In politics, trust no one, not even yourself



COMMENT So, now Dr Mahathir Mohamad feels the pain. To be betrayed by none other than one of his closest and long-time political allies, Muhyiddin Yassin, must have hurt and hurt real bad.

The grand old man said it himself: “I didn’t expect to be betrayed by Muhyiddin, of all people. When a friend stabs your back, it hurts.”

That scar of being stabbed in the back of the seventh prime minister by the eighth prime minister would surely take a long time to heal, perhaps never at all.

The knife from behind must have pierced deep into the heart; the unhealed wound most likely to be buried with the wounded when the final hour dawns.

But to be honest to you, dear Dr Mahathir, I think you deserve what you got over the past two weeks, although I sympathise with you for the pain and suffering caused by those who betrayed you.

I don’t mean to be rude but I’m surprised that you didn’t see it coming.

Why, you are no ordinary politician, Tun. You are one in a million. I doubt Malaysia will ever see another you, the great Dr Mahathir. This is a sincere and heartfelt compliment. Feel free to savour it or even bask in ecstatic glory for a moment.

Your long involvement in politics plus your more than two decades as prime minister should put you on the pedestal as the greatest master tactician, one beyond compare, the numero uno of all Malaysian politicians.

Oh yes, we have heard you lamented all too often that you have made a lot of mistakes, choosing your successors as the worst among them.

You have said it was a mistake to choose Anwar Ibrahim, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Abdul Razak.

Despite all your unforgivable faults of the past many decades, you still chose Muhyiddin (below) as your Bersatu president. Maybe you thought that since Muhyiddin has not been in the best of health, he would be a “harmless” deputy.

But how wrong you were. In fact, most of us were wrong. I was also caught by surprise. I did not see it coming from Muhyiddin, too.

But like many, I do not walk in the corridors of power. I am just a political observer unlike Tun – the most powerful man in the country. So what do I know?

Aha, apparently Mahathir has not been attentive to what his old pal, Robert Mugabe, once espoused – “Don’t be excited by any man who only calls you when it rains; you’re not an umbrella”.

While Mahathir has been an ”umbrella” to many aspiring politicians, he has also ”used” many men and women in his long political career to be his umbrellas. It’s a case of “I use you, you use me”.

This is what I mean when I say that in politics, trust no one, not even yourself.

Mahathir is one prime example of that. He could not even trust himself. He has made some really bad calls – trusting Muhyiddin and having a soft spot for Azmin Ali, being two of his worst recent judgments.

In passing, I must also mention that allowing Azmin (below) to go scot-free for his alleged involvement in a gay sex video is another Mahathir’s unforgivable mistake.

Sex Video Scandal - Azmin Ali and Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz - Photo

We all know that Anwar had paid dearly for a similar crime (as he had been adjudged guilty by the court) but Azmin did not. The court of public opinion on Azmin’s alleged sex rendezvous is totally different from the official take.

Tommy Thomas and Abdul Hamid Bador would probably be able to shed some light on Azmin’s case, probably in their memoirs.

As I write this on a Sunday, I was quite disturbed to see an ex-Sarawak PKR turncoat posting a photo of himself outside a church on Facebook, with a message of wishing God’s love for a blessed Sunday.

Rightly, the Christian MP was ticked off with one FB friend telling him not to be hypocritical by invoking God’s name in his political manoeuvres.

Let me say this to that fellow Christian and my long-time friend again: You know what you have done by teaming up with the traitors was wrong. Until your conscience can prick you, until you return to the righteous path, I have zero trust in you as a politician because you cannot even trust yourself. And yes, let me advise you not to post photos of yourself in a church or near a crucifix because it is nauseating to many Christians, me certainly.

I am now in the group of Malaysians who do not trust politicians at all. And that means all of them.

How can we ever trust those who aspire or claim to be leaders when they cannot even trust themselves?

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FRANCIS PAUL SIAH heads the Movement for Change, Sarawak (MoCS) and can be reached at

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