No sign of Malay tsunami from Langkawi

  • Nation
  • Monday, 16 Apr 2018

Dr Mahathir (right) shares the stage with Dr Wan Azizah at the announcement of his candidacy for the Langkawi seat on Suunday.

PETALING JAYA: The stage is set for Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister to break his own 22-year record at the top job.

He chose Langkawi for the formal announcement of his candidacy, a place where he had brought so much development to.

The announcement was made by the wife of his one-time nemesis on a hot and sultry evening that was pregnant with symbolism as well as irony.

Once the most powerful man in Malaysia, he is now using the symbol of the party he tried – and failed – to kill off.

The choice of Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail to announce him as the candidate for the Langkawi parliament seat was to show that they are committed to each other, and that Dr Mahathir has the support of the man he once accused of corruption and sodomy.

Can politics in Malaysia get any stranger?

Kedah holds the record of producing two prime ministers and if things go well for Dr Mahathir, Kedah may hold the record of having the oldest Malaysian premier ever.

The idea may seem strange, but Pakatan Harapan supporters find it perfectly fine – or at least that is what they say.

As Juhari Bulat, the Pribumi candidate for Ayer Hangat put it, the late Kedah Sultan became the King in his eighties, so why can't Dr Mahathir become prime minister in his nineties?

There is a big difference actually – a prime minister's job is much more demanding that that of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong's.

And Dr Mahathir did look his age that evening as he spoke on his usual litany of kleptocracy, failed state, bankrupt nation and corruption.

Given that Langkawi is like his second home and that the night belonged to him, he appeared rather shaky and could not quite remember the names of some of those on stage.

His spirit to unseat Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak is strong, but his age and health are two factors that are working against him.

Moreover, it is hard to see how Dr Wan Azizah's speech and message that night could have convinced the Langkawi audience that she is deputy prime minister material.

Of those who spoke that night, only Pribumi president Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin came across as prime minister material.

Amanah president Mohamed Sabu was very amusing but if Pakatan comes to power, he will be the Ahmad Mazlan of the Pakatan government.

The Dr Mahathir event managed to draw quite a good crowd but it was not the type of crowd that is a harbinger of a Malay tsunami.

The audience was polite and respectful but it was quite evident that many of them were curious spectators because each time the emcee tried to get them to join him in shouting "Reformasi!", most of them did not join in.

It was thus unsurprising that even before the ceramah was over, the Pakatan side was flooding social media with pictures of massive crowds and claiming that these were scenes from Langkawi.

But it was untrue. The photographs were crowd scenes from what appeared to be a DAP ceramah in Johor during the 13th General Election. There was even a PAS flag fluttering in one of the pictures.

Among all the Pakatan partners, DAP is most anxious to convince its audience that a Malay tsunami is on the way and that "Tun Mah", as they call Dr Mahathir, will be the one making it happen.

DAP is heavily invested in Dr Mahathir because they need the Malay tsunami to make the Chinese voters believe that Barisan will fall.

Will Langkawi be the staging point for Dr Mahathir to topple Najib? Can the odd pairing of the two doctors persuade Malaysians to come along?

Dr Mahathir is loved and respected in Langkawi. The people will always be grateful how he turned their island into a world-famous tourism destination.

Will the people of Langkawi return the favour and deliver victory to him? So many questions and so few answers from this beautiful island.

There has been no sign of the promised Malay tsunami. Initially, we were told that it would become evident once Parliament is dissolved.

Now we are told that it will only happen once the candidates are known on nomination day.

Time, it appears, is running out for Dr Mahathir to bring on the Malay tsunami.

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