Tuesday 25 October 2011

The Iceman Cometh....

Will Mahathir now do an about turn on Najib – the same Najib he passed over as Prime Minister in favor of  Pak Lah – the same Najib he now wants Muhyiddin to replace. Can a proud Mahathir once again…no make that four times again – Musa, Anwar, Pak Lah and now Najib – can a proud Mahathir for the fourth time admit that he made the wrong choice again and he now wants Najib out?

But wait…there is more to it than that. What is there in it for Mahathir to make him want to eat humble pie again?

Mukriz upgraded to a full Minister?

The crooked bridge is straight away reinstated by Muhyiddin (on the grounds that being a Johor man he knows what is best for Johor – and that it is not a quid pro cuo for Mahathir assist in making him numero uno). 

Can UMNO accentuate the positive :
Turning  Muhyiddin insistence that he is a Malay first into votes from the Malays for UMNO?

While minimizing the negatives :
Mahathir interference (again!) in the affairs of UMNO and national politics – and survive the polarization of the non Malay votes towards DAP and, presumably, Pakatan Rakyat?

In the past Mahathir had Daim who moved between business and government with consummate ease and in the process took Malaysia out of the Global Financial Crisis and into positive economic growth. This formidable combination of political power coupled with Daem’s economic credentials for success was UMNO at its most successful with Malaysia Inc. becoming the mantra for Mahathir. It was the era when corporate Malaysia and UMNO were literally one and the same thing : all UMNO and BN politicians and their families and cronies!.

By contrast Pak Lah’s administration was eclipsed by the back office boys on the fourth floor led by KJ. This made possible the exodus from Pak Lah’s camp to Najib/Mahathir camp of those in UMNO who wanted KJ neutralized.

Pak Lah never knew how to tailor his office around his weakness – perceived or otherwise. KJ did it all for him but KJ was ahead of himself. KJ was guilty of the cardinal sin of believing that it was him, not Pak Lah who was the Prime Minister.An error of judgement compounded by an arrogance of self not seen since the days of Mahathir!  

And so it has come to pass that KJ now finds himself in the twilight zone of politics. Hidup segan mati tak mau. Don’t want to live but cannot die also!     

Now back to Najib. Will Mahathir and those that are now “Orang Najib”  be able to change horses in mid stream? And if they do will Muhyiddin find a place for them in his administration. Can those whose only political asset is their loyalty and dedication to Najib now be accommodated into Muhyiddin’s camp? 

Given Mahathir’s propensity to dictate, Muhyiddin cannot afford to ignore what Mahathir wants and yet cannot afford to allow Mahathir to do as he pleases. Muhyiddin as Leader will decide whom he wants in his cabinet. But what to do with Mukriz. With that Din guy from the Rumah Ministry? Is Mukriz and Din part of the problem or part of the solution to Muhyiddin taking office? 

As always Mahathir will play a central role in these dramas.  Whether it is Najib or Muhyiddin the first one to understand and accede to what Mahathir wants will probably win. My money is on Muhyiddin.  

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