Nothing to Hide 2.0 was a mitigated disaster

What Mahathir had not anticipated is that he will also be asked very difficult and embarrassing questions, which he cannot answer. He had planned to make all sorts of allegations against Najib and will declare that Najib must reply or else his silence would be taken as an admission of guilt. Mahathir’s doctrine is: you are guilty until you can provide evidence to prove your innocence.

THE CORRIDORS OF POWER

Raja Petra Kamarudin

Sunday, 13th August 2017, was supposed to be Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s most glorious moment. That was the day he was going to debate an empty chair and win the debate. Basically Mahathir was not going to face a live opponent but was just going to shadowbox with an invisible opponent (READ: Mahathir Will Be Shamelessly Shadowboxing Tomorrow).

Mahathir knew that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak was not going to attend the debate. But he nevertheless placed a chair for Najib knowing that the chair would remain empty. Then Mahathir will be able to declare that Najib is scared, pengecut (coward), takde batu(no balls), has something to hide, and so on.

In short, Najib’s ‘no-show’ will be declared a victory for Mahathir. And if Najib turns up it will also be a victory for Mahathir. By not turning up Najib will be said to be scared to face Mahathir. If he turns up Mahathir can also say Najib is too scared to not turn up lest he be called pengecut for not turning up.

Mahathir felt whether Najib turns up or does not turn up does not matter. Both scenarios would be declared a win for Mahathir. So for Najib it would be damned if you do, damned if you don’t. The Malays call it ‘ditelan mati emak, diluah mati bapa’ (you swallow your mother dies, you spit your father dies).

Mahathir thought he had come up with a brilliant strategy that was foolproof and which could not go wrong. And he knew that the chances of Najib not turning up were higher than the chances of Najib turning up. After all who is Mahathir? Even though he may be an ex-Prime Minister, for all intents and purposes he is just a layman. He is not even a Member of Parliament or party president.

Undoubtedly Najib would not lower himself by attending the Nothing to Hide 2.0 debate. Najib is way up there while Mahathir is grovelling in the gutter. Najib is a Prime Minister while Mahathir is a political pariah. According to Malay tradition and customs, timba kena cari telaga, bukan telaga cari timba. Hence Mahathir must go to Najib, not Najib go to Mahathir. But then you need to be Malay to understand this and if Mahathir does not understand this that can only be because he is not Malay.

Mahathir actually prefers if Najib does not turn up. It is easier to whack someone who cannot whack back. And if Najib is absent then Mahathir is free to say whatever he likes and not face the risk of Najib replying to the allegations. It is like Mahathir blaming His Majesty the late Agong for the sacking of Tun Salleh Abas when His Majesty is buried in his grave and cannot defend himself.

What Mahathir had not anticipated is that he will also be asked very difficult and embarrassing questions, which he cannot answer. He had planned to make all sorts of allegations against Najib and will declare that Najib must reply or else his silence would be taken as an admission of guilt. Mahathir’s doctrine is: you are guilty until you can provide evidence to prove your innocence.

Since Najib is not there to defend himself it would be easy to ‘prove’ the Prime Minister’s guilt. Najib’s ‘guilt’ is proven by his ‘silence’ — and of course Najib will be silent since he is not there. What Mahathir did not suspect is that PPBM members themselves are going to raise four questions for Mahathir to reply to (READ: The Nothing To Hide Chaos Is An Inside Job).

And Mahathir was stumped. He could not reply to those questions without either lying or implicating himself in misdeeds and transgressions. When the PPBM member came to the question regarding Memali, Mahathir was cornered. On 4th April 2014 Tun Musa Hitam had already revealed that Mahathir was in Malaysia and not in China on that fateful day, as Malaysians had been told. Hence Mahathir had lied and had tried to shift the blame to Musa.

At that point the chaos started. And if you look at Mahathir’s face you could see that he was totally lost. He was stunned and was not sure what was happening. The look on Mahathir’s face was the same as when he was sprayed with mace at the Kota Bharu airport in 2006. It was the look of someone who was not sure whether he was coming or going.

They had to save Mahathir because the Memali issue was something the old man would not be able to explain. And that was the reason for the chaos. They needed to trigger chaos so that Mahathir could be rushed out of the hall without having to talk about Memali. It was the PPBM people and not so-called Umno people who started this chaos, and the reason was to save Mahathir.

Since that Sunday afternoon nothing much is being said by those who were there that day. Lim Kit Siang is one person who talks so much but he has said nothing so far about the Nothing to Hide 2.0 chaos. In fact, Kit Siang left the hall just seconds before the chaos started. Kit Siang knew what was about to happen and that was why he scooted out of the hall. This was just like on 13th May 1969 when Kit Siang ran away and hid just before the race riots started.

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