“The grapevine has it that the majority of PPBM grassroots and division leaders are on the verge of quitting the party to join Mahathir en masse, meaning, it would be as if Mahathir’s new party had existed for years.”
Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
اينله سببڽ ساي جڠك ڤرتي بهارو محضير دان بلوك كواس كتيڬ اكن مرايه باڽق كروسي دان كجوتكن راماي
The stage is set, the ball is rolling – Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has officially announced the establishment of a new political entity to partake with WARISAN in the upcoming general election via the recently established “Third Force Independent Bloc.”
And suddenly, we’re seeing a lot of pages from the annals of history come to life, almost as if everyone is re-enacting past events to suit circumstances in the here and now.
To recap, on the 14th of January 2017, Mahathir announced the formation of PPBM as an alternative to UMNO in championing the rights of the Malay-Muslims and named Muhyiddin as president.
Then, days before parliament was dissolved, a trial involving former Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng commenced on allegations that he facilitated the dubious conversion of land and purchased a bungalow unit below market value.
Yesterday, Guan Eng was arrested yet again by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), this time, on allegations that he received a bribe to approve the RM6.3bil Penang undersea tunnel project.
He will also be facing a charge similar to the one he faced prior to the 14th general election at the Penang Sessions Court on Monday.
Yes, it’s 2018 all over again.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for a trial if it is true the MACC has irrefutable evidence suggesting that Lim abused his power in office and received bribes as inducement to approve a project.
But that doesn’t change the fact that what is happening today is what happened prior to the 14th general election, the exception being that back then, PPBM had a 15 month head start to shore up support.
Today, Mahathir’s new party barely has a month or two to prepare for the 15th general election as news from the grapevine has it that parliament may be dissolved very, very soon.
But that may not be a setback after all, as the grapevine also suggests that the majority of PPBM grassroots and division leaders are on the verge of quitting the party to join Mahathir en masse, meaning, it would be as if Mahathir’s new party had existed for years.
Given that PPBM is technically a “Mahathir party,” when these ‘defectors’ join him, it would also be as if PPBM had never joined forces with UMNO.
That would bring us back to square one now, wouldn’t it?
Only this time, Mahathir will enjoy the support of many PPBM, UMNO (Team B), PKR, AMANAH and Borneo leaders who are ever ready to cross over the minute parliament is dissolved.
Why the phenomenal support?
Because Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is no longer in the picture.
And if you haven’t already guessed, the DAP and AMANAH will try to strike a deal with Mahathir’s Third Force at the eleventh hour as its strategy of “giving Anwar time to come to his senses” is proving to be a failure because Anwar is in Anwarland where pigs fly and Elvis is King.
And that brings us to the question of the Malay-Muslim vote.
As we already know, during the 14th general election, an 11-odd per cent swing in the vote did wonders for Pakatan Harapan and put a spoke in UMNO’s wheel.
That swing was attributed to the Malay-Muslims who refused to believe Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when he told them that the 1MDB scandal was hyped up and a “put up job.”
Now that the Kuala Lumpur High Court has found Najib guilty on seven criminal charges, it would be 10 times more difficult for him to suggest the same thing to the same crowd.
People have the luxury of comparing the court verdict with what the opposition and government said prior to the 14th general election to see who was telling the truth and who was not.
As for the remainder of Malay-Muslims, there are multiple divisions that never existed before that exist now due to one or more of the following reasons:
1. PPBM’s decision to work with UMNO wchich runs contrary to the party’s original mandate
2. PPBM’s shock decision to sack several party founders which angered the majority of its grassroots.
3. PPBM’s willingness to allow UMNO to dictate terms.
4. UMNO’s tendency to dictate terms despite owing it to Muhyiddin for the second chance it got.
5. Insults hurled by UMNO leaders towards PPBM and its refusal to formally participate in Perikatan Nasional.
6. UMNO’s refusal to formalise Muafakat Nasional by registering the ‘coalition’ with the Registrar of Societies (RoS).
7. UMNO’s unwillingness to part with any of its traditional seats to the point that its leaders have questioned both PPBM and PAS in relation to their claims for some seats.
8. Resentment over the wanton distribution of government-linked positions to MPs at a rate far higher than ever witnessed in the country’s history.
9. Contradictions between PAS and UMNO in relation to their commitments towards Perikatan Nasional.
With such divisions, no matter what UMNO, PPBM and PAS does or agrees upon henceforth, it is highly likely that a huge faction of disgruntled Malay-Muslim voters are going to vote for a Third Force bloc in hopes that the bloc would bring a positive change to the country.
And if 14th general election is anything to go by, history has proven, that criminal prosecution against an opposition figure weeks prior to a general election serves only to raise suspicion and does very little to change the minds of voters even if the figure is guilty of a crime.
After all, let us not forget how Lim Guan Eng won the 14th general election by a landslidedespite the elaborate charges preferred against him both in the social media and via the court of law.