzan, has been hauled up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in a move that reeked of political intimidation.
Dr Mahathir’s confidante and ex-finance minister Tun Daim Zainuddin had also come under MACC’s radar with the latter’s wife Toh Puan Na’imah Khalid recently claiming trial for not declaring her assets truthfully.
Insofar as Dr Mahathir is concerned, if a general election were held, there’s still a ghost of a chance for Anwar to be toppled, leading to an end to the “political witch-hunt”.
But the truth is that even if the polls were held, it is highly unlikely for Dr Mahathir to return for a record third stint as premier. The resounding “no” to him from Langkawi voters in 2022 should serve as a wake-up call to the maverick leader.
Post-GE15, his vile rhetoric such as his claims that Malaysian Indians are less loyal has only pushed the electorate further away from him.
Besides, Malaysia just had its national poll less than two years ago. There’s no necessity to go to the ballot box just because a handful of individuals are unhappy with how the Anwar administration is going after them personally.
The government needs to run the country and cannot afford to be held hostage by incessant politicking that is detrimental to the interests of the voters.
Imagine the kind of political uncertainties if we go through another general election. As it is, the endless behind-the-scenes political machinations to topple the unity government has already sent jitters towards the business community, particularly foreign investors.
Dr Mahathir seems to have forgotten that “ensuring stability” was the cornerstone of his first 22-year tenure to the point that he’d use the full force of the government machinery to silence dissent and entrench his stay in power. This includes jailing without trial opposition leaders and silencing the media.
But then again, one shouldn’t be surprised over the 98-year-old’s selective amnesia. Because he’s the one who popularised the saying “Melayu mudah lupa” (literally Malays forget easily). – Jan 24, 2024