Did Mahathir play Najib or Najib played Mahathir?

Najib knows what his focus should be. And his focus is Malay seats and East Malaysian seats. And Mahathir as Pakatan Harapan’s Prime Minister-in-waiting is not going to threaten those 100 or so Malay seats plus the 57 from East Malaysia. Pakatan is still going to grab those 65-70 seats never mind what happens. So Najib can forget about them. It is the balance 150 seats that matter. And with Mahathir as the nominated interim Prime Minister, supposedly warming the seat for Anwar Ibrahim, Najib knows that his 150 or so seats are safe because Mahathir is now a DAP man and no longer an Umno man.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER 

Raja Petra Kamarudin

There are those who say the clock is ticking and Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s days are numbered. This is because of the 7th January 2018 event where Pakatan Harapan announced Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the interim Prime Minister and Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as his deputy. Once Anwar Ibrahim receives his pardon from DYMM the Agong, gets released from jail, and wins a parliament seat in a by-election, Mahathir will then step aside to make way for Anwar to take over as Malaysia’s Eighth Prime Minister.

Pakatan is presenting this as a sure-win formula and a strategy that will guarantee the ouster of Umno and Barisan Nasional in the coming general election. This is something the people were waiting for, says Pakatan, and with this announcement they are more or less assured of winning the coming general election.

In that case why are the Pakatan people going all over Malaysia explaining that what they announced on 7th January 2018 is a good thing? If it is a good thing surely the people will be able to see that and you do need to criss-cross the country explaining that it is a good thing. The feedback from the ground is that many people see this as a step backwards rather than a step forward.

The impression they are trying to create is that Mahathir has outplayed Najib and on 7th January 2018 Mahathir checkmated Najib. Najib is practically trapped in a corner and this is one situation he is not going to crawl out alive from. In short, Najib is a dead man walking and finally, after three years of hammering away, Mahathir has managed to finish Najib off once and for all.

Mahathir started his move on Najib in December 2014. By July 2015 it was supposed to have been over. Muhyiddin Yassin would be the new Prime Minister by 29th July 2015 and the first thing he would do is ensure that Mukhriz becomes his number two.

The Federal Constitution says the Prime Minister must be a Member of the House but the Cabinet Members need not be. As for the position of Deputy Prime Minister the Constitution is silent. Hence that does not preclude Mukhriz from taking over as the Deputy Prime Minister although after that he will need to contest a parliament seat in a by-election to strengthen his chances of succession to Prime Minister.

The 29th July 2015 date came and went and Najib still remained in power. After that the window started closing gradually and time became the essence. When the October vote-of-no-confidence in Parliament and the December vote-of-no-confidence during the Umno annual assembly both failed, the window closed totally. Najib started the new year in 2016 as the man with the upper hand and Mahathir was now the hunter being hunted.

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