Wednesday, July 05, 2006


The forum is organized by the Singapore's STRAITS TIMES newspaper in association with the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (Iseas) and the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA).

Among the topics to be discussed is the on-going POWER TUSSLE IN MALAYSIA

KL-based Malaysia Bureau Chief Reme Ahmad gave a talk on Dr M vs Pak Lah.

And the Key Players involved and what are the possible scenarios.

(NB This is NOT the official TRANSCRIPT, E & O E, but 98% to the MP3)
let me know if the official one is available

“I will now speak on the key players in this battle and what is likely to happen next. The main player of course is Dr Mahathir himself . He is very determined at this point of time to actually chase PM Abdullah from office. He has said things like; just two week ago said I will pursue the case -sampai ke lubang cacin” – in Malay that means ‘right into the worm’s hole”

That is a term you would use against your enemies. That is a very serious term to use. He has said other things despite that a mediator hasn’t been found. He has said “It is my duty to correct things that have gone wrong in the government”. And he is very angry that the selling out of the country according to him because of the bridge issue and the sand issue.

Additionally he feels that PM Abdullah has passed some of his powers to his advisers and even to the son-in-law. So that is not something he is going to take sitting down.

But one thing about Dr Mahathir that everyone would known.; in his 22 years as Prime Minister; he has fought against the Sultans twice and won; he has fought against the judges after sacking three justices and won; He has fought against Musa Hitam and Tengku Razeligh (former deputy president and vice president) and he won. He fought against Annuar Ibrahim.

In 1998 he actually fought against the currency traders; he won by closing the economy and banning the Ringgit from trading. So this is a man who has won all major battles and I think he thinks he can win this one.

Now the big question on people’s mind is actually how far he is willing to go this time. That is not very clear. People keep asking me about “What is his end game?” That is not very clear at the moment.

Now on the second player of course is Abdullah himself. He is actually barely three years in office. He will only be three years in office in October. So some people say, "come on, three years what can he do, can you please give him more time"

But to his critics, 3 years is a long time. He has promised, when he came into office he raised expectations on reforms, anti corruption, transparency, and to some people all these have stopped.

And there are also questions whether he is a consensual player or just plain indecisive. For example there are 35 cabinet committees, committees chaired by Najib and him.

And many cabinet committees to discuss things like education, illegal immigrants and reforms in police. Some people felt there were just discussing without making any decisions. And of course the problems of UMNO being used to being fed with contracts and all that and that has not happen so far.

Then the question for him is “How far is he willing to fight Dr Mahathir?” He has so far maintained his so called “elegant silence”. But that has not stopped his people from uncovering Mahathir’s misdeeds in the past or alleged misdeeds. Now it is not clear whether he is willing to fight dirty, is he a street fighter like Mahathir or not?

The third person is Najib, still 53 very very young for Malaysian politician. He has remained loyal to Abdullah Badawi and if you talk to his people, he will not barge for too many reasons both to his advantage.

If somehow, the prime Minister becomes weaker because of Mahathir’s attacks, then he will become Prime Minister, Najib. On the other hand if for some reasons these attacks make Abdullah Badawi stronger, UMNO rallies to him; people saying Mahathir’s talking nonsense. Then people said “Wow, what a great deputy, loyal guy he is” so again he will get the throne.
But the big question is - if UNMO is stirred hard enough, if Mahathir keeps attacking and attacking and the UMNO ground is moved. People are to ask, start asking, “Come on lets do something” and Najib has always seen as an overcautious politician. So will he move this time around?

In 1998 some people will say that the reason why Anuar move against Mahathir was because Mahathir was having these economic problems, the currency crisis. Some of his advisors say “Let’s move now”; that happened to be a mistake. So Najib may not want to follow the same path.

The other one, well still a side player actually in this game is Anwar Ibrahim 58. When he fell off with Mahathir after 1998, whatever he said were not published in the main stream media.

But nowadays, if he said anything, it will be published in the main stream media. So people are talking that he is being politically cleansed or politically reformed so that he can mount a franking attack on Dr Mahathir.

But it won’t be easy for him to return to UMNO because he has made certain remarks against for example the New Economic Policy that favors the Malays. He seems to indicate that this should now be abandoned.

But we are now not sure how Anwar is going to play the game. Just a few days ago, he had a press conference attended by everybody and instead of attacking Mahathir, he said Mahathir should be given the platform to say something because “he did this to me, you must not do it to him”.

But at the same time, Anwar has so many secrets against Dr Mahathir, that it will be dangerous to unleash him.

The other issue on what is going to happen next actually is the media. The media claims to be freer under Pak Lah today but they have been quite active in running Marathir’s stories. Mahathir will say all these stories are to demonize me. You made me out to be a senile old man or an angry man with no real purpose.

