Mahathir’s audience with the Agong yesterday was a disaster and if the old man knew what was going to happen he would not have been so gung ho about the meeting. The Agong very skilfully put Mahathir in his place and left the old man no room to wangle himself out of it.
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad grumbled that he was not being allowed to have an audience with His Majesty the Agong because His Majesty is under house arrest. For quite some time Mahathir has been pestering the Agong for an audience and finally, yesterday, he succeeded in getting that audience.
Of course, this part Khairuddin Abu Hassan did not tell us. Khairuddin pretended that it was a victory for his boss whereas Mahathir left the meeting with his tail between his legs and fuming that he unwittingly walked into a trap without even suspecting that the audience was going to be trap.
The first thing His Majesty the Agong asked Mahathir when the old man handed over the Citizens’ Declaration with the 1.4 million signatures was whether he can guarantee that all the signatures are genuine. Mahathir was clearly not prepared for this and hence did not rehearse his response because he was quite stunned and remained quiet for a few minutes. You could see that Mahathir was searching for words and finally, after some pause, he replied these were what was given to him.
In other words, Mahathir is saying he cannot guarantee anything because it was not he who gathered the signatures but someone else did and this was what they gave him.
The Agong then just gave a wry smile because the way Mahathir answered was not convincing and was definitely noncommittal. His Majesty then looked at Mahathir who just looked down and nothing more was said about the Citizens’ Declaration or the 1.4 million signatures.
Then Mahathir realised the reason why he finally managed to get his audience with the Agong when His Majesty asked whether Mahathir still feels His Majesty is under house arrest. It suddenly dawned on Mahathir that the Agong agreed to the audience to make a point, which is His Majesty is not under house arrest.
After that the Agong changed the subject and talked about other things, mostly small talk. His Majesty refused to allow Mahathir to talk about politics or anything attached to politics such as 1MDB, Umno, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, or the Citizens’ Declaration.
It was apparent that apart for purposes of show or public perception, Mahathir’s audience was a disaster and did not meet the objective, which was to seek the Agong’s intervention or involvement in the move to oust Najib.
As what Salleh Said Keruak said, Mahathir had no choice but to somehow be seen to have successfully delivered his Citizens’ Declaration and its 1.4 million signatures to His Majesty the Agong. Failing to do this would have far-reaching consequences and a drastic affect on his image.
Now Mahathir can claim success even though that so-called success was merely an audience with the Agong but without receiving any support from the Agong in the move to oust the Prime Minister.
But then this is what politics is all about anyway — the game of perception to make it appear like you won even when you lost. And this is something Mahathir is very clever at, making it appear like you have succeeded even when you have failed. And that cost Malaysia RM200 billion because Mahathir’s ‘success’ in developing Malaysia came at a very heavy price indeed.
Mahathir had to meet Agong or ‘lose face’, says Salleh
(FMT) – Former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad had to meet with the Agong yesterday or face the prospect of “losing face” among his supporters, says Umno minister Salleh Said Keruak.
Salleh was referring to the audience Mahahtir was granted with Yang di-Pertuan Agong, Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah yesterday, in which the former prime minister handed over the Citizens’ Declaration, bearing 1.4 million signatures, which called for among others, the ousting of Prime Minister Najib Razak.
“Mahathir has no choice but to pursue his Citizens’ Declaration to the very end. If not, he will lose face. That is why he needs to deliver it (signatures) to the Agong,” Salleh, who is minister of Communications and Multimedia, told FMT.
Former Batu Kawan Umno division vice-chairman Khairuddin Abu Hassan had earlier told FMT that the meeting held in Istana Anak Bukit in Alor Setar, Kedah, lasted for over an hour.
Salleh however saw no reason to be concerned, saying that the Agong had only accepted the petition out of courtesy. “Constitutionally speaking, the Agong cannot remove a prime minister. There is no legal provision for this.”
“This is only a political move to look good and to show the fight is still on. But that is all it is, a show. Further than that nothing is going to happen,” Salleh said.
Umno Supreme Council member Abdul Rahman Dahlan echoed the same sentiments, saying that Mahathir was free to do whatever he wanted. “But to me, the Citizens’ Declaration is mere propaganda to serve his (Mahathir’s) political agenda. Nothing more. Nothing less.”
Raja Petra Kamarudin