The Islamists PAS depicted Malaysian Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad as a giant killer, overthrowing all the Prime Ministers of the country who lived during his lifetime.
Which is a feat not many will accomplish in Malaysia, nor outside the country as there are no historical records that could match Dr Mahathir’s incredible political survival skills?
This was highlighted in an editorial in the Harakah Daily portal, which is the news site for the PAS and penned by Subky Latif, a veteran journalist and PAS party member.
Subky said Dr Mahathir did not only overthrow Najib Razak and Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, but he overthrew Tunku Abdul Rahman Putra, Tun Hussein Onn also with the exception to Najib’s father Tun Abdul Razak who died in service.
He said while Tungku Abdul Rahman, the first PM of Malaysia was in office, the prime minister grew powerless. Power was in fact concentrated in the hands Tun Abdul Razak.
Dr Mahathir, he said, roped in the help of student leader Anwar Ibrahim to hold protests calling for Tunku’s resignation.
Losing support, Tunku resigned. This was the first of the series of PM that Dr Mahathir will topple, said Subky, adding that people did not say it was Tun Hussein who overthrew the PM, but they said it was Dr Mahathir who did it.
The accession of Tun Hussein Onn as PM saw Tun Abdul Razak’s appointment as his deputy PM. This consolidated the close relationship between Dr Mahathir and Tun Abdul Razak which later became a factor in Dr M’s choice of Najib Razak as PM in 2009.
However, the Deputy PM was more popular than the PM. Nevertheless, Tun Hussein quit his post for health reasons, but Subky said it was a technical overthrow by Dr Mahathir. People then said Tun Hussein Onn quit before he was asked to resign by Dr Mahathir and others.
After Dr M left office in 2003, anointing Abdullah Badawi as PM, no one expected a change of heart from the ex-PM.
Barely a few years down the road, Dr M quit Umno to lead a campaign for the demotion of Abdullah Badawi as PM, which he succeeded in doing in 2009.
That year, Dr M pushed for Tun Abdul Razak’s son to become PM. He will later say he chose Najib out of reverence to the latter’s father who was a great friend of his. But to his disappointment, Najib turned out to be a totally different person as PM.
Dr Mahathir said the son of Razak looted the country of billions of dollars (through the 1MDB scandal), he left Umno again and this time not to return after failing to unseat Najib.
Najib had consolidated his grip on the party, driving it to failure in May 9. In between taht time, Dr M joined the already powerful opposition Pakatan Rakyat to strike a mortal blow to the political career of the reigning but fading PM.
But to Dr M’s surprise, while Tunku, Hussein Onn and Abdullah Badawi did not fight-off his challenges, Najib put up a mighty fight that went down to the wire on May 9.
Najib lost against Dr Mahathir and this meant that he became the very first Umno leader to taste defeat in a general election.
During Dr Mahathir’s long and successful path in his first reign as PM, leading to his resignation and to his return to power as PM again, four PM’s were dropped.
Mahathir also saw the fall of three deputy PM’s during his long reign as PM. They are Musa Hitam, who resigned after failing to quell the Mamali incident. Abdul Ghafar Baba who was dethroned by Anwar Ibrahim and Anwar himself who was demoted and sent to jail in a move that sparked the ‘reformasi’ movement that eventually helped Dr M to regain his PM’s post.
And with this defeat, it could also be the end of the Umno, says Subky, who asked whether there is anyone left who could revive the Umno after Najib’s fracas?.
He wrote there is still the tainted figure of Khairy Jamaluddin son-in-law of Abdullah Badawi, but if the latter does not fit the bill, Umno risk disappearing!