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Saturday, January 16, 2021

How Muhyiddin slit his own throat

His first shot was to announce that he is going to be a half-term Deputy Prime Minister (meaning half term in his second term). The impression he gave was that he would let go around mid-2015 to the second half of 2015.


Actually the move to oust Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak started soon after the May 2013 general election. Najib, who took office on 3rd April 2009, appointed Muhyiddin Yassin as his Deputy on 9th April 2009. And this was the first blow for Muhyiddin because Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had indicated that Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah would become the Prime Minister with him as Deputy.

Tengku Razaleigh was born in April 1937 while Muhyiddin was born in May 1947. That makes Tengku Razaleigh older than Muhyiddin by ten years. Najib, however, was born in July 1953, which means he is younger than Muhyiddin.

That would mean the possibility of Najib retiring and handing power to his Deputy is not as bright as the possibility that Muhyiddin can take over from Tengku Razaleigh once he touches 77 or so in 2014, after the general election. After all, Dr Mahathir announced his retirement at age 77 and handed power to Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi the following year so surely Tengku Razaleigh would not want to stay in power longer than that.

Anyway, Tengku Razaleigh did tell his supporters and close friends that he wants to become Prime Minister for just one term. After that he would retire, which means around 2014 or so when he touches 77, after the general election, like what Abdullah did. Najib, however, would never let go after just one term unless he is pushed out (like Abdullah was) because he still has a few good years to go.

Muhyiddin knew that if he patiently waited until Najib decides to retire before taking over that is never going to happen. Chances are he would have to retire before Najib does because by the time Najib is 77 Muhyiddin would be 83, and hence too old to take over. So if Muhyiddin wants to become Prime Minister he would have to oust Najib for that to happen.

And against that backdrop Muhyiddin made his move. Soon after the 2013 general election he launched his coup d’état, which he knew would need at least two years to come to fruition. So by 2015 he would be able to take over from Najib when Najib is just 62 and he still 68. Age 68 would be a nice time to become Prime Minister because that would give you at least two terms or ten years before you need to retire at age 78 or so (Dr Mahathir’s age when Abdullah took over).

But all was still not lost. Even though Najib and not Tengku Razaleigh became Prime Minister in 2009, Najib took over under the dark cloud of the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder. So surely he would not be able to go the distance and would probably last just two years or so and then would have to resign in disgrace and hand power to his deputy, meaning Muhyiddin.

But 2011 came and went and by 2013 Najib was still Prime Minister. And that was the second blow for Muhyiddin. If Najib can go into his second term without being brought down by a murder controversy (in fact the court discharged Razak Baginda, thus clearing Najib of any involvement in the murder) then he is not going to fall unless he is pushed out. And that was why Muhyiddin was forced to launch his coup d’état soon after the 2013 general election.

His first shot was to announce that he is going to be a half-term Deputy Prime Minister (meaning half term in his second term). The impression he gave was that he would let go around mid-2015 to the second half of 2015.

But Muhyiddin never said he was letting go. He just said he is going to be a half-term Deputy Prime Minister. So what does that mean? This triggered some alarm bells and the Boffin Boys in Najib’s office began to ponder on this announcement. Half term could mean he is retiring or it could mean he is going to be a half-term Deputy Prime Minister because after that he was going to be the Prime Minister.

Muhyiddin’s boys then began to spread the rumour that Hishammuddin Hussein was going to be the next Deputy Prime Minister. But they did not explain whether Hishammuddin was going to be the new Deputy Prime Minister to replace Muhyiddin once he lets go or whether he was going to be Muhyiddin’s Deputy once he takes over from Najib.

The purpose of this very vague announcement followed by the even more confusing rumour was meant to unsettle Zahid Hamidi’s boys who would not be happy if Hishammuddin langkah their boss who is the ‘number one’ Umno Vice President. That would create friction amongst the three Vice Presidents leaving the coast clear for Muhyiddin to make his moves.

So now the natives were restless. Hishammuddin is next in line for the job of Deputy Prime Minister while Muhyiddin was going to let go as Deputy Prime Minister around mid- to late-2015 once he reaches his half term. Umno always puts great importance on its succession plan and that succession plan is now very hazy. And once it becomes hazy it turns into a battleground, which is precisely what Muhyiddin wants to see.

Muhyiddin then began to feed Dr Mahathir with information regarding 1MDB. Umno leader after Umno leader was sent to meet Dr Mahathir to complain about 1MDB. In fact, Dr Mahathir himself admits this. In short, Dr Mahathir was told that Najib stole RM42 billion and they appealed to the old man to ‘do something’.

Dr Mahathir then launched an attack on Najib. Simultaneously, Muhyiddin engineered the setting up of a Special Task Force to investigate 1MDB without going through the Cabinet. Muhyiddin also promised the Tan Sri heads of those agencies in the Special Task Force that once Najib is ousted and he takes over as Prime Minister they would all be given Cabinet positions.

Muhyiddin also formed a strategic alliance with Najib’s brother, Nazir, who is pissed with his brother for refusing to appoint him as the Finance Minister. Nazir is bored with his job as a banker and wants to move up to the next level and become the Finance Minister. Muhyiddin promised Nazir that this would happen once Najib is removed and he takes over as Prime Minister. And in spite of people saying that blood is thicker than water, the job of Finance Minister is worth more than a mere ten pints of blood.

Then there was the opposition to also court. Muhyiddin promised Anwar Ibrahim a pardon — which means he would not only be freed from jail but could also re-enter politics — if the opposition would support the move to oust Najib. And all the opposition needed to do was to keep whacking the 1MDB issue again and again until Najib eventually falls, expected around mid-2015 or so, half way through Muhyiddin’s term as Deputy Prime Minister.

The whole thing was now in place. And all they needed was a trigger. And the trigger was supposed to be activated on Wednesday, 29th July 2015. However, two days before that, Najib activated his own trigger and the entire conspiracy got demolished.

I suspect President Barack Obama’s trip to Malaysia is so that he can personally ask Najib, “How the fook did you survive that conspiracy when everyone was so sure you could never survive?” Yes, even Obama is awed and impressed by Najib’s chess playing and how he checkmated his opponents good and proper.


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