Following is an editorial adapted from NST Online complete with responses by TTF (in blue):
BESTARI JAYA: There is no need to speculate over Pakatan Harapan chairman Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s absence from the Rantau by-election campaign trail, Selangor Menteri Besar Amirudin Shari said.
Amirudin, who is also a PKR central leadership council member, pointed out that as a prime minister, Dr Mahathir’s current focus would be on rectifying the country’s economy.
“Dr Mahathir did not campaign in Sungai Kandis by-election, too. (There is) No problem. He managed to campaign in Cameron Highlands and Semenyih by-elections.
TTF: There is a difference.
In Sungai Kandis, Pakatan’s candidate was not hand-picked by Anwar, while the ruling coalition’s campaign wasn’t about Anwar or his premiership.
In Rantau, Pakatan’s candidate wasn’t just hand-picked by Anwar, the ruling coalition’s campaign was all about Anwar’s promises to the people as Prime Minister in waiting.
Anwar, through the campaign, appeared to be trying hard to convince the people that he would become Prime Minister as scheduled.
Mahathir’s absence and last minute backing out from a joint ceramah with Anwar was a clear sign that he no longer believed the people wanted Anwar as Prime Minister.
Dr Streram’s defeat more or less sealed Anwar’s fate and proved Mahathir right.
NST Online continued…
“There are criteria and a certain degree of priorities and needs that warrant Dr Mahathir to help out with the campaign.
“We must know that currently, Dr Mahathir is working hard to heal the country and the momentum can be clearly seen with the tabling of Felda white paper in Parliament as well as other government initiatives,” Amirudin told reporters today after attending the Higher Institution Debate competition at Universiti Selangor.
Amirudin said in the absence of Dr Mahathir, other top PH leaders had helped to campaign for PH candidate Dr S. Streram’s run for the Rantau state seat.
TTF: Actually, it was more of an Anwar campaign than anything else.
Everyone could see that Dr Streram was not a suitable candidate, leading to speculation that his selection was deliberate to grant Anwar the opportunity to sell himself in Rantau.
Should Streram have won, Anwar would probably have planned a second no confidence motion by telling MPs that the Rantau win proved the people wanted him to be the PM.
Now, it has become clear that the people do not give a hoot about him.
Amirudin forgot, that the Rantau campaign was very important for Pakatan to redeem itself given the ruling coalition’s losing streak in recent by-elections.
To say that Mahathir need not have participated reeks of sheer ignorance on Amirudin’s part, as if anything, the Prime Minister’s presence would have been most opportune to help reverse Pakatan’s fortunes.
Here itself, one can see clearly that Mahathir wanted Anwar to ‘get hit’.
NST Online continued…
“I was there to campaign, and so were (PKR deputy president) Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, (Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia deputy president) Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and (Parti Amanah Negara president) Mohamad Sabu.
“So I don’t think there is a need for this matter (Dr Mahathir’s absence) to be speculated.”
In the recently concluded Rantau by-election, incumbent Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan of Barisan Nasional obtained 10,397 votes, defeating Dr Streram with a 4,510-vote majority.