The buzz, clamour and din that don’t rattle


MAYBE not many would believe if someone was to say that the din caused by those who want Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to step down would eventually quieten, sooner rather than later.

After all, the ones causing the din ranged from highly placed component party leaders from Pakatan Harapan (PH), specifically from PKR and the DAP, to lower placed inconsequential leaders hoping to be of some consequence by joining the chorus line.

However, if they were to take a few steps back and reflect on how Dr Mahathir became their choice for prime minister (PM) and PH top leader, they would probably decide to put a stop to the demands and ultimatums.

Otherwise, the buzz would be no better than that of a “langau” — the bluebottle fly — which the Malays would always use as a reference to those suffering from verbal diarrhoea.

And it should not be too insulting given the numerous unsavoury and uncouth opinions and ultimatums directed at Dr Mahathir, who is still the leader of PH.

Lest they forgot when they decided and agreed that Dr Mahathir be made the PH chairman and subsequently the PM if they won the 14th General Election, it was not out of their affection and love for him.

Obviously, they saw that Dr Mahathir was their best choice of leading the coalition to victory.

Further to that, they were of the opinion that if they managed to wrest the government, the only person who would be able to hold the nation together post-Barisan Nasional (BN) would be Dr Mahathir.

There were fears among them that when BN was defeated, the pillars of the nation — the police and the military — may not want to be supportive of the new coalition given their years of loyalty to the BN government.

And most of them did believe that if there was any leader that the security forces would have enough regards and comfortable to work with during the transition, it would be Dr Mahathir.

And true enough, even though it was never officially confirmed, those in the inner circle were aware of the communications between Dr Mahathir and the top police and military leaders immediately after the poll results showed PH victorious and the assurance given by the security forces of their pledge of support for the new PM and the government of the day.

In other words, such was the respect Dr Mahathir enjoyed across the divide that the change of government went on smoothly without trouble or bloodbath as witnessed in other nations when regime change was affected.

It can, of course, be argued that that was then, and such goodwill was only necessary during the transition phase and now that most aspects are quite settled and in fact much improved compared to the situation during the previous administration.

Because of these, his detractors from within have started buzzing and demanding Dr Mahathir to relinquish his Prime Ministership.

It would have been fine if these demands and ultimatum were to be made at the end of the three years of his stint as the gentlemen’s agreement between the leaders of PH was that Dr Mahathir stepped down after two to three years.

In so far as any agreement stands, when two or three years is taken as the time frame, it means that reneging from the agreement or promise would only count from the first day at the end of the third year, meaning Dr Mahathir could only be accused of reneging from his promise if he refused to step down by then.

However, what happened was the demands for him to step down had started buzzing as early as after the election was won, and the decibels had amplified as Dr Mahathir entered the second year of his premiership.

By any counts, the PH personalities making the demands and ultimatums for the date of stepping down and timeline for it are the ones unsettling the coalition, making its fragility glaringly obvious.

For that matter, Dr Mahathir had somewhat entertained their demands, giving himself until after the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation 2020 Summit in November.

But that had not stopped the demands and by now, obviously it is not about fear of Dr Mahathir reneging from his promise, but rather them wanting to renege from their promise and making it look like Dr Mahathir wanting to hold on.

That narrative is, however, not bought by most. In fact, the ground is disgusted with such crude and wanton display of insatiable lust for power that the very man, who has kept the coalition together, is being badgered with almost daily, hoping that he would not be able to withstand the pressure and crumble.

Anyone of lesser make would have, but not Dr Mahathir. He knows that if he acquiesced to their demands, PH would crumble and all the reforms and economic rehabilitation that had been carried out would be unravelled.

If there is anyone who knows when to exit the stage, it would be Dr Mahathir. The bluebottle flies should return to familiar grounds.

Shamsul Akmar is the editor of The Malaysian Reserve.