Looking on as Pakatan Harapan attempts to get its leadership sorted out is like watching grass grow.
It seems interminable even when they are nowhere near the reins of government. And now we have former Transport Minister Anthony Loke assuring us that it’s okay to have Dr Mahathir as PM-designate – in the event PH takes over, that is – because we “have safeguards” to make sure he will step down in favour of Anwar Ibrahim after “six” months.
Says who? That might be classified under “famous last words” or as songwriter Neil Young might have summed up: “Helplessly hoping.”
To the forgiving Tony, it’s about trust. Put yourself in the other man’s shoes for a minute: To Anwar Ibrahim, it’s been twice bitten already.
And there seems something hopelessly lopsided about the whole dynamic. The story of Anwar has been spun so very deftly by various Dr Mahathir allies that we have generally taken it as gospel.
It is this: that he is so ambitious that he will do anything to be premier. This was reinforced by Dr Mahathir himself saying: “He is crazy to become the PM.” And this, ironically after the ex-physician resigned as premier and set into motion the whole ball of unfortunate wax that we are now confronted with.
Ambition is not a crime. If it were, Dr Mahathir should have been locked up years ago. “Even the smallest dog can raise his leg against the tallest building,” was how the word was once explained. It could be the perfect description.
Peering through the same critical lens, what are we to make of Dr Mahathir now?
The man is neither young nor a visionary. Bluntly put, he is the Methuselah of world politics who blew his chance at redemption when given it on a platter two years ago.
When Robert Mugabe continued ruling into his 90s, he was accused of “clinging on” to power. And Nelson Mandela retired at 80, when the applause was loudest. So, you’d think the doctor would know better.
But no, not Dr Mahathir. He keeps returning like the proverbial bad penny.
After 22 years as premier and another 22-month stint as the premier after May 2018, it seems the nonagenarian politician wants yet another bite at the cherry.
Does it not strike anyone as being “selfishly ambitious?” A “lusting for power?” Even a little, “crazy to be the PM?”
And if he does get his wish, are we then to believe, as the trusting Anthony Loke does, that he will step down in six months in favour of a man he has twice denied?
No one believes that for a minute. Which brings us to the real question: Why does he want to come back?
If it is to lecture nations like the US, Singapore or India on how to manage their affairs, please spare us.
If it is to start another car project or some pie-in-the-sky gold dinar trading scheme, perish the thought!
If it is to sell perfectly well-run government assets to private hands for no reason other than 1) they are your friends and 2) they might help spur other Bumiputera entrepreneurs, give us a break.
It didn’t work before and ended in tears amid enormous debt.
So, again, why?