If they were to do that to the main stream media is because of what Dr Mahathir taught them over 22 years.. Basically he told them, "nothing for the opposition and nothing for those who have fallen out of favor with me." So they just play by the same rules.

Interesting enough, another media that is going to help Mahathir now; ten years ago when he set up the Multi Media Super Corridor; to attract the investors, he promised them “I will not censure the Internet, you can published anything

So now with the main stream media so called demonizing him, he turned to bloggers and news portals – which is quite interesting to Dr Mahathir, as he gave an interview to, just a few years ago he tried to shut them down.

And two weeks ago he gave a talk at Malaysia Today a news portal, which was a small news portal and that has now come mainstream, thanks to Dr Mahathir.

So what’s next for him? Someone suggested in one of the blog forum maybe he would start his own blog. That would be interesting, isn’t? And what if he someone else suggested he should do one kind of Pod cast where he can address the people directly since he said he is being demonize. This is something he is looking at.

Now after this, there is another thing that is being discussed as kind of fun and part superstition. Some people actually believe in this - the UMNO's version of the Da Vinci Code - which is basically that the all the Prime Ministers of Malaysia must have the name of the first Prime Minister, Tengku Abdul Rahman.

But you can see the list is R – Rahman, A – Abdul Razak, H – Hussein, M – Mahathir, A – was supposed to be Anwar. Anwar supoorters- were pushing this very hard. It is going to be Anwar, Anwar, and Anwar and suddenly it cannot be Najib because you got to fill the A.

Then Abdullah came out of nowhere. Everybody was startled. So Najib supporters are saying that N, our boss will be next. But to Anuar supporters, the N can still stand for Anwar.”

For the other
TRANSCRIPT of Leslie Lopez S'PORE FORUM Talk go:
What LIES BEHIND the STANDOFF between Dr Mahathir and PM Datuk Seri Ahmad Abdulah in KL
An insightful analysis of ongoing feud between the two, the reasons behind this widely publicized political fight and why Dr Mahathir is moving at this particular time.

And the latest posting (Jul 07) on Tajudin diclosure:
The Deputy Primier Najib is in the dark.
“If there is an understanding, I do not know. That buying back that was discussed” – his exact words.
PAC head Shahrir Samad said Tajudin will have to be compensated if he was doing ‘national service’
More details at:

Update: Jul 17 06, the folowing written account is found at

WITH former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad seemingly intent on shoving his successor out of office, political manoeuvring by the key players in Malaysia looks set only to intensify.
Tun Mahathir has said there are several issues with the current administration that he is not happy about - apart from those he has raised. So apparently there are more attacks to come.
He has blasted the Abdullah administration for cancelling the Johor Causeway bridge, on the issue of Approved Permits for imported cars and concerning Proton and its future. Last weekend, he upped the ante by hinting that Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi has handed some of his powers to a coterie of young officers, including son-in-law Khairy Jamaluddin.
Tun Mahathir is now expected to reveal other issues over coming weeks to undermine PM Abdullah.
At the moment, it is very difficult for PM Abdullah to fight fire with fire for fear that he will be seen as ungrateful of the man who put him on the throne.
But government ministries and agencies are expected to reveal alleged mismanagement and wrongdoings during Tun Mahathir's 22-year rule.
If in previous months officials of the Abdullah administration have been using kids' gloves in revealing these issues out of
respect for 82-year old Tun Mahathir, a more vigorous response and even those damaging to him are now expected.
Some of the alleged scandals of the Mahathir era are expected to be brought to life again by a man who just months ago was a nearly forgotten leader, ex-deputy premier Anwar Ibrahim.
Datuk Seri Anwar has already filed court papers in a case involving Tun Mahathir containing mouth-watering details of alleged shady deals during Tun Mahathir's administration.
The battle is for the hearts and minds of Malaysians and especially for Umno leaders.
From the Mahathir side, they will basically be asked to decide whether PM Abdullah and his men are mismanaging the country, and should be replaced.
From the PM's side, Malaysians will be asked to state that PM Abdullah should be allowed to continue, because most of his troubles today are in fact inherited from his predecessor and he has to clean up the house.
Amid all this, one leader who is trying to keep his head below the turbulent weather but whose role will become more crucial in coming days is Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak.
He has openly said he is behind PM Abdullah, and aides say he will not budge from this position.
Still, that has not stopped speculation that the 53-year-old politician - whom Mahathir said was his favourite to be PM - might be tempted, or perhaps forced by events, to shift if the going gets tougher for PM Abdullah.
Other top leaders are nervously watching, concerned that the gathering storm will spare few politicians


Blogger __earth said...

anwar ibrahim. Not annuar.

9:46 AM  

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