For a long time, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak dismissed former PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s criticisms as mere “noise”, not to be taken seriously. That tune seems to have changed. Recently, he singled out “one person” — a veiled reference to Dr M — for creating trouble.
This can only mean one thing: Dr M is now no longer inconsequential; He is a threat to Umno. Publicly, Umno leaders have stated that the new party, Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu), founded by Dr M, will have little effect in changing the political landscape.
Yet, Umno had made overtures to former Kedah Mentri Besar, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, who is also Dr M’s son and who was sacked from his post, to return to Umno. Mukhriz’s response was “I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!” Mukhriz is now a member of Parti Pribumi.
In Sabah, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, a Dr M supporter who resigned from Umno, is setting up his own party and forming an opposition coalition of Sabah-based parties. As a result, PKR and the DAP have lost a couple of key leaders who left their respective parties to join in Shafie’s initiative. Government-owned media have presented this as the collapse of the opposition, led by PKR.
Well, that’s what the government-owned media say. If more local-based Sabah parties come under Shafie’s opposition umbrella, the Umno-led Barisan Nasional (BN) may lose a number of parliamentary seats in Sabah. The truth that is not openly stated is that, perhaps, Dr M’s efforts to mobilise bumiputras may be making headway — enough to make Umno insecure — and forcing them to react to appear they are strong. Hence, all these negative statements against Dr M (who has nothing to gain from his endeavours, whereas the people will gain everything!), Parti Pribumi and Shafie’s Sabah initiative.
That also explains why hooliganism by some Umno members is getting worse (Red shirts preventing Bersih supporters from their right to assemble and protest). The more insecure the insecure become, the lower they sink to show their strength.
It is heartening to note that all this is not lost on Malaysians. They are expressing their disagreements. An exchange of views in public debate is ongoing, at least, on the online media. My hope is that more Malaysians will wise up to the current political situation and not let themselves be fooled by the mainstream media which have always put the interests of their political masters ahead of the people’s right to know the truth.