Book title: Hijack in Malaysia: The Fall of Pakatan Harapan
Author: Francis Paul Siah
Publication year: 2020
Publisher: TRAC-WHEELS (M) SDN BHD
HOW in the world can an iconic nonagenarian pull off a love-hate relationship with his enemy to topple his other enemy and then topple his own enemy-turned-ally establishment in a matter of 22 months?
I am talking about former prime minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who in his 90s, mind you, led his long-time enemies in Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition to topple the powerful Barisan National (BN) he was once apart of.
If I end my article here, it is, of course, an invitation for people to be amazed at the power of Tun M but you know what they say, ‘The higher you climb, the harder you fall’. That is exactly what happened to Tun M as he led the PH coalition to success at first and the point of no return next.
If you are into politics, you will find the downfall of the PH as a federal government of Malaysia an interesting topic. Why wouldn’t you be?
It’s not because of its nature as an opposition bloc. No, but the fact that the former prime minister of its enemy (Barisan National) decided to join his nemesis after donkey years of bickering and cold wars, and next, topple the government he was part of and which had holding the reins for 61 years.
No joke, it was a success. They did topple the longest-running Barisan National (BN) federal government and they managed to taste the real life-action of administering the nation for the first time after the 14th general election held on May 9, 2018.
PH did that beautifully but what was even shocking was that the proud ‘champion of the people’ only managed to rule the country for 22 months.
Even if you are not into politics, you have to admit that the story of how Pakatan Harapan came about after defeating the longest-running champion in just few years after its formation but could only withstand not more than two years in control of the government is interesting.
Sarawak activist, Francis Paul Siah wrote a book entitled ‘Hijack in Malaysia:
The Fall of Pakatan Harapan’ which tells the story of how it came about.
The author, a former journalist and editor, has been following the development events of PH closely from Day 1 — the moment the coalition was formed.
Readers need not worry about having zero knowledge on what were the events leading to the formation of PH as the author spared no details.
They will know what led to certain events.
Reading through the book, readers will see how the author connects the series of events and translates the impacts on the people.
He also pointed out how every single one of PH’s actions — be it big or small — had its consequences.
Take for an example, the cancellation of the World Para Swimming Championship in Sarawak. The author pointed out how unfair it was for the PH government to use the excuse of ‘defending the right to not have diplomatic relations with Israel’ by banning athletes from the said country to join an international sports event which was hosted in our home country.
This might seem like a small matter to some people but if you look deeper, you will see how much Sarawak, as the innocent host venue, had to cope with all the losses in terms of preparation and finance but most importantly, its good name.
In a way, the book may be written to influence the readers to view the PH administration in a negative light.
However to me, those little sneaky actions and moves by the coalition throughout its reign were facts. However, positively you try to view them, it’s not going to change the facts that the PH has let down a lot of people.
All the things PH tried to achieve or do went downhill from Day 1 when it took office, especially when the people of Sarawak had to suffer the most because the state government was an opposition government.
Gradually, the coalition which rode on a ticket of ‘representing the people’ to bring balance to the country and lead the people to prosperity, turned into fragments of individuals fighting over the role of a prime minister, frog-jumping from one party to another as well as broken promises and U-turns.
Of course, some might think that the obvious reason for the downfall of the coalition was the sudden resignation of Tun M as the prime minister.
Some would even say that it was due to the traitors who masterminded the Sheraton Hotel coup but I believe all these only happened because of the actions and underperformed administration of PH and the disunity of its members. They had no one to blame but themselves.
I cannot give you all the details but I will recommend the book not only for reading, but to be dubbed as the Malaysia version of “Sun Tzu’s Art of War” book.
I also strongly recommend this book to politicians and let them learn from the PH story so that history will not repeat itself.
And one final advice from the author — when you are a politician, don’t even trust yourself.