PETALING JAYA: An analyst views former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s consistent support for a unity government as just a ploy to keep PKR president Anwar Ibrahim from ever becoming Malaysia’s prime minister.
James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute said, as long as Mahathir is still around, he will do his best to stand in the way of Anwar’s pursuit of helming the top post.
He added this could be traced to the fallout between the two in the 1990s when Anwar was Mahathir’s deputy in the government.
“It’s nothing to do with a unity government. It’s basically Mahathir’s personal agenda to make sure that Anwar doesn’t become the prime minister. There’s nothing more than that.
“Even if (Mahathir) doesn’t become the prime minister himself, it can be anybody else, except Anwar.
“Even the 2018 deal (when Mahathir and PPBM were a part of Pakatan Harapan) was done in bad faith. Mahathir never had any intention of letting Anwar take over,” he told FMT.
Universiti Malaya political scientist Awang Azman Pawi said Mahathir seemed to be “stuck in his own world” where no one else but himself was worthy of leading the nation.
He said Mahathir had moved to bring down Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak because they did not follow his wishes, even though he had chosen Abdullah as his successor and later gave his blessing to Najib.
“It’s clear that Mahathir is shackled by personal reasons in trying to deny Anwar from becoming the prime minister. The reality is that Mahathir is scared of Anwar, who is far more capable than Mahathir if given the chance to be prime minister, and who would cause Mahathir’s legacy to slowly be forgotten by the people,” he told FMT.
Awang Azman added that Mahathir’s legacy is at stake with his new party Pejuang unable to go anywhere as long as Anwar and PKR are the mainstay of opposition support.
Mahathir recently said a unity government would be the way forward for Malaysia as the people have grown sick and tired of the politicking that was happening in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that party matters needed to be put aside to reduce politics, saying a government that does not prioritise party-based politics would be good.
But his comments came in the wake of him saying Anwar would not make a good prime minister as he would not be able to lead the country out of a financial crisis.
This prompted PKR information chief Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin to hit back at Mahathir, telling the former prime minister to stop trying to split the PH coalition.