Azmin Ali’s announcement that he’s taking a break from politics has certainly raised some eyebrows. After failing to defend his Gombak parliamentary seat in the recent Nov 2022 General Election, which was a shock to himself, his so-called new plan to go back to the drawing board to decide his next steps is both suspicious and hilarious. But it was not surprising at all.

What happens to the chest-thumping and gloating that opposition Perikatan Nasional will snatch Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan from ruling state government Pakatan Harapan in the upcoming state elections? Azmin, the most trusted lieutenant of former PM Muhyiddin Yassin, was speculated to become Selangor Chief Minister when Pakatan Harapan is wiped out later.

However, Mr Azmin’s decision to take a rest means not only he is no longer a MP for the first time since 2008, he is chickening out from defending his state assemblymen of Bukit Antarabangsa, which the former PKR deputy president won under PKR ticket in the May 2018 General Election – before the traitor defected to Bersatu (Malaysian United Indigenous Party).

During the infamous “Sheraton Move” in February 2020, Azmin had led 10 PKR MPs to defect to Bersatu, while Bersatu president Mahiaddin (Muhyiddin) simultaneously pulled his party’s support – leading to the collapse of the democratically elected Pakatan Harapan ruling government after 22 months. After the betrayal, they formed a backdoor “Perikatan Nasional” government.

While Muhyiddin became the 8th Prime Minister, working shamelessly with the corrupt United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) and extremist Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), Azmin became de-facto Deputy Prime Minister. However, the fragile backdoor Perikatan Nasional government collapsed after just 17 months when Muhyiddin was himself betrayed by ally UMNO.

Initially believed he was being groomed to become Malaysia’s youngest prime minister, Azmin’s dream was crushed after UMNO President Zahid Hamidi led 15 MPs to withdraw support for Muhyiddin. Under the lame duck un-elected PM Ismail Sabri, who lasted only 14 months, Azmin retained his “Senior Minister” post, but was no longer the de-facto Deputy Prime Minister.

He had underestimated the people’s hatred of a traitor. The recent national polls saw angry voters vigorously voted Azmin out, losing nearly 13,000 votes to his protégé, Selangor Chief Minister Amiruddin Shari. The last straw that broke the camel’s back was the failure of Perikatan Nasional chairman Muhyiddin to form a government after the 2022 election that produced a hung Parliament.

In the same breath, Azmin’s latest political manoeuvre also means the opposition should stop hallucinating about capturing Selangor, let alone Penang. If Perikatan Nasional, comprising primary Bersatu and PAS, could indeed topple the existing Selangor state government, there is absolutely no reason for the PM Wannabe to suddenly abandon politics now.

In the event 10th Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim loses his stronghold Selangor, the current unity government would disintegrate, allowing Muhyiddin to return as prime minister again. Likewise, Azmin could return to his previous senior minister’s portfolio through yet another backdoor – Senatorship. But the move to temporarily keep a low profile was all about his personal survival.

By telling all and sundry that he is taking a break, it creates a perception that he is not a threat to anyone. Azmin is incredibly terrified that his gay sex case could be re-opened for investigation. He was caught with his pants down engaging in “gay sex” at Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Sandakan, Sabah. His sex partner had admitted to the extraordinary “unnatural sex” affair.

In June 2019, just a day after videos of disgraced Azmin were exposed, Muhammad Haziq Abdul Aziz confessed on Facebook that his sex partner – then-Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali – had tried to force him to lie about the affair which he said had actually begun three years earlier (2016). But the lucky man was protected by then-PM Mahathir Mohamad, who was also the chairman of Bersatu.

Mr Haziq told the public – “I am worried that more videos will be leaked, and the luxury you have as a minister is deniability, whereas my future is over. You even have the Prime Minister (Mahathir) pledging his full support before any formal investigation had been done. Only the truth can set me free, as I am concerned for the safety of my family and mine.”

