The plot thickens in the quest for the next Malaysian PM: The Star columnist

The writer believes Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be the Prime Minister-in-waiting for the Malaysia's opposition.
The writer believes Dr Mahathir Mohamad to be the Prime Minister-in-waiting for the Malaysia's opposition.PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The last few weeks have been hard for me.

No, I am not talking about the rising cost of living. Or even the gag order that has been placed on my academic colleagues and me, forbidding us from criticising the Government or the university. Neither am I talking about the religious agencies and groups who are intimidating some of my friends.

I am talking about the appalling form that is being shown by Tottenham Hotspur. In a world of constant challenges, weekends watching football have been my escape and my balm. And for the last two seasons I have been slathered in balm.

Spurs have been playing beautifully and although they have never made the top spot, they seem to be edging ever closer, finishing second last season.

Even in this season, we have had moments of glory; like the thrashing of Real Madrid. Oh how sweet that was, especially when seeing that over-coiffed mannequin Ronaldo sulking in disbelief as his team lost 3-1.

However, we have messed up massively too. In the league, apart from a fortunate win against Crystal Palace, we drew with West Bromwich and Watford, and lost to Leicester, Manchester United, and the most painful of all, Arsenal.

So on Saturday nights, I have been ranting and raving and swearing like a madman. It all looks so familiar.

Just when my hopes have been raised at the thought of a new dawn for my beloved team (which I will naturally support till I die, regardless of results) we appear to be diving straight back to mid-table ignominy where we have been languishing for decades.

Which brings me to the proposal that the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister-in-waiting for the opposition are to be Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.

Aha! And you thought this was going to be a pure football article!

It all looks so complicated. They will only be the interim leaders of the nation if the opposition wins the next general election.

The plan is that once they win, the new Government will endeavour to get Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim pardoned so that he can stand in a by-election and then be PM.

I say, man; these political machinations are more complex than the average episode of Game of Thrones. Or should I say Game of Tuns?

Anyway, with my simple non-politician mind, I am wondering why it has to be like this. It feels like the new political dawn of this country is going to be dashed as we go back to where we once were.

It is so frustrating. I mean, of all the Members of Parliament and leaders in Pakatan Harapan (the Alliance of Hope: I love it; it sounds like something from Star Wars), surely there is a potential PM out there.

I have heard people calling for Pandan MP Rafizi Ramli or Selangor Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali as PM. Well, sure, whatever rocks your boat.

For me, though, I don't see why it can't be Nurul Izzah Anwar. She is smart (the most important criterion), corruption-free, young and can appeal to a wide range of people.

I may be wrong, because I am old and decrepit, but I have a feeling that someone like her may just energise the youths. The youths who I am quite certain are hungry for change, and not like some minister has said, want to oppose the BN just for the sake of it.

There are those who say that she will always be in the shadow of her pop. That is pretty insulting, I think.

She is a capable and intelligent woman and if she becomes PM, I am sure that she won't allow herself to be pushed around by Daddy. I mean, if I were PM I wouldn't let my dad push me around; maybe my mum, but not my dad.

But at the end of the day, I am just some small fry squeaking away on the fringes. The political parties will do what they will do.

Is this cause for despair? I don't think so.

Let us take the example of Indonesia. After the 1998 Reformasi that ousted Suharto, they had their first free elections. And who was voted in? B.J. Habibie. And what party was he from? Golkar, Suharto's party.

It would appear then that it was the same old same old. But no, it was merely a period of transition.

For a nation that was ruled by one group and one man for so long, it may have been necessary for a more gradual change to happen than an outright 180-degree switch.

And sure enough, change did happen with the next President, who was Abdurrahman Wahid, better known as Gus Dur, a religious scholar and long-time opponent of the Suharto regime. Today, despite their troubles, Indonesia is the most vibrant democracy in South-East Asia.

So, perhaps, Malaysians, like Spurs fans, just have to be patient. It may be that we need to take a few steps back and suffer a few falls before we can truly start to fly.