Will these six state polls be the last for Tun M to yield his influence?

“BIZARRE” may be how nonagenarian Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad describes Bumiputera tycoon Tan Sri Halim Saad’s decision to sue him in the lead up to the state election.

However, the same word should describe the former premier’s press statement questioning the timing of the lawsuit.

The 98-year-old former Langkawi MP will try to create something out of nothing, but sadly, most people these days would dismiss him as having become senile.

The truth is that the axis around which the twice former premier’s world rotates is restricted to the ballots and the ballot boxes. But businessmen operate based on what is expedient and how they read the current socio-political climate before proceeding with the case.

After all, Halim may have lost his hopes in the country’s judiciary system in the past until the recent years. Any businessman instituting a lawsuit against someone like Dr Mahathir would have done his proper assessments before taking the plunge.

Tan Sri Halim Saad (left) and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad

What the rakyat want to know now is whether Halim’s allegations were true, and the onus now is for Dr Mahathir to respond in court. It is payback time.

The saying goes, “Justice delayed is justice denied.” If this is not the best time, one can only wonder when Halim will ever see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Even if Halim can live for another 20 years, it may be an uphill battle for Dr Mahathir himself to survive beyond 100.

For the uninitiated, Halim is suing Dr Mahathir, former finance minister II Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop and the government over the compulsory acquisition effecting the takeover of UEM Malaysia in 2001 which resulted in alleged deprivation of Halim’s rights as a controlling shareholder of Renong Bhd.

It may be a coincidence that Halim had filed his case on Aug 2 but whether there is anything to do with the six state elections in Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Penang, Selangor and Negri Sembilan is surely not for Dr Mahathir to speculate.

Dr. Mahathir’s response to the suit is nothing but a cheap form of publicity by trying to link the lawsuit to the state election. It makes one wonders whether he is merely trying to fish some sympathy votes from his loyalists in order to destabilise the unity government.

Still influential at his age

His statement is probably meant to harp on his oft-repeated phrase “Melayu mudah lupa” (Malays are forgetful) and on how they are now ungrateful towards him.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohamad Ali when the duo turn up to cast their votes for the Anak Bukit state constituency in Kedah.

Had he released his statement after the state elections, no one would have lambasted at him.

The country’s longest serving premier of 22 years (first stint) and 22 months (second stint) should have retired gracefully – or at least pretend even if he was not – and behave like a statesman by leaving the management of the country to the power that be.

But despite being no longer relevant, he continues to spew out 3R rhetoric, probably prompted by the fact that the country is being helmed by someone whom he cannot see eye-to-eye with.

It is not that in a democratic country anyone would stop him from speaking, but often enough, what he says irks the people. For this, he has received brickbats and derogatory labels from various quarters including his former party members from UMNO.

His recent attempt to use some of the politicians from Bersatu and PAS to achieve his own political agenda may even land some of them into prison given the warning made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on the eve of the polling day.

Anwar had warned that stern actions would be taken against anyone who play up on the 3R (race, religion and royalty) issues regardless of their race, religion, status or party affiliation. Will he be able to defend them if the long arm of the law gets the better of them? If not, he should keep his mouth shut. – Aug 12, 2023

Pics credit: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Facebook

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