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The suspenseful murder on Orient Express

  • All parties must fight for the endorsement of the rulers, a development that has significantly boosted the rulers' influences. Fighting the royalty? That's suicidal!

By TAY TIAN YAN
Sin Chew Daily

As Mahathir returned the medals of honors awarded by the Selangor royalty, his wife Siti Hasmah did the same in supporting him.

The undivided support from his wife has moved the heart of the former prime minister who subsequently tweeted that he would be on a movie date with Siti Hasmah. He even asked his followers for movie suggestions.

I would like to suggest that they go for Murder on the Orient Express adapted from a masterpiece by Agatha Christie whom the old couple should be very familiar with.

The Orient Express is en route to London from Istanbul when the train is derailed in an avalanche somewhere in Central Europe.

The movie is not wholly about a suspenseful crime but the vivid depiction of human emotions through the unraveling of the mysterious murder.

In the last scene, the suspects line up in a row, like Jesus' twelve disciples in The Last Supper awaiting the judgment.

Detective Hercule Poirot already knows who the murderer is, but he is emotionally upset by the intricate background of the case, which will not get solved alone by throwing the perpetrator behind bars, as it also entails the laws and morality as well as an entanglement of human sentiments.

Mahathir's situation today fits into the movie's mood perfectly.

At an advanced age of 92, almost towards the edge of his physical life, he is confronting yet another new challenge.

Since the outburst of the "Bugis pirate" controversy, Mahathir has come under tremendous pressure and now finds himself heads-on with a new opponent.

In the past he only needed to tackle Umno, with Najib his chief rival. But now, the Malay Rulers appear to be standing on the other side of the line, and the Selangor Sultan in particular, has been highly critical of him lately.

Mahathir nevertheless remains as tough as usual, clarifying that his "Bugis pirate" remark was specifically targeted at Najib and no one else.

He still shies away from offering a word of apology to the offended Sultan, who obviously does not buy his excuse.

During a media interview, His Royal Highness slammed Mahathir for playing with fire, and warned that he could burn this country with his fire of rage.

As the tension escalates, Mahathir opts to return the honors, showing that he is not about to back down any time.

This is not the first time Mahathir is at loggerheads with the Malay Rulers. In the 1980s, the then PM moved to amend the constitution to restrict the powers of the rulers.

Strongly backed by Umno, Mahathir toured the country to seek broader public support and eventually succeeded in amending the constitution to cap the royal powers.

Thanks to Mahathir, the prime minister was all-powerful and the royalty at rock bottom.

Things have changed today. Mahathir is no longer the PM and he lacks powerful public consensus to help him win another duel with the royalty.

Moreover, following a decisive split in the Malay political forces, no parties can claim ultimate supremacy and all must fight for the endorsement of the rulers, a development that has significantly boosted the rulers' influences.

Fighting the royalty? That's suicidal!

What we now have is a political train chugging down the track towards GE14, hypocritical people with vested interests and own calculations on board.

Mahathir's Pakatan allies choose to keep mum out of helpless political reality, especially in Selangor where PH longs to stay on in power and might even sacrifice an ally if this is absolutely necessary.

Even his own PPBM opts to sit on the fence and stay quiet.

The only exception is DAP's Zaid Ibrahim who has tweeted against the Sultan and landed himself in trouble as a result.

 

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