Old slights return to haunt Dr M, PPBM

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad delivers his speech during Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s first annual general meeting in Shah Alam, December 30, 2017. ― Picture by Azneal Ishak
Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad delivers his speech during Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia’s first annual general meeting in Shah Alam, December 30, 2017. ― Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 3 — They say hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad may soon experience this firsthand.

While his Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) has finally conducted an annual general meeting (AGM) as directed by the Registrar of Societies (RoS), former vice-president Datuk Hamidah Osman has alleged of irregularities in the event.

A founding member, Hamidah left the party last year and was later described as rubbish by Dr Mahathir.

Her claim that PPBM did not adhere to its constitution and procedures could attract further attention from the RoS, which previously warned that the party may not be allowed to contest in the general election until its affairs are in order.

This could then further delay the official registration of the larger Pakatan Harapan pact that is also chaired by Dr Mahathir.

Temerloh Pribumi division chief Amerus Che Onn has also lodged a report with RoS to complain that the party's office holders were not elected at the AGM according to the party’s constitution.

While the party held the AGM as required by the RoS, it may have done so hastily in its eagerness to participate in the 14th general election as part of Dr Mahathir's plan to oust Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and wrest Putrajaya from Barisan Nasional (BN).

This rush has now allowed doubts to be cast over its AGM, and questions raised regarding how closely it adhered to its own constitution.

With PPBM in such turmoil, the ability for it and Dr Mahathir to provide a Malay façade to the PH pact that is still seen as controlled by the Chinese-dominated DAP could be in jeopardy.

The party's troubles could also derail the Opposition's bid to woo Malay voters, particularly Umno members whom the party leaders claim are disappointed with the Malay nationalist party and its leaders.

For Dr Mahathir, such an outcome would be personally devastating. As it is, both his and his son, Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir's political futures are riding on PPBM surviving its latest troubles.

Both are running out of safe havens. With every passing day, the former prime minister appears to be collecting new enemies, the latest being the Muslim clergy whom he blamed for not preventing the Memali Incident.

His criticism of state Muftis even led to an apparent rebuke from PKR deputy president Datuk Seri Azmin Ali, who had until then been seen as one of the former prime minister's stronger supporters.

The situation does not bode well for the former prime minister, suggesting that only DAP and Parti Amanah Negara (Amanah) remain at ease with him.

With Dr Mahathir and PPBM as vulnerable as they are and with Hamidah as well as other disgruntled members gunning for them, the future appears bleak for the once-influential politician and his party.

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