Dr M, Daim no bystanders in GE13 — The Malaysian Insider
JUNE 1 — Here is the nauseating thing about the post-election analysis dished out by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Tun Daim Zainuddin: it absolves them of any guilt.
Yes, we know that Datuk Seri Najib Razak is the prime minister and Umno president and that he led Barisan Nasional into battle in GE13.
And we also know that he depended too much on untested election strategists, namely Datuk Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis, Omar Mustapha, Datuk Seri Alies Anor Abdul and spin doctors and brand specialists from the National Communications Team.
These advisers anchored all their assumptions on best-case analysis and, even hours before all polling results were in on May 5, still were confident that BN would win 145 or even 155 seats. They must have been consuming magic mushrooms.
But to hear it from Dr Mahathir and Daim, you would think that they had nothing to do with negativity surrounding the damaged Umno and Barisan Nasional brand name. Let us get something straight: Dr Mahathir campaigned like the de facto prime minister during the election, criss-crossing the country and baiting and angering the urban electorate with his discredited notion of Malaysia and government.
He was also very much a factor in the polls in another way. The opposition put his record in fighting corruption and the excesses of the Mahathir era and the accumulation of wealth by his family members on the table. So if there was a drag surrounding the BN brand, it had its genesis in the Mahathir years.
Similarly, Daim may fancy himself an observer on the sidelines but the simple fact is that he is associated with the worst features of the Mahathir era: leakages, privatisation gone awry and insatiable greed.
So it is really rich for these two men to dish out advice from their ivory towers and seemingly absolve themselves from any blame. They are still part of the system which was hammered day in and day out by Pakatan Rakyat in the run-up to the polls.
Both of them said that Najib could have had better candidates. Agreed. But didn’t Dr Mahathir willingly endorse Datuk Zulkifli Noordin and Datuk Ibrahim Ali and didn’t Daim give that positive interview in the New Straits Times before the polls. Why didn’t they sound the warning then about candidates, etc.
Granted that there was too much focus on brand Najib and too much reliance on image building. Millions could have been saved with a better polls outcome if Najib just showed the will to tackle corruption and dismantle other vestiges of the Mahathir era.
But he couldn’t play the role of the iconoclast.
Instead, every time Malaysians saw Dr Mahathir and Daim campaigning, they made the connection between BN and the need for a clean break.