THE next five years will be a time for lots of popcorns and movie blockbusters for most Malaysians while twice former premier who reigned for of 22 years and 22 months, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, faces the prospects of a jail sentence if he faces trial and is convicted for sedition or corruption.
There are likely to be several court cases involving both himself and his family members. As in the case of disgraced former prime minister (PM) Datuk Seri Najib Razak, five years – plus and minus – would be the length of time that Malaysians will have to wait as the court process takes time.
But one thing is for sure: the 98-year-old does not have many more years to go. Unless he lives till 103, he is very likely to escape a jail sentence just like his contemporary, the late President Suharto of Indonesia who died before he could be charged for corruption.
Regardless of whether it is now or five years later, Dr Mahathir has the Sword of Damocles hanging above his head.
After exhausting all his legal channels, if he is convicted of any crime punishable with a jail sentence, it is unlikely that he will obtain a royal pardon from the soon-to-be installed Agong, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar.
After all, Sultan Ibrahim has put it in no uncertain terms that he wants the present government to go after “a certain nonagenarian who reaching his one hundredth birthday.” Although the Johor ruler did not name the nonagenarian, it is obvious that he was referring to Dr Mahathir.
Going into hiding
Dr Mahathir’s lawyers may appeal for mitigation because of his age; after all, he would not be able to languish behind bars like the other ordinary criminals.
Like Najib, he may be allowed to be placed in Kajang prison where based on feedback from former prisoners, it is believed that certain privileged prisoners are placed in a special complex instead of the common prison cells.
One may call this karma but the universal law of God is a warning for all: “Whatever a man sows, that he shall also reap.”
Some of Dr Mahathir’s contemporaries such as former Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) chairman Tan Sri Ani Arope and former federal judge Tun Mohamed Suffian Mohamed Hashim may not be able to see the retribution to the wrongs committed against them but judging from the current development – the price that Dr Mahathir and his children may have to pay is very high. This is the first scenario.
A second scenario is where Dr Mahathir and his entire family will disappear to another country. Just like the fugitive Jho Low and the Marcoses of the Philippines, they will go into hiding for a moment until it is safe to return home.
They will be able to continue living in luxury in their new host country. Whichever country it is, it is highly unlikely to be India. For someone who has denied his Indian descent altogether, even if he returns to the home country of his ancestors, he will probably rile them up and very soon, their whereabouts would be known to all.
His other choices would have to exclude the US, UK, Australia and Singapore; otherwise, the former Langkawi MP will once again create more controversies, bringing about further embarrassment to himself and his family on why they are not in Malaysia to face the trials.
In short, any place that Dr Mahathir goes, the ghosts of his past will continue to haunt him. If only he would remain elegantly silent after Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was picked as the country’s 1oth Prime Minister, he could very well die as a statesman.
But Dr Mahathir being Dr Mahathir, he would remain the country’s most controversial figure but this has unfortunately damaged the country’s reputation. – Jan 29, 2024
Main pic credit: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Facebook