It was a movement to topple the second most-hated dictator of the South East Asia. Tens of thousands would march on the streets of Kuala Lumpur chanting “Undur Mahathir, undur!” and the infamous “Reformasi!” after Anwar Ibrahim was summarily expelled from UMNO and denied a chance for the premiership over reasons Mahathir himself claims to have forgotten or something to that effect.
Leading this group of demonstrators was Anwar’s most loyal lieutenants, Azmin Ali, who was his Principal Private Secretary in the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office. With Anwar still in jail, Azmin is the most favourite choice for Pakatan’s Prime Minister-designate amongst the younger generation.
Or that was what we all thought would happen.
Suddenly, the 92-year old Mahathir manoeuvred his way into being accepted as the Prime Minister again if Pakatan wins the next general elections. DAP and the anti-Azmin camp inside PKR namely Wan Azizah’s camp accepted the nonagenarian but this was rejected by several opposition-friendly NGOs as well as Selangor’s PKR.
Several hints on social media platforms and insiders’ information of Anwar’s opposition to Mahathir being designated as Pakatan’s Prime Minister warranted an article by The Star’s Joceline Tan. The writing is all over the wall – REFORMASI is dead.
In a move seen to insult Mahathir, Azmin offered his Gombak parliamentary seat for Mahathir to contest in in the next general election, an offer rejected outright by the latter.
A leopard never changes its spots – and true to his character, Mahathir announced that he will deal with dissenters quietly – a reminder of his 22-year reign of terror.
Just like Anwar whose colour of underwear was made public for going against Mahathir, Azmin now finds tales of his sexual trysts being made public. We are reminded of the time Anina Saadudin’s steamy WhatsApp messages were made public after falling out with Mahathir’s inner circle.
Anything Azmin is now being attacked, therefore it’s going to be interesting to see how the champion of Reformasi will now go against the man he has been fighting against for the past 20 years.
If he fails, it would be Mahathir’s masterstroke – for killing off the Reformasi movement from inside and finally making it his own Reformasi where dissent can never be tolerated.
Welcome to Mahathir’s Reformasi – or Dictatorship 2.0 as we know it.