Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is launching a new Malay party to unite the Malays.
However, it will have to play the dividing role before attempting to rope the Malay voters under one roof.
The nonagenarian is forced to create the new party. He could not get the Pakatan Harapan to agree on a raw deal.
The deal was for him to become PM under the PH for six months, but Anwar Ibrahim and the PKR rejected the plan.
They fear another episode where Mahathir quits without consulting them, making way for a new coalition to take over.
Forced into a corner, Mahathir is now pushing the idea of a new Malay party, perhaps the Parti Bersatu Rakyat Malaysia.
This may be Mahathir’s last attempt to unite the Malays. It may also be his last hope to see a united Malay community supporting one Malay party.
To the least, it appears that Dr M would like to see his party as the strongest Malay party uniting all Malay-based parties in a coalition.
ONE MALAY PARTY?
The idea of a single Malay party in the country is not new. It was the hope of former PAS leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat to see that the Islamic party becomes the sole Malay party.
In fact, in some media statements, he did mention the idea that the PAS should become the sole political party in the country.
Mahathir was at odds with Nik Aziz and the latter warned the PAS not to join the Umno in government or in any form of collaboration.
After his demise, the party became closer to the Umno but by then, Dr Mahathir had take his distance from Najib Razak’s Umno.
Mahathir says the Umno is now a party that has only one struggle, that is to save Najib from his ordeals.
Najib is a convicted politician, given a 12-year sentence by the High Court in Malaysia.
The Umno is one of the three Malay parties in the government of PM Muhyiddin Yassin.
Mahathir says the government is not legitimate because it is working with ‘kleptocrats’ and ‘corrupt politicians’ from Umno.
Since Umno is a corrupt party and fighting for a corrupt leader’s survival, Mahathir says, he cannot join this party.
The Bersatu is the most powerful Malay party today since its leader is the Prime Minister.
But PM Muhyiddin went through the back door to secure a deal with the ‘corrupt’ Umno and the PAS to become the 8th PM of Malaysia.
Thus, the Bersatu is also corrupt and its members are thirsty for power, says the elderly statesman who was thrown out of the party.
Mahathir’s aim in creating the new party is to weaken Muhyiddin’s Bersatu. It is to draw support from the existing Bersatu base, a base he helped create.
The former PM is credited for the fall of Umno, the most powerful party in Malaysia, in the 2018 polls.
True, he did not do it alone, but his input was crucial in giving the PH a narrow victory two years ago.
With the court order dismissing Mahathir’s claims of wrongfully expulsion from the Bersatu, he cannot go back to the party.
But he can break the party further. The creation of the ‘new’ Bersatu which we call Bersatu-Mahathir, is already cracking Muhyiddin’s Bersatu.
Grassroot members in some divisions are running away from the ruling party. But the core leaders and members are still staying put.
They are in power, they do not have to abandon Muhyiddin’s ship, yet.
The ruling Bersatu will definitely become Mahathir’s target practice in the run-up to the much expected snap polls this year.
Running down Bersatu should be easy because Mahathir has the power to draw the crowds to listen to his woes.
He can also mesmerise some of the government supporters to the point of securing their votes.
Mahathir did it in 2018. He may repeat it in 2020 or any time the next elections are held.
Mahathir just needs a bit more time to confront the ruling Bersatu and PM Muhyiddin on several fronts before the latter feels the earth shattering effects.
PH KOWTOWING DR M?
What Mahathir will need next in his plans is to pull support from the Pakatan of Anwar Ibrahim.
He cannot do this alone, he knows it, but he is willing to position his party to be a ‘king maker’.
Anwar pushed Mahathir in a corner after he rejected offers to allow the ex-PM to regain the PM post for six months.
If Anwar gave him support, he promised he would quit in December this year after the APEC 2020 meeting in Malaysia.
Consequently, Mahathir is now in a stronger position to pressure both the DAP and Amanah to bend Anwar to his demands.
The PH is not in the best of forms, losing a lot of support after its devastating two years in power.
Mahathir is much responsible for the degradation of the PH image. But he can bring more shine to PH, if he wants to.
The only way for him to do that is to get DAP-Amanah and some in PKR to get Anwar to reconsider his position on the six-months deal.
The DAP is under intense pressure after its leader Lim Guan Eng’s arrest and charging in courts.
Whether the case holds water or not, is another story, but politically speaking it is a burden for DAP.
The only way for them to clear this case will probably be to get PH back in power asap.
This plays in Mahathir’s hands and he will use it, as he is already marking his ground.
And he may just win it, once again but this time, with different conditions than those laid in 2018!
His mission is to unite the Malays under one roof, and this will not be PKR or Amanah. It will Bersatu-Mahathir.
Howeverm Mahathir’s attempt to unite the Malays will not succeed if he believes Anwar is not a key figure in this process.