By Aathi Shankar
Tun Mahathir Mohamad won’t hand over the premiership to Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in May 2020 as promised.
Previously, according to Pakatan Harapan (PH) arrangement, Mahathir has scheduled to hand over the reins to Anwar after serving two years as the country’s 7th Prime Minister (PM7) from May 9, 2018.
But the 94-year-old is now making a new promise that he would only step down before the next general election (GE15), which is due in 2023.
He has reneged his earlier two-year promise made before GE14 and has made a new one.
One should note that since returning to power as PM7, Mahathir, who ruled Malaysia for 22 years (1981-2003) as PM4 with an iron fist, hardly kept his promises.
He has even stated that election promises are not a holy book that one shall adhere with, drawing widespread criticisms and sneers.
To believe his promise is like believing that an elephant can hang over a cliff with its tail tied up with a rope to a tree.
PKR was originally formed as Parti Keadilan Nasional on April 4, 1999, with a strong drive to oust Mahathir from power.
A year before he had sacked then his deputy, Anwar, from his government and Umno after announcing that Anwar would be his successor.
In GE14, 19 years later, Mahathir rode on the same PKR election logo to win back power.
Now the nonagenarian again breaks his promise to let Anwar succeed him next year.
Anwar, on the other hand, has said that he expected Mahathir to pass baton next year.
Either way, a major political battle between Mahathir and Anwar looms large in 2020.
It will be a powerful number game based on the support of majority parliamentarians.
The news about Mahathir staying on beyond the two-year promise naturally did not go down well with many PKR supporters and voters.
During the GE14 run-in, many Malaysians who voted for ‘Ubah’ (change), thought Mahathir had repented.
They also bought the idea sold to them by PH leaders that they had to use Mahathir to kick out Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN).
They also believed in his promise to step down after two years in power for Anwar to take over.
Once Anwar has been installed as PM8, those ‘Ubah’ Malaysians thought they would enjoy the real change that they so endeared under the PH government.
Now they are all outsmarted by Mahathir.
They have only themselves to be blamed for being fools and to be fooled.
Mahathir’s Vision 2020 seems to be all about him being in power not about the nation’s prosperity.
During GE14 campaign, detractors and critics of Mahathir had told Malaysians umpteen times never to trust the veteran politician.
They were told, “Mahathir will never give it to Anwar”.
They were told that their hatred against Umno-BN was driven by Mahathir’s previous 22-year hardline rule.
Mahathir is a shrewd schemer ala Machiavellian.
He loves power and, will deploy and justify any dirty tactics to win power.
He loves to utilise the power to the fullest and use it to manipulate anything or anyone.
He has the tendency to divide and rule the people along religious and racial lines to consolidate power and position.
All these attributes of a Mahathir regime were preached like a sermon to the ‘Ubah-maniacs’.
Unfortunately, the ‘Ubah’ Malaysians turned deaf and blind.
They simply didn’t want to listen.
They were single-minded about voting back Mahathir to power.
Now they cry foul.
Major PH election promises were not kept.
The premiership would not change hands in 2020.
Mahathir is here to stay.
What Anwar and his supporters going to do about in the next few months?
Of course, it’s not Anwar’s birthright to become PM8.
But surely he will detest being conned out from the premiership succession for the second time in two decades after been promised by the same man.
Big trouble in little Putrajaya awaits.
Power tussle will rule the day.
Consequently, the nation will be the victim.
People will suffer due to imminent PH intense political bickering.
When two elephants fight or make love, grass will suffer.
The better good life so desired by those ‘Ubah’ Malaysians may not happen after all.