When Dr Mahathir Mohamad made a successful comeback against all the odds, it was felt that he could prove to be a nightmare for the People’s Action Party.
True enough, this nightmare is now being played out.
The 93-year-old Dr Mahathir is the one person that the PAP absolutely does not want its critics and opponents to tango with. Hence the swift reaction to the 80-minute meeting a group of Singaporeans scored with Dr Mahathir last week.
Calling into question the motives and conduct of Singaporeans involved is the easy part. But to question the motives and conduct of the other party, in this case, Dr Mahathir, that’s different matter altogether for the PAP. That takes steely will, courage and conviction.
When it comes to perceived interference in domestic affairs, the PAP has not been shy to act in the past. A couple of years ago, when The Huffington Post published two opinion pieces by Chee Soon Juan, Minister Chan Chun Sing chided the Americans news website for giving Chee “considerable but undeserved attention and space.” He told off The Huffington Post: “You perhaps think he is a weighty political figure in Singapore. He is nothing of the kind.”
Why does the PAP not chide Dr Mahathir for giving the likes of Tan Wah Piow and Thum Ping Tjin “considerable but undeserved attention and space.”?
Is it because Dr Mahathir is a different kettle of fish?
The bottom line is, when it comes to D Mahathir, the game plan of the PAP is not to stir the hornet’s nest. After all, he brought about a revolution and ushered in a new era of hope to Malaysians.
When this hornet’s nest is stirred, who knows what he would do to the PAP, who is never his closest ally. So Dr Mahathir has thus far got away scot free with remarks that could be perceived as interference in domestics affairs, and with his U-turn on joint projects.
Unsurprisingly, Dr Mahathir has also not been fingered in last week’s meeting with Singaporean critics of the government.
They say the ground is sour. The last thing the PAP needs is for an incensed and aggrieved Dr Mahathir to play saviour to Singaporeans and turn sour into bitter.
Do Singaporeans want Dr Mahathir to play a role in domestic affairs? Realistically speaking, no.
But there are those who feel that what is poison to the PAP must be antidote to them. Does that make them traitors and betrayers? The answer is, as sang by Bob Dylan, blowing in the wind.