Mahathir made his move to become prime minister in 1969
When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad made his move in 1969, it was clear what he wanted. He wanted power. And he made his move against Prime Minister Tunku Abdul Rahman. And for that he was sacked from Umno and was only allowed back into Umno when Tun Razak Hussein took over as Prime Minister in September 1970.
In fact, the Tunku wanted to detain Mahathir under the Internal Security Act but the then Member of Parliament for Rawang, Tunku Abdullah ibni Almarhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Tuanku Abdul Rahman was Malaysia’s first Agong), helped him escape and then convinced the Tunku to call off the plan to detain Mahathir.
In those two years that Mahathir was out of Umno he worked with PAS to oppose the Tunku and Umno. But Mahathir never joined PAS. He just wanted to use PAS to try to bring down the prime Minister. Of course, it worked and the Tunku was forced to resign and hand power to Tun Razak, after which Mahathir ‘left’ PAS and re-joined Umno. (PAS was not delusional into believing that Mahathir wanted to build his career in PAS).
Anwar joined Umno in 1982 to become prime minister
When Anwar Ibrahim ‘left’ PAS to join Umno in 1982, however, it was under false pretences. The excuse he gave was Umno was corrupt so he wanted to join Umno to transform (Reformasi 1.0) Umno from the inside. Anwar wanted to introduce nilai-nilai Islam (Islamic values) into Umno.
But that was not why Anwar joined Umno. He joined Umno because he wanted to become prime minister and he was going to use Islam to do that. Islam was his tool to win the highest seat of power in Malaysia.
So, first, in the 1970s, Anwar rode on Islam to build his Islamic ‘credentials’. Then, once he had gained his Islamic credentials (the western media used to call him an Islamic ‘firebrand’), he rode on these credentials to build his political career. Islam was Anwar’s kuda to Seri Perdana.
And Mahathir knew this. Mahathir did not like or trust Anwar but Mahathir is Machiavellian and he wanted Anwar where he could be watched (keep your friends close and your enemies even closer).
Betrayal always comes from the person standing beside you
Mahathir revealed this ‘secret’ in his interview in Japan in 2004 when he said he allowed Anwar into Umno in 1982 (at the behest of Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah) thinking that once he was in Umno he would behave. But Anwar schemed and plotted and tried to oust him, said Mahathir. Hence Mahathir had no choice but to get rid of Anwar in 1998 (by sending him to jail for sodomy).
Malays will say tidak ada berkat. When you do something under false pretences (tidak ikhlas) there will be no blessings. Anwar used religion for profit and for personal gain. And Malays believe God (Allah) will turn His back on you and will never give you His blessings.
Malays believe when you use God (or religion) there will be consequences. And many believe Anwar did, in fact, use God. And that is why his 40-year aspiration and dream of becoming prime minister remains a dream (and a nightmare for others).
The big question: did Muhyiddin Yassin betray Mahathir or is Mahathir using Muhyiddin to betray Anwar?
Anwar knows he can no longer depend on Malay support. The majority of Malays now support Muafakat Nasional. And as long as Umno and PAS do not fight each other and end up in a divorce, the majority of Malays will continue to support Muafakat Nasional and not PKR and Pakatan Harapan.
So, Anwar’s only hope are the Chinese. Hence Anwar needs DAP to support him and that has to translate into DAP making him the opposition leader in parliament. Anwar has to become the opposition leader in parliament. If a DAP leader becomes the opposition leader in parliament instead, then Anwar is doomed.
This is a sort of talian hayat or lifeline that DAP throws Anwar. DAP can no longer use Mahathir so they now need to use Anwar to get Malay votes. But Anwar can never do what Mahathir did.
Mahathir brought down Umno and Barisan Nasional in GE14. Anwar will never be able to bring down Muafakat Nasional in GE15. Without Mahathir, Pakatan Harapan will forever remain the opposition and Anwar will forever remain the opposition leader until the day he dies.