This is a tale of two personalities: one who says he could be the prime minister for an unprecedented third time, but for only six months; and the other who has aspired to be prime minister from days gone by.
They were best of friends, they were the worst of enemies and then became the best of friends to fight a common enemy. Could they once again become the worst of enemies?
Personality No.1 now says he wants to help No. 2 to achieve his ambition of becoming the next prime minister and that a “third term would be too much for him to handle”. He is too old, he says.
Has this thought just dawned on him? Before you reply in the affirmative, just go back to February, just four months ago.
He did not say he was quitting as the 7th Prime minister because he was “too old” did he? Even when asked to stay on by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, there was no hint of him saying he could not because he was too old.
But now he says he is not too old to help personality No. 2 achieve his elusive dream of becoming the 9th Malaysian prime minister.
There was an understanding that power would pass from No.1 to No. 2 eventually. It was to be done after the Apec meeting in November this year.
But patience had worn thin among the hardcore supporters of No. 2. with the Otai Reformis Group taking the lead. (They no longer believe in the promises of No. 1.) Their leaders suggested Plan B which included taking to the streets out of need to force No. 1 to hand over the reins of power to their leader as early as last month.
Incessant and almost daily pressure was being heaped on the 7th prime minister to hand over power immediately as promised.
But with one stroke of his pen, the wily 94-year-old prime minister put a premature end to the dreams of No 2 and his die-hard supporters by resigning as prime minister.
Nobody was expecting that move, least of all the millions who had voted for PH in 2018.
Even before the ink on his resignation letter dried, the rug was yanked from under the noses of No. 1 and No. 2 by the now infamous Sheraton Move involving those who saw the opportunity to cash in on the uncertainty.
Anwar Ibrahim and PKR have since declared that they will not work with Dr Mahathir Mohamad because of trust issues. Mahathir on his part has declared that it is okay if Anwar and PKR have decided to do so because Mahathir will consider other options in his attempt to become prime minister for the 3rd time.
It’s a no-win situation for both Mahathir and Anwar and they only have themselves to blame. Mahathir and Anwar will both try to outwit each other and cut deals with whoever and wherever possible in their bid to be 9th PM.
Which of them has a greater lust for power is another matter altogether.
It is pointless for Mahathir to now say he merely wants to help Anwar become the 9th PM. He had had the opportunity to do so if he really wanted. Anwar, in jest, has even asked how long more must he suffer at the hands of Mahathir?
Both assume they are in with a chance come GE15. They have a right to believe in themselves. If Anwar fails at GE15, he can look forward to GE16.
If Mahathir fails, perhaps it will finally dawn on him that no one is indispensable, nor does he have an inherent right to be prime minister at the expense of other hopefuls. With Mahathir, there is this trust deficit that will remain synonymous with his character. There have been just one too many times when his actions failed to sync miserably with his words and promises.
But the question both personalities should ask themselves is this: can they truly claim the prize? Aren’t the people now just plain fed up with how they try to regain power? Fatigue has set in and people are exasperated. There are bigger issues at stake: how to put food on the table, unemployment, the Covid-19 pandemic and the state of our economy.
When an article on Rose Chan, Malaysia’s iconic striptease dancer can be shared more than 115,000 times in this country, it is the clearest sign yet that such stories make a more interesting read than the tale of two personalities.
Clement Stanley is an FMT reader.
The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.
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