COMMENT | The battle lines have been drawn and they are clear – it will be Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak on the BN side versus the grand old man of politics, who will be spearheading Pakatan Harapan.
The 14th general election could play out to be the tragic tale of an unpopular prime minister who refuses to step down and his 92-year-old mentor who is adamant that he goes.
If BN wins, Najib will remain the prime minister. If there is an upset, Dr Mahathir Mohamad will create history by being the only leader to become prime minister twice.
Not only that, he will be the oldest prime minister in Malaysian history at 92, and possibly in the world too.
According to the Guinness World Records, India’s Morarji Desai was the oldest person to be appointed the prime minister, at the age of 81.
Leading an opposition coalition, Desai prevailed in the 1977 elections, ending Indira Gandhi's emergency rule. He served as prime minister until 1979, when the coalition broke apart.
Back to the present day. Never mind the voices of discontent within the opposition coalition. Mahathir himself has conceded, “It is difficult for some to accept me; not everybody will be happy with this decision.”
For a man who has seen and done it all, nothing in politics should surprise Mahathir. Indeed, no political decision can satisfy everybody.
But one thing is clear. For many Malaysians who are not affiliated to any political party and who yearn for a change of government, they must be satisfied and happy with the decisions made at the Harapan convention last weekend.
However, before you can become prime minister, you have to win a seat.
Hence, the all-important question – is there any guarantee that Mahathir will win a seat in GE14 to enable him to become PM again?
So far, three possible seats have been mentioned by Mahathir himself - Langkawi, Kubang Pasu and Putrajaya.
Speaking to reporters at the end of Bersatu’s first general assembly on Dec 30, the party chair said he was told that he had a good chance of winning in any of these seats.
I would personally rule out Putrajaya and Langkawi. Yes, Mahathir created Putrajaya, but that was more than 20 years ago, and people have short memories.
It is possible that the new and younger voters in Putrajaya would only know Mahathir by name, but never learn of the tremendous efforts and pains taken by the man to build the nation’s administrative capital.
Putrajaya incumbent Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor is the Federal Territories minister and Umno secretary-general. He is no pushover, and has been entrenched in Putrajaya for over a decade.
To top it all, Tengku Adnan is known as a man with resources, and plenty of it (including a huge war chest surely) and has never been defeated in Putrajaya.
I personally wouldn’t risk Mahathir in Putrajaya, even if he built the city...