It's different time and different ball game.Former Premier Tun Mahathir should not equate his time with what is happening now.The political landscape has changed.The people dread the long wearying journey under his autocratic regime and are not looking forward to a rendition of it. It may have worked well with his style of leadership then but things have changed, the people have come out of the coconut shell.The kataks are now smarter and liberated.
During his time the opposition was weak, disorganised and in disarray and he was in full control of the politics of the nation making it difficult for the oppositions to make major breakthrough in general elections, let alone in any by-elections. His government won almost all by-elections. A walk in the park.
After having ravaged Abdullah's reputation and successfully ousted him from office many would have thought this grand old man would stop active involvement in politics and leave Najib alone.It appears that Mahathir is not about to give up politics and Najib may be in for a long rough ride and if he is not careful may be weaken by the very same man.He had already criticise some of Najib's choices in the cabinet and termed them unsavoury characters.
Mahathir insisted Najib must allow the BN to contest the Penanti by-election after the prime minister said the BN may not contest the by-election.Mahathir is prepared to lead the campaign in this Anwar's stronghold. Previous elections had shown that the BN is not exactly popular in the areas.
Below are the results of the last two general elections:
PRU - 11
N12: PENANTI: 14,808
1. Anuar Shaari (Keadilan) 5,528
2. Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid (BN-UMNO) 6,195
Jumlah Mengundi: 11,915
Peratus Mengundi: 80.5
PRU - 12
1. MOHAMMAD FAIRUS KHAIRUDDIN 7,346
2. Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid (BN-UMNO) 5,127
Majoriti : 2,219
Jumlah Mengundi :12,657
Peratus Mengundi :82
Even in 2004, at the height of Abdullah's popularity and a landslide victory for the BN, the BN/UMNO candidate Abdul Jalil Abdul Majid didn't performed that well, getting only majority of 667 votes.
Mahathir might have meant well for Najib and UMNO but the situation have not changed after Abdullah left the scene.The rancor against UMNO and the BN have not subsided in Pakatan controlled areas. It's still in favour of Anwar and Pakatan. Putting an UMNO candidate would be like sending a cow to the abattoir to be slaughtered.
As Prime Minister, Najib should stand by his decision.
Now that Mahathir has made some noises, the whole nation is watching which direction is Najib moving to.