Well, that is how horse-trading is normally done. In a win-win arrangement you need to give some ground to gain some in return. There are certain things that Dr Mahathir wants and there are certain things that DAP and Pakatan want. And if both get what they want then a deal can be made. And in this situation both have got what they want so they have a deal. That is how politics is played anywhere in the world.
When Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali flew to London to meet Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad the alarm bells starting wailing like a banshee and the Boffin Boys in Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s office went on red alert. Azmin meeting Dr Mahathir was not what was of interest as much as the fact that Azmin was there as an emissary of Anwar Ibrahim.
The following day Azmin flew back to Malaysia and two days later he visited Anwar in the Sungai Buloh Prison to report the result of that meeting (see picture below).
Basically, there was only one purpose for that meeting — which was to see how Pakatan Rakyat (and now Pakatan Harapan) could enter into some sort of pact with the old man. And if so then what sort of pact would it be and what would be the terms of that pact?
All Pakatan wanted was to get into federal power while all Dr Mahathir wanted was to see Najib kicked out of office. So if a merger of interests was possible then a pact would also be possible. It would be what is called a win-win situation. And in a win-win situation, as opposed to winner takes all situation, it would mean compromises need to be made. You gain some ground but must lose some in return.
One year ago such a meeting of the minds would not have been possible. The very thought of Dr Mahathir making a pact with an Anwar-led Pakatan would tantamount to blasphemy of the highest order, both for Dr Mahathir as well as for Anwar.
Almost ten years ago back in 2006 when those from the opposition supported Dr Mahathir in his move to oust Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Azmin and Anwar blew a gasket. With a smirking Anwar by his side, Azmin stood on stage and condemned all those who were ‘collaborating’ with Dr Mahathir.
In a Hitler-like stance complete with waving hands, Azmin screamed, “Semua yang bersekongkong dengan Mahathir boleh bla!” Never mind that the ‘collaboration’ was aimed at removing an Umno Prime Minister. Anything at all involving Dr Mahathir was sacrilegious and a crime punishable by ostracisation.
How times have changed. What was an unforgivable act ten years ago is not quite acceptable today. Ten years ago you would be condemned for working with Dr Mahathir. Today, those who condemn you are the same people who are working with Dr Mahathir. What was that they say about there are no permanent friends and no permanent enemies in politics?
Nevertheless, no pact between Pakatan and Dr Mahathir would be possible if it was the initiative of just PKR. Pakatan is not a PKR-led Pakatan but a DAP-led Pakatan. Hence DAP must be part of that pact and must agree to the terms and conditions of the pact. Only if DAP says it is all systems go would it happen.
Dr Mahathir’s demands are quite simple. Najib must go and the new Prime Minister has to be one of Dr Mahathir’s choice. The proxy Prime Minister would be ‘guided’ by a Council of Elders or Presidential Council. And that new or proxy Prime Minister who would serve as the Council’s puppet is to be Muhyiddin Yassin.
To this proposal DAP and Pakatan have agreed and they have already announced this agreement a few months ago. In fact, DAP has suggested that Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Tun Musa Hitam also be included as members of this Council so that they can have a sort of Trinity leadership.
As a trade-off in agreeing to Dr Mahathir having the final say in who replaces Najib as Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir has to agree that Anwar be released from jail with an unconditional pardon. Anwar will then be able to re-enter politics and can take over as the Opposition Leader.
Two Deputy Prime Ministers would be appointed, one from Barisan Nasional and one from Pakatan Harapan. Mukhriz Mahathir would be the Deputy Prime Minister from Barisan Nasional while Lim Kit Siang would represent Pakatan Harapan as the second Deputy Prime Minister.
In fact, Dr Mahathir has already said that the Constitution is silent regarding the matter of Deputy Prime Ministers. You do not need a Deputy Prime Minister or you can have three if you want. It is entirely up to the Prime Minister to decide. So one Deputy Prime Minister from Barisan and another from Pakatan is perfectly legal.
DAP is pushing for a review and a possible abrogation of Article 153 in the Constitution. This has been a bone of contention for the Chinese for quite some time now. Dr Mahathir has spoken about this in the past and he even feels that the NEP has outlived its usefulness and should be abolished. But for him to agree to the review and abrogation (or abolishing) of Article 153 and the NEP there has to be some sort of trade-off.
Dr Mahathir’s main worry is that once Pakatan takes over, if it does happen, the new Pakatan government will reopen the files on his wrongdoings. In fact, this is what Pakatan has promised — that once it comes to power it is going to throw Dr Mahathir into jail. So Dr Mahathir wants an assurance that this will not happen.
Arresting and putting Dr Mahathir in jail is no longer at the top of Pakatan’s priority list. Even if Dr Mahathir is put on trial it would take many years (or even more than a decade) before the many cases can be resolved (and there would be many). So Dr Mahathir would most likely be long dead by then anyway. So why bother trying to flog a dead horse? Better they horse-trade while the horse is still breathing than try to flog it after it stops breathing.
Pakatan now has a very cordial relationship with the MACC and Pakatan can tell MACC what to do. So Pakatan has given Dr Mahathir its assurance that no one is going to go after him and put him in jail or make him pay back the billions that he has taken and has parked under the names of his nominees. In return Dr Mahathir agrees to the review and abrogation of Article 153 and the NEP.
Well, that is how horse-trading is normally done. In a win-win arrangement you need to give some ground to gain some in return. There are certain things that Dr Mahathir wants and there are certain things that DAP and Pakatan want. And if both get what they want then a deal can be made. And in this situation both have got what they want so they have a deal. That is how politics is played anywhere in the world. Raja Petra Kamarudin