Mahathir Mohamad. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg
Mahathir Mohamad. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

By Aathi Shankar

Was the recent ‘Kongres Maruah Melayu’ (Malay Dignity Congress) about Malay unity or a stage set for Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad to woo the Malay political support?

Four higher learning institutes comprising Universiti Malaya (UM), Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) and Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) organised the event at Stadium Malawati, Shah Alam on Sunday, October 6, 2019.

As expected the organisers had already refuted claims that they were being manipulated by Mahathir’s Party Pribumi Bumiputra Malaysia (PPBM) to hold the congress.

They claimed that the event was being organised just to restore the Malays former glory.

The organisers slotted Mahathir to deliver a keynote address at the event.

Mahathir seized the opportunity to slay the Malays with his trademark insults and scorns.

PKR president and Prime Minister-designate Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, PPBM president Tn Muhyiddin Yassin and Pekan MP Datuk Seri Najib Razak were all conspicuously absent.

The organisers have not clarified over the glaring absentees.

Was the congress organised for Mahathir to flex his Malay political muscle and enhance his own agenda?

Malay Vote Bank

Mahathir has been trying to regain lost Malay electorate grounds since he stormed back to power to become the 7th Prime Minister (PM7) after Pakatan Harapan (PH) won the 14th General Election (GE14) on May 9, 2018.

He created and tried to feast on Khat Jawi writing and Zakir Naik issues; condemned India over Jammu and Kashmir; and labelled the Chinese educationist group, Dong Zhong, as racist.

All these were done deliberately to antagonise non-Malay/Muslims in Malaysia as Mahathir thought his ploys will draw the Malays to rally behind him.

But so far he had failed miserably.

He even tried to derail the Umno-PAS political block by invoking the old “kafir mengkafir” (infidels) issue, which actually happened under Mahathir’s previous 22-year rule (1981-2003) as PM4 anyway.

He failed again.

In his speech at the congress, he claimed that the current PH government lacked the “Malayness” enjoyed by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government.

Power Craze

Mahathir did not want to let go his political grip over BN and Umno even after retirement in 2003.

He did not let his successors Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib rule Malaysia according to their vision.

The power crazy nonagenarian wanted to control them and dictate on what they should and should not do as premiers.

Mahathir’s agenda was to protect the political and economic interests, rights and benefits of his family members and cronies.

When Abdullah and Najib refused to ‘kow tow’ to Mahathir, they were harried, mostly with venomous and malicious lies and half-truths.

Abdullah just gave up and quit after GE12 in 2008.

But Najib fought back, which forced Mahathir to quit the ‘Malay’ Umno and gang up with people he politically despised for so long – Anwar and Lim Kit Siang of DAP.

But Najib has to pay a heavy price for standing up against the ‘bully’ Mahathir.

He currently faces 42 trumped up corruption charges.

Mahathir is so vindictive that he did not even spare Najib’s family members from the law – some of them are facing multiple charges.

He has also slapped Umno president Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi with a record 82 corruption charges.

Mahathir however, has spared those from DAP from corruption charges linked to the bungalow and tunnel scandals, and a certain federal minister from sodomy charges after featuring in a gay porn video.

Real Culprit

Why suddenly Mahathir is so keen on Malay unity?

Truth is, Mahathir is the real culprit behind the Malay political disunity today.

In 1988, just to hang on to power after nearly losing it in the 1987 Umno presidential election, Mahathir allowed the old Umno formed in Johor Palace in 1946 to be deregistered.

He then formed a new party of his own, Umno Baru, to get rid of his political rivals led by Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, commonly known as Ku Li, from the original Umno.

Ku Li went to form his own party, Semangat 46, which was later dissolved after GE9 in 1995.

In the late 1990s, Mahathir got rid of his then deputy, Anwar, resulting in the formation of the Malay-based Parti Keadilan Nasional (PKN), which later became Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR).

Anwar was condemned as a sodomist and jailed for being involved in homosexual activities.

On September 7, 2016, Mahathir formed a new Malay party PPBM and joined the DAP-led PH.

Riding on a fraudulent campaign and false promises, he led PH to an election victory and became a “minority” PM7.

He knocked the long-serving Malay ruling party, Umno, off its perch.

Mahathir has promised Anwar the premiership two years from GE14, which means in May 2020.

But now he sings different political tunes, dilly-dallying on the actual date to hand over power to Anwar.

Mahathir is being accused by certain quarters for splitting Anwar’s PKR into two factions just to hang on to power.

DAP

During his time as PM4, before and even after, he condemned DAP as the most racist party in the country.

He had always preached that the Chinese-dominated DAP was the number one enemy to the Malays.

Shockingly though, in 2017, his PPBM joined hands with DAP via PH.

He then led and let the “racist” DAP to get into the federal administration.

He has even allotted the crucial finance and information ministries to the “racist” DAP to secure his position as PM7!

Power

Mahathir is person always craving for political power and has a tendency to manipulate and abuse it as well.

Now he wants to embark on a fake “Malay unity” battle cry because he badly needs Malay support to sustain the political and economic interests of his own, family members and cronies.

Being a “minority” PM in PH, as his PPBM has only 26 MPs now, Mahathir is desperate for Malay political backing, hence the congress.

It is always about Mahathir, not Malay unity.

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