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Anwar: Is he too late now?

  • Unless Anwar can muster enough support to stop Umno reps from defecting, the meteoric rise of PPBM will be unstoppable.

Sin Chew Daily

On the surface, Mahathir and Anwar appear to be in very good terms although there are few interactions between them, save for the election campaign in Port Dickson.

But below the surface, an undercurrent is taking shape, culminating in the ship-jumping of former Umno minister Mustapa Mohamed to PPBM.

Mahathir's strategy is getting increasingly obvious: his party wants to absorb majority of Umno's MPs.

The door is now wide open, ready to welcome more Umno reps. Of course, for window-dressing purposes, Mahathir has vowed that corrupt Umno leaders will not be accepted.

But who are those "corrupt" leaders? The criteria are very much in the head of Mahathir himself.

So far three Umno leaders have been hauled to the court, namely Najib Razak, Ahmad Zahid and Baling MP Abdul Azeez, who are of course outside Mahathir's list.

Mukhriz has said four will not be allowed to join PPBM: the charged trio plus former tourism minister Mohamed Nazri.

Nazri's inclusion in the list doesn't seem to have much to do with corruption, but he has always been among Umno's harshest critics of Mahathir. In addition, he maintains a good relationship with Anwar, and once said he would campaign for Anwar in PD.

Meanwhile, Khairy Jamaluddin and Tengku Razaleigh don't seem to like Mahathir that much, and are not interested to join his party.

If we take away also Tengku Adnan and Tajuddin Abdul Rahman suffering from bad reputation, there are indeed 40 other Umno reps who may be accepted into PPBM.

The Prime Minister Office media and communications advisor Kadir Jasin has said 40 Umno MPs are prepared to cross over to PPBM, and Muhyiddin also says several Umno reps have met him over possibility of joining his party.

If things work out well, PPBM's seats will swell from the current 14 to 54!

Some may wonder whether there are really 40 Umno MPs defecting to PPBM, and Umno source says Kadir Jasin's claim is just a form of psychological warfare meant to undermine the morale of Umno.

This probability nevertheless cannot be ruled out. Mahathir never fails, especially when all the powers are in his hands.

Mahathir says more people will be charged in the court, and this is already sending chills down the spine of many Umno leaders who claim the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) is not less powerful than the ISA of yesteryear.

Umno's twice postponement of party elections has contravened Section 14 of the Societies Act 1966, and it is likely that the party will be deregistered.

PPBM, a Malay-first component of the ruling coalition, will take over if Umno ceases to exist.

It is anticipated that Umno's future is indeed bleak. As for PPBM, once it has become the biggest party in the Parliament, it will influence the other Pakatan Harapan components and will easily subdue parties in Sabah and Sarawak.

Mahathir and PPBM will then be able to do what they want, decide when Mahathir should step down and who will take over the baton.

Anwar may not be Mahathir's and PPBM's first choice!

PD by-election has been Anwar's tactic to turn the tide around, but the duel between them is no more a Marathon but a 100-meter sprint.

Lacking resources coupled with differences within PKR itself, Anwar is obviously the underdog.

Can Anwar turn the tables, or has he missed the boat?

Saturday's PH presidential council meeting will talk about defection of Umno MPs. Unless Anwar can muster enough support to stop the Umno reps, the meteoric rise of PPBM will be unstoppable.



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