Of course, not only Azmin was never investigated, let alone charged, Haziq too was never charged for defamation – suggesting that both were indeed gay lovers. Azmin received protection because his political master, Muhyiddin, was then the powerful Home Minister, whose jurisdiction included the Royal Malaysia Police. And Mahathir wanted Azmin and Anwar to slaughter each other to weaken PKR.

In fact, Azmin’s gay sex videos have been authenticated, but the police – hilariously – insisted that the authorities were not able to positively identify the two men in the videos that were leaked online. The police never said the video was fake or had been doctored. The half-baked excuse given was clearly unconvincing, hence Azmin could go to prison for indulging prohibited sex.

Essentially, the “green wave” which Perikatan Nasional has been trumpeting as the tsunami that will wipe out Anwar-led unity government is nothing but hot air. Azmin’s refusal to place any more bets, and decided to take his money off the table, also suggests that Bersatu president Muhyiddin and PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang are out of move to snatch power via backdoor.

According to the latest survey from the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s approval rating stood at 68%. More importantly, the research found 73% approval from ethnic Chinese, followed by 91% ethnic Indian and 60% Malay voters – just two months after the new prime minister was sworn in on Nov 24, 2022.

The fabulous approval rating for Anwar, especially among the Malays, is bad news for the opposition because it shows a swing of support from Perikatan Nasional (which depends 99% on Malay voters) to the unity government consists of Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional. Only 20% of voters were dissatisfied with the PM’s performance.

Even if the Merdeka Center’s study cannot be trusted and was not reliable, it’s not a walk in the park for Azmin to become Selangor’s next chief minister (assuming he doesn’t mind being downgraded from a senior federal minister to just a state chief minister). Power-crazy PAS has already pre-emptively warned that the party has many qualified candidates as the Selangor chief.

Besides, Melaka and Johor state elections in Nov 2021 and March 2022 had shown that a victory in a parliamentary constituency does not necessarily translate to the same victory at the state level. With only 40% Malay votes and zero support from other ethnicities thanks to racist bigot Muhyiddin and religious extremist Hadi in the driver seats, it’s hard to even fantasize how they could win Selangor.

To make matters worse, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has frozen Bersatu’s (PPBM) accounts over RM92.5 billion scandal linked to the Covid-19 stimulus packages, where up to RM4.5 billion could have been stolen. On the night of January 5, the MACC arrested 42-year-old Adam Radlan Adam Muhammad, who turns out to be Muhyiddin’s right-hand man.

Apparently, Mr Adam was arrested over his role as “middleman” in brokering government projects related to Covid-19 stimulus packages worth RM92.5 billion (US$21 billion) in exchange for bribes. A former chief executive of Maju Assets Sdn Bhd, he is also Segambut divisional leader of Muhyiddin’s political party – Bersatu (Malaysian United Indigenous Party).

The best part is Adam is the cousin of Muhyiddin’s son-in-law, Muhamad Adlan Berhan, who in turn was involved in several scandals. Mr Adlan married to Muhyiddin’s daughter, Nabilah, who is a shareholder of Agathistwo Jia Sdn Bhd, a company involved in the scandalous RM1.2 billion NIIS (National Integrated Immigration System) concession.

Now, the MACC is investigating the possible abuse of power in the award of contracts for Muhyiddin’s son-in-law in the NIIS project, which could lead to the former prime minister charged and jailed. So, the crook is facing two scandals – money laundering in the RM92.5 billion Covid-19 stimulus packages and corruptions in the RM1.2 billion NIIS projects.

Bersatu isn’t the only corrupt party that had its accounts frozen. The PAS Islamist party could see its accounts frozen too. In 2020, Bersatu received RM109 million in so-called donations. The next year, it received RM148 million in yet another round of dubious donations. In total, it had received RM257 million in donations in just two years. But the best part has just begun.

Investigation shows part of the dirty money received by Bersatu had been channelled to PAS. That explains video clips of the Islamist party happily corrupted gullible young Malay voters with RM350 to vote for the party. Sure, Hadi Awang can whine that he didn’t know the origins of the money “donated” by his best friend Muhyiddin. But that can’t stop the MACC from freezing its accounts.

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