THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
Raja Petra Kamarudin
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has committed more acts of betrayal than Anwar Ibrahim has committed acts of sodomy. And Anwar’s sexual crimes is a long list indeed. Mahathir has betrayed every Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister save Tun Razak Hussein and Tun Dr Ismail Abdul Rahman, but only because those two died early before Mahathir could betray them.
Tunku Abdul Rahman, Tun Hussein Onn, Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Tun Musa Hitam, Tun Ghafar Baba and Anwar Ibrahim have all been victims of Mahathir’s betrayal. And now, of course, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi are his latest victims.
The Tunku said the day Mahathir becomes Prime Minister will be the beginning of the end for Malaysia
Mahathir betrayed the Chinese. He used the Chinese as the whipping boy to get Malay support and after coming to power he did a U-turn and made many Chinese rich as hell. Suddenly the Chinese are no longer the Jews of Asia who should be kicked out of the country. The Chinese are Mahathir’s new friends who will help him rob the country.
The Chinese were actually pleasantly surprised by Mahathir’s U-turn. When Mahathir first became Prime Minister in 1981 they were bracing themselves for the worst. They were preparing themselves for an ethnic cleansing of sorts. What they discovered instead was a very Chinese-friendly Mahathir, at least as far as business and money was concerned.
When it appeared like the Malays were abandoning Umno in 1999, Mahathir turned on the Chinese and threatened them with another May 13 if Barisan Nasional does not retain its two-thirds majority in Parliament. So, while the Malays abandoned Umno, the Chinese stayed solid behind Barisan Nasional for fear of their lives. Mahathir at first agreed to all the Chinese educationists demands (to get their votes), and then, after the elections, he did a U-turn and called the Chinese educationists Communists and reneged on his promises.
Yet another betrayal the Chinese suffered at the hands of Mahathir and still they suck up to the old man.
The Raja-raja Melayu have never forgotten or forgiven Mahathir and will never allow the old man to ever come to power again even if Parliament needs to be suspended
Mahathir also betrayed the Rulers and the Judiciary and until today they have never forgotten this betrayal. Only the DAP Chinese and the Pakatuns have forgotten — or maybe they have not forgotten but they have no morals and principles so they do not care about maruah (dignity) and honour.
However, not all of Mahathir’s betrayals are as visible as that. Tengku Razaleigh a.k.a. Ku Li has a story to tell and he has told this story many times to whomsoever wishes to listen to it. And the betrayal Ku Li suffered is a work of art that political science students should be taught in school. That not only shows how dangerous and vicious Mahathir can be but that he can pat you on the back with one hand as he sticks the knife in your back with the other.
It all started when Tun Razak died in January 1976 and Tun Hussein took over as Malaysia’s third Prime Minister. Hussein needed a Deputy Prime Minister and he was going to choose Tun Ghazali Shafie as his new number two. But Ghazali was an ‘outsider’ — meaning he was not one of the three Umno Vice Presidents. The three Umno Vice Presidents were Ku Li, Ghafar, and Mahathir — in that order of priority based on the number of votes they won.
Ku Li made way for Mahathir to become Deputy Prime Minister in 1976 on the agreement that he will become the Deputy Prime Minister when Mahathir becomes Prime Minister
So that means Hussein cannot appoint Ghazali as his new Deputy Prime Minister. He must choose from one of the three Umno Vice Presidents and Ku Li was the Vice President with the highest votes. But Ku Li had unfinished business. Terengganu had just discovered oil and Ku Li was in charge of setting up Petronas and, with the help of Tun Salleh Abas, had just drafted the Petroleum Development Act.
In fact, the Petroleum Development Act 1974 was very unique and the first of its kind in the world and since then many other countries have used this as the basis of their own agreements. Ku Li also had to get all the 13 states to sign the royalty and exploration agreements with Petronas in 1976. Then there was the New Economic Policy (NEP) that was running from 1971 to 1990 that needed attention to make sure it succeeds in meeting its objective.
Ku Li also had to make sure that the banks and many other financial institutions — the government owned institutions such as Bank Bumiputera, Bank Pembangunan, MIDA, MARA, and so on, included — played their part in making the NEP a success.
Hussein wanted Ghazali as his Deputy Prime Minister but reluctantly chose Mahathir instead at the insistence of Ku Li who made way on the agreement he will become Mahathir’s Deputy Prime Minister later
There was so much on Ku Li’s plate so he could not also do the job of Deputy Prime Minister at the same time. Ku Li told Hussein he will forgo his turn and become the Deputy Prime Minister when the next Prime Minister takes over. So the choice was now between Ghafar and Mahathir but since Ghafar lacked the proper educational background it was agreed that Mahathir, although he was number three, would be the new Deputy Prime Minister. When Mahathir becomes the Prime Minister then Ku Li will be his number two.
