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“If not for Anwar, I’d still be PM,” says Dr M. We say, “If not for you, Dr M, Anwar would have been the 8th PM!”

By P Ramakrishnan

Ramakrishanan says that Dr Mahathir blames every one but himself.

It’s very typical of Dr Mahathir to put the blame on every other person – even if he was the cause of the problem. Typically, he will project himself as blameless and claim that he was maligned by his enemies and his erstwhile friends. In short, he was never the problem!

It came as no surprise when he claimed, “If not for Anwar, I’d still be PM.” There was no basis for this claim; there was no justification to blame Anwar for his lack of majority support among the 222 MPs. All Mahathir had was a pathetic 62 votes – 27.9% – which effectively removed him from the running to be the 8th PM of Malaysia. He was never in the race to be the PM!

Then, how could Mahathir blame Anwar for his failure to be the 8th PM? He never had a chance, not even the remotest possibility of ever becoming the PM for the third time. He was a non-starter!

He could have continued to be the PM if he had not foolishly resigned.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH)coalition partners – PKR, Amanah and DAP – were solidly behind him when he resigned. He took a calculated risk by resigning on 24 February 2020 hoping that he would be appointed as PM once again by the Agong to lead a Unity Government that he was bandying about, free to choose his own cabinet which would be answerable only to him.

That strategy failed miserably and he was out in the cold. He did it to himself!

When he resigned, he did not even bother to consult or inform PH. That would have been the courteous thing to do in all good etiquette.But he didn’t. This breached the principle of reciprocity between the leader and the led. In the circumstances, Mahathir was arrogance personified!

He left his followers flabbergasted and in the lurch by his sudden move. In fact, he abandoned them in the most callous manner. He was that irresponsible!

That being the case, why would PH throw their support for Mahathir? What right did Mahathir have to expect this support? None at all! He severed all ties with them by resigning unilaterally, unexpectedly. It, therefore, made real sense for PH to support Anwar Ibrahim this time to be the next PM as PH had the most supporters as a single coalition at that time. It is on record that Anwar commanded the support of 92 MPs when the Agong was trying to determine the support of the various claimants.

Anwar had 92 MPs backing him. Mahathir had 62, bringing the total to 154. This meant the remaining MPs out of the total of 222 numberedonly 68. The third aspiring candidate with 68 MPs backing him did not even qualify to be considered as the next PM. Under the circumstance, it was Anwar who stood to be appointed as the 8th PM of Malaysia. But, strangely, that did not happen. Anwar was bypassed.

How Muhyiddin Yassin became the 8th PM will remain a mystery forever. Perhaps it was a political miracle!

If Mahathir was a man of his word, he would have thrown his support for Anwar to succeed him. That would have given Anwar an unassailable majority with 154 voted.  That was expected of Mahathir. Didn’t he agree to pass the baton to Anwar after him? He reneged on his word; he dishonoured his pledge. Again, he was the problem – not Anwar!

Mahathir lost in his gamble and still he wouldn’t even help Anwar to succeed. If only he had declared his 62 votes for Anwar, there would have been a smooth transition of power. Then, that would have been a credit to him.

We would have been spared this clueless government with a bloated cabinet earning mind-boggling salaries! Our money is being squandered recklessly without any responsibility.

All because of Mahathir! All because he failed to keep his word and make way for Anwar as he had promised.

It is said, “Your word is your bond. If you say you’re going to do something, then you are honour-bound to do it.”

(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)

First published in Aliran on 4 June 2022

P Ramakrishnan is the long-serving former president of Aliran who served three and a half decades on its executive committee, and has been with Aliran since its inception in 1977. Now an ordinary Aliran member, he continues to highlight issues of public interest to a larger audience.
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