It is irreversible!
The process to Malaysia Baru is programmed and embedded.
The appointments of lifelong oppositionist Lim Guan Eng and Federal Constitution “watchdog” Tommy Thomas would have sealed all doubts on the intents and sincerity of Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The deliberations of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) as well as the recommendations of the Institutional Reforms Committee (IRC) are the processes towards that end.
When Dr Mahathir went to the High Court premise on Sept 5, 2016 to meet Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, it was a definitive realpolitik in action.
Dr Mahathir needed the opposition alliance Pakatan Harapan which Anwar had stitched together. And Anwar responded because he needed Dr Mahathir’s stature to pull in Umno dissidents and the Malay heartland.
Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail confirmed that both these gentlemen last met on Sept 2, 1998 when Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister. Has Dr Mahathir decided to make amends and Anwar decided to “forgive and forget” – we will never know. However, pragmatism will keep both on track.
Dr Mahathir’s vehicle Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) will quite aggressively accept the ordinary members of Umno and PAS while rejecting those of leadership level. The game plan is to leave Umno and PAS with generals without infantrymen.
Naturally we will be hearing a lot about PH coalition rumblings and disagreements. But this is part of the manifestations of Malaysia Baru; more openness.
There was serious infighting within Umno and disagreements within Barisan Nasional but reportage was tightly controlled then.
I have some friends who refused to believe Dr Mahathir could change, especially those who felt they were unfairly treated. How could this man of Machiavellian-style leadership of 22 years be anything else but himself?
I agree with them but I insist he has completely different motivations this time.
In the 1981-2003 episode, he just removed anything that could be in his way to do things his way and also to stay in power. In the 2018–2020 (let’s say) episode, it will still be his style but this time it is to leave a legacy of 100 years!
Will it be Anwar or Datuk Seri Azmin Ali who will take over? It doesn’t really matter as when the reins are handed over, the nation will be on irreversible mode.
I think history will remember Dr Mahathir well.