KUALA LUMPUR: Despite their decades of experience in local politics, analysts believed that former Malaysian Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and senior United Malays National Organisation (Umno) MP Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, also known as Ku Li, may now have little to offer in terms of affecting the Malaysian political dynamic.
The political analysts polled said that the duo’s call for MPs to reject the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government’s Budget 2021 in its third reading vote and offer to assist a new government largely went ignored.
“On the positive side, their political experiences let them reach beyond political partisanship boundaries when they are willing to cooperate with any MPs. Especially in our political culture where political parties majorly define our political landscape instead of civil societies.
“However, their move to reject the Bill still failed to bring down Prime Minister Tan Muhyiddin Yassin, and has shown that their influence — especially in Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (which Dr Mahathir founded) and Umno (which Mr Tengku Razaleigh is in) — has corroded.
“They may destabilise PN as a ruling party, but the ruling coalition also learns how to adapt and focus on negotiating to acquire consensus among MPs from other component parties to make sure that the Budget 2021 will pass,” senior researcher at think tank O2 Malaysia Anis Anwar Suhaimi said.
Mr Anis said that more progressive and radical ideas are needed in the current state, adding that Dr Mahathir’s and Mr Tengku Razaleigh’s “re-application of the old model from their time” might simply not work now.
I am not answerable to Anwar, says Dr MahathirGeostrategist professor Azmi Hassan also shared Mr Anis’ views, that the third reading of the Budget that went through “is sort of a nail in the coffin both for Dr M and Ku Li” in terms of their political journey.
Additionally, he suggested that the galvanising force that led Umno MPs to vote for the Budget — despite some claiming to support Mr Anwar Ibrahim — may have been the duo’s surprise joint press conference.
“It looks like Umno MPs turned up in nearly full force supporting the Bill and ironically, I think the factor that pushed Umno’s support is due to the press conference by Dr Mahathir and Ku Li,” he said.
“It’s the end of the road for both of them as when Dr Mahathir urged MPs to vote with their conscience, the 111 MPs did vote with their conscience, that is, to put the nation first.
To make matters worse, all Umno MPs except for Ku Li voted for the Bill.”Mr Azmi added that this meant that even Umno MPs did not buy Ku Li’s assertion of saving the country.
Universiti Putra Malaysia political analyst Jayum Jawan said that it may be best for the two political titans to leave the country’s governance in the hands of younger political leaders, adding that the country must move past the duo.
Malaysian PM Muhyiddin passes leadership test in final budget vote“The times of Dr Mahathir and Ku Li are long gone. It is better for them to remain statesman-like and leave the governance to plenty of young Malay talents.
“They must learn to let go and have confidence that these young Malay and Malaysian talents can do much better than them,” Prof Jayum said.
Prof Jayum said that the duo’s recent public statements also showed that “they clearly are not in tune to the current vibes of Malays and Malaysians.”
Universiti Sains Malaysia’s political analyst Sivamurugan Pandian, however, felt that there is a dilemma regarding leadership ascension in the country’s politics, as to whether experienced ones are needed more than the young bloods.
However, he said that it is high time for young leaders to fight their way in, and upwards.“Unless the young leaders are given the opportunity to lead, until then, we will see senior leaders dominate the party.
Muhyiddin tightens grip on Perikatan after budget vote, say analysts“Our political arena is controlled by a few personalities, and maybe its time for the young leaders to come out strongly and give a sense of leadership,” he said.
In the press conference, the senior statesmen alluded that the PN government may lose the vote, and subsequently offered their expertise and experiences in public service to the possible new government.
Despite all the speculation and drama in the last few weeks, the Budget was still passed 111-108 in its third reading in the Dewan Rakyat.
Pakatan Harapan leaders have since called for a “reset” of the Opposition coalition, while some have been questioning whether Mr Anwar should still lead the group after his failed gambit.
-MALAY MAIL/Today Online