Almost two decades ago, Islamonline.net published an article entitled Mahathir’s Trojan Horse.
It was about the machinations to get the PAS to support the BN-Umno regime that was already struggling to stay afloat.
The Free Anwar Ibrahim campaign was still at its height and the opposition PAS was a growing force, riding on the ‘reformasi’ wave.
As the title suggested, the plot was to get close to some in the PAS and plant them as ‘Trojan Horses’.
In the long run, they would do the damages and either ruin the PAS or bring it into Umno’s lap.
Today, the PAS is allied to the Umno in different circumstances. The plot launched by Dr Mahathir Mohamad 20 years ago failed.
However, the remnants of the ‘Trojans’ are still in the PAS and they are now in control with leader Hadi Awang at the helm.
Whether Hadi was Dr Mahathir’s trojan horse 20 years ago, we have no way to verify that now. But unfolding events may give the answer.
But trojans in PAS clashed with the ‘Erdogans’ who later became the Amanah breakaway party.
It is difficult to say if the Erdogans were planted by Anwar Ibrahim because he was in jail or in between court cases with a black eye.
Nevertheless, the Erdogans became the faction that would join the Pakatan Harapan and win the elections in 2018. In the meantime, PAS remained in opposition though they won a bunch of seats.
The allegiance of the Erdogans to Anwar paid off and Mahathir’s Trojan Horse in the PAS waned with time, or so we thought.
It is only after the General Elections of 2018 and the tight margin in the Parliament that the trojans revealed themselves.
THE TROJANS IN PAKATAN
In the Pakatan Harapan, there were virtually no Umno-BN trojans. Unless you would tag the Bersatu party as the trojans that joined the PH to destroy it from within.
This is the perception the public is getting after the numerous setbacks suffered by the new Mahathir regime.
It is unthinkable that a coalition would shoot itself in the foot at a rate of having no toes left only 18 months after taking power!
There must be something that is sorely wrong in Pakatan or something is not right with Dr Mahathir’s government.
And if it is a case of asking why did the chicken cross the road, then both may be true.
Either there are too many opportunists in the cabinet, or some of them are the real trojans.
If that is the case, we have a clear idea of who they may be. For a government that is elected to bring reform to become self-destructive and is rejecting its reform agenda, someone must be putting a stick in the machinery.
The aim is surely to derail the machinery and to let PH take the blame. An inside job to break the PH?
After Tanjung Piai, we have a new angle to the entire Hadi Awang-Mahathir dance in the PH corridors of power.
Never has an Islamist leader from the PAS felt so welcomed at Putrajaya under a Mahathir-era regime.
Hadi broke the rules and made history with his frequent visits to the great office of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. An office he perhaps dreams of holding in the future?
There are only one or two things that can motivate a PAS leader to pay such frequent visits, with his friends and former foes, to Mahathir.
The first one we can think of is Hadi is thinking that he has a plan and his plan involves Dr Mahathir.
Or, it is simply Mahathir’s way of telling Hadi, the PAS and Umno, they got to support him if they do not want to face Anwar in power?
There is no doubt Dr Mahathir will hand over power to Anwar. He said it many times and we believe he will not go down in history as a liar.
We do not believe it is the works of a great man like Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to lie and plot from within to undermine his own government.
But the problem in all this is Hadi. Hadi’s plan is actually a trap. The PAS leader and his friends from Umno now believe they trapped the ‘old man’ in their gameplay.
If this is true, it would be a pity to see Dr Mahathir, the political animal, the alfa male of local politics falling into such entrapments!
And if it is true, then Tanjung Piai is the real waterloo for Dr Mahathir and his version of the PH.
The Prime Minister’s response to the defeat in Johor is rather intriguing. He knew Bersatu could not carry the weight and will be beaten but by a 2000-vote margin.
Yet a 15,000 margin did not sound like a shocker to him, as it sounded for Anwar.
Nevertheless, we expected Dr Mahathir to respond with sarcasm to the call for his resignation after the massive defeat. And he did, saying he has no idea if he made mistakes.
What this tells us is that Dr Mahathir knows he has miscalculated the powerplay from Hadi. This landed him in his biggest defeat as a party leader in a by-election.
To recover from this he has a few choices. Reshuffle the cabinet, bring in new faces—especially those who are reformists— or arrest Najib (on tax evasion charges?). The final choice he has is to simply quit and hand over to Anwar.
What is certain in the current scenario is that Mahathir has lost the plot and lost control of the PH. This could not have been the play by Hadi. Hadi would want Mahathir to hold PH in his grip and hand it over to the PAS as feeder in the next General Elections.
A PH in the hands of Azmin Ali, the powerful Economic Affairs Minister would mean the PAS is in the government.
Sad to say, this whole thing is Dr Mahathir’s own doing. Hadi may have laid a plan to catch Dr Mahathir unaware of the end-game, but it is Dr M who threw himself in a ‘referendum’ which he lost.