“The move was meant to trigger infighting by turning factions aligned to Mahathir against Muhyiddin and those aligned to Muhyiddin against Redzuan. For that ‘deed’ alone, Khairuddin was paid RM5 million and assured another five should he succeed in bringing to fruition an EGM. Both he and Kit Siang are aware that Mahathir will not live that much longer, that with Muhyiddin gone, the former premier will neither have the time nor command to structure PPBM in ways that would guarantee his son’s ascend to power”
THE THIRD FORCE
It was a tense 24th of April 1987.
On that day, Dr Mahathir Mohamad was faced with his fiercest competition ever as he led UMNO into its 31st leadership election. Delegates who attended the poll dubbed it “the battle of the elites.” The UMNO president, who was returned to office, told reporters after the official vote count that the election was proof democracy within the party was very much alive.
But not everyone agreed.
Days after conceding defeat, Mahathir’s competitor, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, told newsmen that the party president allowed delegates from unregistered branches to cast ballots. The claim led to a series of interlocutory hearings that threatened to jeapordise Mahathir’s position in the party. Seeing no alternative, the Prime Minister twisted the arms of judiciary and got Justice Harun Hashim to rule that UMNO was an unlawful party.
One thing led to another before Mahathir established UMNO baru, a surrogate party that refused entry to Razaleigh and his men. He then undertook to surround himself with yes men before getting these men to invite their friends and friends of their friends into the party. When he was satisfied he had over two thirds of the old UMNO’s membership, he submitted a name list to the RoS before effecting the transfer of party assets to the accounts of his trustees and proxies.
So you see, Mahathir will do just about anything to consolidate his position of power. Back in the eighties, that position had to do with his grip of UMNO and dictatorship of government. Today, it has to do with his command of Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), an UMNO offshoot that houses persons opposed to the current Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak.
That explains why he put Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in charge of PPBM, a party the RoS legitimised on the 7th of September 2016. Having served as Najib’s deputy for seven years, Muhyiddin knew the Prime Minister’s ways like he did the back of his hand. Mahathir needed to use that knowledge to convince party members that the leadership had what it took to destroy Najib and destabilise UMNO.
But that’s just one reason.
Another had to do with a meeting that took place on the 10th of August 2015. On that day, Mahathir negotiated the establishment of a new party and a Third Force with the de facto Chief of the DAP, Lim Kit Siang. The duo hashed out a framework of collaboration that, among others, required the DAP to consign the post of Prime Minister exclusively to the leader of the new party Mahathir had in mind.
To earn Kit Siang’s trust, the former premier offered assurance that the the post of Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister would be made available to the DAP. But the senior Lim sensed discrimination. On the 2nd of May 2016, he demanded two things from Mahathir – first, that he be made Finance Minister in a government led by the former premier himself, and second, that Muhyiddin be made Deputy Prime Minister in that government.
Mahathir also knew, that having Muhyiddin on board meant keeping the sacked deputy premier’s bedroom exploits from coming into public view. But that seemed to the former premier a small price to pay if it helped put Muhyiddin on his leash. On the 18th of June 2016, Mahathir agreed to part with the RM20 million Muhyiddin needed to keep Nika from contesting divorce proceedings brought against her by her estranged husband, Stanley Clement.
Now, whether or not the bribe was paid, ramifications of the attempt became painfully clear. Sometime in July 2016, Dato’ Mohamad Ezam Mohd Nor was told by a court official – who just so happened to be his friend – that “a lot of money was negotiated to prevent the affair from blowing up.” Unable to contain his excitement, Ezam immediately got in touch with the only person he knew he could trust – his love interest, Nurul Izzah Anwar.
The month was September, and the year, 2016. The two lovebirds – Ezam and Nurul – agreed to use the scandal as bait to lure Dato’ Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan to their side. On the 1st of October 2016, Ezam met Khairuddin in Sri Hartamas and told him about the bribe Nika solicited, adding that “the millions negotiated” came atop the RM20 million Muhyiddin was already paid while he was still Najib’s deputy in government.
The news destroyed Khairuddin.
The sacked Batu Kawan UMNO leader was devastated that he was paid four times less that amount – or RM5 million – to prance around the globe, risking his life by lodging police reports and assisting lawyer Matthias Chang – a longtime loyalist of Mahathir – leak classified government documents to foreign agents.
Feeling cheated, the sacked UMNO leader asked Ezam what could be done to destroy Mahathir and his son, Dato’ Seri Mukhriz Mahathir. It was then that Ezam proposed a “party swap plan” that Khairuddin found too irresistible to refuse.
According to the plan, Ezam would first announce his decision to join PPBM just “to piss some quarters from Najib’s media circle off.” Khairuddin would then quit the party on the pretext that he had damning evidence against its leadership. The whole purpose of the exercise was to lure Najib’s men into thinking that the sacked UMNO leader was furious with Muhyiddin for letting Ezam into PPBM. Khairuddin was optimistic that the Prime Minister would think that he had some dirt on Muhyiddin he was ready to reveal.
But the plan didn’t work.
On the 29th of October 2016, a day after announcing his decision to quit PPBM, Khairuddin was told by a member of the UMNO shadow movement (READ HERE) that an officer from the Special Branch had already informed the Prime Minister of the Nika Gee scandal. Basically, this fellow told Khairuddin that the information he possessed wasn’t worth a dime, that Najib’s men probably knew more about Muhyiddin and Nika Gee than he could ever dream or imagine.
The news crushed Khairuddin.
Now, prospects of losing more property units turned Khairuddin into a very, very desperate man. So desperate, that a surprise call he received from Lim Kit Siang brought untold cheer and joy for him and his wife. On the 20th of July 2017, the senior Lim offered to alleviate Khairuddin’s burdens by setting aside RM10 million budget for him.
But there were strings attached.
To earn the money, the sacked UMNO leader needed to use his influence in PPBM – or whatever that was left of it – to trigger an an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in the party. The purpose of the EGM was to throw both Muhyiddin and Mohd Redzuan Yusof under the bus. For some reason (to be discussed later), Kit Siang was heavily opposed to Redzuan and told Khairuddin that bringing down the Melaka PPBM Chief was just as important as getting Muhyiddin sacked.
Rest assured, Khairuddin agreed to the plan and signalled to the senior Lim that all systems were go. Kit Siang then fabricated a poison pen letter bearing 200 signatures which Khairuddin got his men to drop into Redzuan’s letterbox. The letter, which the Melaka PPBM Chief promptly handed over to Mahathir, demanded that Muhyiddin be sacked for “soliciting bribes from division leaders to prevent Mukhriz from dominating the leadership.”
The move was meant to trigger infighting by turning factions aligned to Mahathir against Muhyiddin and those aligned to Muhyiddin against Redzuan. For that ‘deed’ alone, Khairuddin was paid RM5 million and assured another five should he succeed in bringing to fruition an EGM. Both he and Kit Siang are aware that Mahathir will not live that much longer, that with Muhyiddin gone, the former premier will neither have the time nor command to structure PPBM in ways that would guarantee his son’s ascend to power.
To be continued…