Dr Mahathir-Pas friendship: Nothing is impossible; it's not something new - Experts
SHAH ALAM – The 'newly rekindled' friendship between former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir and Pas can be characterised as 'the art of the possible,' where nothing is considered impossible. This dynamic is not entirely novel, experts suggest.
Recently, all eyes have witnessed statesman Dr Mahathir forming an alliance with Pas, as he was appointed as an unofficial advisor to the four state governments administered by Perikatan Nasional (PN) or the State Government Four (SG4).
In fact, he, who is also the former Langkawi MP, made his first appearance at the 69th Pas Muktamar, which was held on Oct 20.
Due to this, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia's (UKM) Institute of Ethnic Studies deputy director, Professor Dr Kartini Aboo Talib@Khalid, said everyone should understand that there was always ‘the art or possible’ in politics, and nothing was impossible.
“The first rule of politics is that there is no permanent friend or enemy; it’s just a business. The group's strategic interest is a concept that describes the relationship among the political parties' alliances.
“Thus, it explains the reasons for Dr Mahathir and Hadi changing support and vows, which are similar to PN Chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Mahathir, and Pas,” Kartini told Sinar Daily.
She further added that these three political figures (Dr Mahathir, Hadi, Muhyiddin) have publicly declared their mutual support, appeared together on the same platform, and promoted their distinctive political vision, diverging from what the Unity government offers.
It has to be noted that Dr Mahathir was an iconic leader, globally respected, and his endorsement garnered increased support among Malay Muslims and technocrats for the PN.
“Well, there’s no doubt that previously Muhyiddin severed ties with Mahathir during the Sheraton Move, but we need to remember that politics is nothing impossible, and it is in the nature of politics who gains what, when, and how.
“Sheraton's move was in the past; they are heading towards the future and must be able to creatively utilise all available resources for the greatest good of the rakyat and PN coalition,” she said.
Kartini further added that Muhyiddin and his political guru, Dr Mahathir, have been friends since the 1980s.
Based on this, it could be ascertained that they were rebuilding trust. It is not a rare sight for political figures to forgive each other in the pursuit of strategic interests, she added.
Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) political analyst Dr Abdul Aziz Azizam also agreed with Kartini’s views, saying that this friendship is not only ‘casual friendship’, but a'strategic relationship’ with clear political objectives.
“The relationship between Dr Mahathir and Pas has been in existence for quite some time, and it's not something new.
“In my view, Dr Mahathir is not directly affiliated with the PN, but his presence serves to empower the PN branding,” Aziz elaborated.
However, he added that there were certain matters on which they shared agreement, while on others, they couldn't reach a consensus in the past.
This constructive relationship should set a precedent for all politicians, demonstrating that prior differences of opinion should not impede the development of strong bonds.
“On top of that, Dr Mahathir is now showing his interest in working for SG4, so this is of utmost importance since public trust will be evaluated based on the performance of these four states in the forthcoming general election,” he stressed.
“This is contrary to the logic that any formula bringing benefits to Pas also contributes to the welfare of Bersatu and PN.
“At this juncture, we can observe that Bersatu is unable to leave Pas, while Pas requires the PN brand and the fresh impetus from their collaboration, which has already yielded results in the previous elections,” Aziz added.
Meanwhile, Universiti Putra Malaysia political analyst Datuk Prof Dr Jayum Anak Jawan has a differing opinion from Kartini and Aziz, claiming that Dr Mahathir’s influence in politics was significant.
“He faced rejection even within the Malay community, and in his own constituency, Langkawi, his loss was a humiliating experience, leading to the forfeiture of an election deposit,” Jayum said.
Dr Mahathir failed to defend his stronghold seat when he lost to new face candidate Mohd Suhaimi Abdullah from Perikatan Nasional (PN) who garnered 25,463 votes during the 15th general elections (GE15).
“In fact, Pas doesn't rely on Dr Mahathir for its survival; Bersatu is a much more appealing option compared to Mahathir and his loosely aligned allies, who lack a clear direction.
“Pas has reached the maximum it can get. There are no more seats that it can get,” Jayum stressed.
He added that PN's success in the last GE15 was not solely due to their own efforts but resulted from their partnerships with various political entities.