After winning GE14, the PH people were probably thinking Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the best person to lead the new government because he comes from the smallest party in the coalition.
To guys like Lim Kit Siang, Lim Guan Eng and Klang MP Charles Santiago, who come from the biggest party in the coalition, it could only mean real power will be with the DAP and Dr Mahathir would make a perfect puppet.
But more than 500 days have passed since May 9, Dr Mahathir is no puppet, and these gentlemen are greatly disappointed. The prime minister is chairman of Bersatu, the smallest party in the PH coalition, but wields a hell lot of power in policy decisions.
This is something they didn’t expect because they thought they had better right to decide policies than Dr Mahathir who should be just a rubber stamp. But he is neither a rubber stamp nor a puppet.
Most of all, Dr Mahathir is certainly not DAP’s rubber stamp or puppet.
He is in control and calling the shot, which is why when he said ‘yes’ to khat and Zakir Naik, they thought the prime minister is just too much.
Now they are thinking that they are going back to the numbers game. DAP has got the numbers and Dr Mahathir’s Bersatu only makes the number, therefore they, or rather, the DAP via its Klang MP, wants Dr Mahathir to behave.
Santiago was quoted as saying, “ … Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Education Minister Maszlee Malik must have been aware of the sensitivities surrounding the subject before the idea was put forth.
“And why wouldn’t the people be suspicious? The PH government is protecting controversial preacher Zakir Naik,” he said, adding that Naik has permanent resident status in Malaysia despite being wanted by India for allegations of money laundering and terrorist activities.
He also noted the government’s U-turn on the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and its withdrawal from the Rome Statute.
“In the next week, the government will backtrack on its manifesto commitments when it renews Lynas’ operating licence,” he added.
“The government clearly doesn’t have a good track record to win the confidence of the people.
“Mahathir, by now, should be able to read the mood of the people. And he must understand that arbitrary decisions, without consultation, will not get him far.”
Firstly, the question of “will not get him far” does not arise. Dr Mahathir has gotten much farther than most Malaysians could imagine. And, he does read the mood of the people, which he does excellently like no one else can.
If khat and Zakir Naik are bad news to DAP, so what? Dr Mahathir knows which side his bread is buttered. But yes, the PH government certainly does not have a good track record of winning the people’s confidence.
In fact, it has a bad track record as far as Sarawak is concerned, and Dr Mahathir knows that, too.
He knows his ministers have failed him and decided to deal with Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg on the oil and gas rights of the state. Clearly, the steering committee had not performed to his expectations.
He also knows Sarawak was being bullied, which was why the chief minister reacted the way he did: “You want war, we’ll give you war.”
Almost immediately, he sent his emissary Tun Daim Zainuddin to Kuching.
In case it might miss Dr Mahathir’s attention, Sarawak’s biggest bully is Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng — in the matter of the dilapidated schools.
Lim is holding the state to ransom by withholding the much needed funds.
The latest was this piece of news: “The Sarawak government has paid RM350 million to Putrajaya as part of the RM1 billion loan repayment so that dilapidated schools in the state can be repaired but it seems unlikely that the project will commence any time soon.
State Education, Science and Technological Research Minister Michael Manyin had earlier said the state JKR had suggested that the repair work should start with at least five schools this month.
However, Manyin said that when he brought up the matter during a meeting with Education Minister last week, Maszlee told him they could not proceed until they received a directive from the finance ministry.
The state has had enough of DAP’s bullying ways and the promises they had indiscriminately thrown around but never fulfilled.
As far back as March 5, 2017 DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said DAP was committed to granting autonomy to Sabah and Sarawak in line with the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63) should PH form the federal government.
“This includes full autonomy in the funding and administration of healthcare and education.” Closer to home, Sarawak DAP chairman Chong Chieng Jen said DAP would hold true to its promise of autonomy. So whatever DAP’s problem with the prime minister, Sarawak will not be distracted from DAP’s responsibility of fulfilling its promises to Sarawakians.
Sarawak will not shed tears if the finance minister is replaced or if the entire DAP is kicked out of Dr Mahathir’s government.