Mahathir, however, was impatient. Four years on and he started to move against Hussein. In 1980 he told his inner circle that by 1981 Hussein is going to be ousted and he is going to take over as Prime Minister. And he used the Harun Idris issue to oust Hussein.
Hussein took over as Prime Minister in January 1976 and in April 1976 he forced the Selangor Menteri Besar, Harun Idris, to resign from office. Harun was then arrested and the scene at his house the day of his arrest would be repeated in November 1985 in Memali when they killed Ibrahim Libya and 13 of his people. The confrontation at Harun’s house would have turned into another Memali massacre had he not sneaked out dressed in baju kurung to surrender to the police.
Mahathir used the Harun Idris pardon as the leverage to oust Hussein and take over as Prime Minister in 1981
Harun was put on trial and sentenced to six years jail on 16 counts of corruption. Mahathir then told Hussein that Umno wants His Majesty the Agong to grant Harun a pardon so that he could be released from jail without having to serve his full sentence. Hussein was outraged. He told Mahathir that Umno has to choose between him and Harun. Mahathir told Hussein that Umno chooses Harun so Hussein resigned from office in July 1981 and Mahathir took over as Prime Minister.
But Hussein’s ‘resignation’ had been planned since 1980 and Mahathir knew that demanding a pardon for Harun after he had served only half his sentence would trigger Hussein’s resignation. Not long after Mahathir took over as Prime Minister, Harun was granted his pardon and was released from jail.
More importantly, after Mahathir took over as Prime Minister on 16th July 1981 he refused to appoint Ku Li as his deputy as had been agreed in January 1976. Instead, two days later, on 18th July 1981, Mahathir appointed Musa as his deputy. This was the beginning of the turmoil in Umno that led to Team A and Team B and ended in Umno being closed down six years later in 1987.
So that was yet another betrayal. For the second time in history Mahathir had betrayed Umno. The first time was in 1969 when he was sacked from Umno and he walked over to PAS and worked with PAS for almost three years to try to bring down Umno.
Betrayal is in Mahathir’s DNA and Najib is not going to be the last of so many who are the old man’s victims
So today is actually the fourth time that Mahathir is betraying Umno after the first time in 1969, the second time in 1987, and the third time in 2008. In 1969 Mahathir betrayed Umno to oust the Tunku. In 1987 he betrayed Umno to oust Ku Li. In 2008 he betrayed Umno to oust Pak Lah. And now he is betraying Umno to oust Najib. Mahathir will not hesitate to blow up a whole plane load of 300 people just to murder one person on board. That is the nature of the person called Mahathir.
But the Ku Li story does not end there. When Ku Li was robbed of his post of Deputy Prime Minister he contested the Umno party elections. If Ku Li wins the Umno Deputy President’s post he would replace Musa as the new Deputy Prime Minister. And the favourite of the Umno delegates was Ku Li. Hence Ku Li was assured of winning and of taking over as the new Deputy Prime Minister.
Mahathir then announced that he can work with Musa better than he can work with Ku Li and if asked to choose he would chose Musa over Ku Li. That was the signal the Umno delegates needed and the votes swung to Musa and Ku Li lost. So, yet again, Mahathir betrayed Ku Li by sabotaging his chances of winning the Umno Deputy Presidency.
Mahathir used Musa to betray Ku Li in 1981 and then betrayed Musa in 1986 and replaced him with Ghafar
In March 1986, Mahathir forced Musa to resign and instead of appointing Ku Li as the new Deputy Prime Minister, Mahathir appointed Ghafar since he was one of the Umno Vice Presidents. Musa then allied with Ku Li to contest against Mahathir and Ghafar. Clearly Ku Li and Musa were going to win and Mahathir was going to be history.
Mahathir then rigged the party election and instead of he and Ghafar losing by about 40-50 votes it was the other way around. Mahathir won by 43 votes and Ghafar by 40 votes or just 51% of the votes. Ki Li’s people alleged fraud and took the case to court and instead of asking the party hold a reelection (like in the DAP case) Mahathir asked the Registrar of Societies to deregister Umno so that he can form a new party minus his Team B enemies. So Mahathir killed Umno to kill Team B — his second of four betrayals against Umno.
Ku Li has related this story many times to so many people. Maybe it is time he wrote a book about events over the last 50 years from 1967 till 2017 when Mahathir betrayed almost everyone who he had dealings with. The book can be titled ‘Dari Kerala ke Kelate’ and can chronicle how Mahathir is like the scorpion in the story below.