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AsiaMalaysiaWhat Is In Mahathir's Game Plan?

What Is In Mahathir’s Game Plan?

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Ex-PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has a game plan, a great sense of humour, a huge sarcastic smile, and a lot of hidden intentions, but he may have gotten his tactics wrong for these elections, as he is nearing the end of his political career.

Mahathir now finds himself alone after botched ‘talks’ with both the Pakatan Harapan and the Perikatan Nasional coalitions ahead of the polls.

Dumped by both sides and despised by the Barisan Nasional for his massive role in bringing their six decades of rule to an end in 2018, Mahathir gathered a ragtag group of extremists and fringe politicians behind a hastily formed NGO, the Gerakan Tanah Air, to lead them in the Nov 19 elections.

If Mahathir has a new game plan in these elections, it will be a tall order for him to succeed, as Mahathir’s cry for help to return as PM for the third time has gone wrong, with every top gun turning against him.

Malaysia has seen a record number of candidates for the 222 Parliamentary seats. No less than 845 candidates are vying for a seat in Parliament in the 15th General Elections.
The biggest opposition group, the Pakatan Harapan has fielded the most number of candidates with 206 men and women for the Parliamentary seats.
They are followed by Barisan Nasional, 178, Perikatan Nasional 149, and Pejuang, Mahathir’s party, 116.
Other candidates are from Parti Warisan (52), Gabungan Parti Sarawak (31), PAS (22), Parti Rakyat Malaysia (16), Gabungan Rakyat Sabah (13), Parti Sarawak Bersatu (10), Putra (9), DAP (8), Parti Kesejahteraan Demokratik Masyarakat (7), Muda (6), Parti Bangsa Malaysia (5), and Parti Bangsa Dayak Sarawak (3).
On the other hand, Parti Bersatu Rakyat Sabah, Parti Sedar Rakyat Sarawak, Parti Sosialis Malaysia, Parti Perpaduan Rakyat Sabah, Parti Bumi Kenyalang and Parti Utama Rakyat, each have a candidate for parliamentary seats.
The Nov 19 elections also saw a total of 108 independent candidates contesting, thus setting another record with the highest number of independent candidates in the country’s general election history ever.
This chart shows the four major coalitions and their leaders in the Malaysian GE15

Backfiring game plan

All of this demonstrates how difficult it is for Mahathir to compete with larger coalitions.

While the old fox fielded so many candidates, most of them have no better chances of winning than the PH of Anwar Ibrahim, Mahathir’s arch-enemy, and the BN led by Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, with whom the nonagenarian is locked in a ‘ethnic’ tussle.

Mahathir resigned as Prime Minister in February 2020, preventing Anwar from becoming Prime Minister as promised, breaking a public promise made on numerous occasions, a political ‘sin’ that will haunt Mahathir during these elections.

Meanwhile, Zahid accuses Mahathir of concealing his true identity, claiming that the elderly politician is a ‘Indian’ who is impersonating as a ‘Malay’.

Nevertheless, it is what netizens are saying openly on social media that adds to the many woes Dr Mahathir faces in these elections.

The elections are not only an uphill battle for him, he is losing the support of the non-Malays who gave him the benefit of the doubt in 2018. They voted for him in Langkawi and there is no guarantee they would vote for him this time around.

With the ‘betrayal’ of his own coalition and his current campaign against the PH, he is alienating more people against him and netizens are digging in Mahathir’s past to state clearly they will bury his political formation and the old man together come the elections.

Mahathir has been called many names, and there is widespread distrust in his ‘promises’ on social media networks since he abandoned the PH after only two years in Power.

He did nothing to repair the damages to his image that has emerged, particularly among non-Malays and, to a lesser extent, among younger Malaysians.

Recently, Mahathir decided to go after Anwar and PH, claiming that they are in cahoots with his other arch enemies in the BN.

Mahathir is touring the country, claiming that Anwar has promised to release convicted ex-PM Najib Razak and to clear Umno leader Zahid Hamidi of all charges in court.

Many people associate Mahathir’s words with those of an elderly, sour, and senile man.

They say his political career is over, and he was given a massive and unique opportunity to redeem himself by the voters and the Anwar family and friends in the PH, but he spit in the plate where he was fed and betrayed everyone.

One can only wonder how the GTA and Mahathir will overcome these heavy burdens in order to win the elections or even propel Mahathir as a PM candidate afterward.

In order to prevent Anwar from ascending to power, Mahathir made the wrong decision in 2020 and has since taken numerous wrong turns.

When his most powerful cabinet minister, Azmin Ali, was accused of sodomy by a ‘boyfriend’ in a viral video, Mahathir stood by him, instead of firing him.

He dismissed the PH manifesto as a load of nonsense and appointed people who are vehemently opposed to Anwar to top positions, possibly to irritate the PH leader.

But Anwar was patient and this seems to be paying off for the once-jailed leader. Mahathir was no reformist and will remain a traditionalist. His game plan now is to stop reforms that the PH can and will bring to the country.

However, for the old fox, it is perhaps a little too late for his game plan to work this time around.

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