Pakatan Harapan’s choice of Dr Mahathir Mohamad for prime minister proves that the opposition concedes to an excellent BN administration up to now despite claiming to the contrary, said an analyst.
Md Shukri Shuib, a senior lecturer of political and international affairs of Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM), said the decision also proved that the opposition politicians were “the kings of drama” and that the issues raised during Mahathir’s rule as the prime minister had been concocted to win votes.
"If they could have raised thousands of issues during the era of Mahathir and picked him today as the prime ministerial candidate, I believe the issues they have raised against Najib Razak are also all a drama and these will dissipate if Najib sided them," he told Bernama.
Shukri was asked for his comments on Harapan’s decision on Sunday to make Mahathir the prime minister and PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the deputy prime minister if the opposition wins the 14th general election.
He branded the opposition as "neo-Zimbabwe" or "neo-Mugabe-ism" for having named Mahathir, the former longest-serving Malaysian prime minister, for the top post once again when he is into his 90s.
"In Zimbabwe, they rejected President Robert Mugabe because of the age factor and lack of sensitivity to current changes. Now, it is as if Malaysia wants to go in the same direction too. Don’t tell me they don’t have a younger candidate to be made the prime minister?” he said.
Prof Dr Abdul Halim Sidek, the secretary of the political, security and international affairs cluster of the National Council of Professors, said the opposition was treading on dangerous ground by having named Dr Mahathir as the candidate for prime minister.
"Pakatan should realise Mahathir's intention to join the opposition. Now, he agrees to Wan Azizah as the candidate for deputy prime minister.
"But that's the present story and promise. He has not become the prime minister yet but he agrees to all the conditions. As soon as Mahathir comes to power, he will first destroy Harapan itself," he said.
Halim said the agreement to make PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim (photo) as the eighth prime minister was also vague and something difficult to realise.
"It's important to remember that as soon as Mahathir begins to administer the country, he can appoint anyone he wants to. Nobody can stop him anymore. In the 22 years that he was the prime minister, he was full of tricks," he explained.
According to him, Harapan's current situation is murky though the component parties seemed to have consensus but, in reality, they were just forced to come together.
"The consensus they portray is conditional ... just because they have a meeting is no proof that they are united. It is just to fulfill the requirement of ROS (Registrar of Societies), otherwise each Pakatan component party cannot contest (in the next general election)," he said.
MCA publicity spokesperson Ti Lian Ker (photo) described the announcement of Mahathir as the candidate for prime minister as DAP's ultimate betrayal of its members and supporters.
He said DAP might have conveniently chosen to forget its principles and promises made to the people, especially the Chinese community, as a result of its greed for power to be in Putrajaya, but it should not treat its supporters and sympathisers like political zombies.
Ti said DAP leaders had claimed that Mahathir had betrayed and deceived the Chinese by agreeing to the Suqiu (Malaysian Chinese Associations General Election Appeals Committee) demands for National Harmony before the 1999 general election and then, after he won, he went back on his word and branded those who pushed and supported Suqiu as communists, extremists and ingrates.
Concurring with Ti's view, MIC Youth chief Sivaraajh Chandran said Mahathir's return as prime minister would definitely be bad news for Indians as they were the most affected by the race-based policies practiced by Mahathir during his tenure as the prime minister.
Sivaraajh said Indians must keep in mind that the policies set by Mahathir’s 22-year administration had gradually eroded the economic share that Indians had in the country.
"He has promised to do better this time. But if he was unable to ensure that aid and allocations reached Indians when he had an Indian party as his BN component, how will he fare leading a Harapan lineup that does not have a single party representing the interests of Indians?" he asked.