With Bersatu in Sabah, Shafie needs to up his game

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COMMENT | There is no denying that no one is on par with Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a political tactician. He is the shrewdest 'lord and master' of them all.

Added to the power he now wields as prime minister and paramount leader of Pakatan Harapan, Mahathir is almost invincible. What he says goes, and what he wants, he gets. Almost all of it, anyway.

There is also the element of reverence for him as an elderly statesperson. The few in Harapan who dare to speak up against Mahathir likely pepper their lingo with decorum when they do, and rightfully so.

I don’t blame them really. Even as a writer, I am careful with my choice of words when I feel it necessary to criticise the 93-year-old prime minister. Even if we do not agree with Mahathir, we have to treat those older than us with due respect, prime minister or not.

With that out of the way, let me be frank. Mahathir’s reasons (read: ‘excuses’) for insisting that Bersatu establishes its presence in Sabah do not hold any water for me. Let me repeat what I think of them in one word – childish!

'Supporting' Shafie

Bersatu’s entry into the state is to support Mohd Shafie Apdal and his Parti Warisan Sabah, according to Mahathir.

What? Harapan is the federal government. Warisan is a Harapan ally.

Putrajaya is already in the perfect situation to help the Sabah chief minister and his party with just the press of a button. There is no necessity for Bersatu to be physically present in Sabah to do that.

Umno never came to Sarawak. Wasn’t it able to help Abdul Taib Mahmud and his Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu without a presence in the state in the past? Was it the convenient “you scratch my back, I scratch yours” arrangement between Mahathir and Taib that worked so well previously?

Or was it because Taib had become so powerful that even he was considered 'untouchable' by Mahathir? This would mean that Shafie is considered a weakling...

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