Though Douglas MacArthur was credited with the lines ‘Old soldiers never die, they just fade away’, he borrowed it from an old army ballad to use as part of his farewell address to the US Congress in 1951. That army ballad in turn originated from the British Army's WWI parody of the song 'Kind Thoughts Can Never Die'.
Unfortunately, we have no similar saying for old politicians, probably because they won’t fade away, wakakaka.
Take for example, Dr Mahathir. He’s seen by us as still being very much in charge of UMNO and in turn PM Najib, and thus the nation, wakakaka.
Previously Dr M had favoured Najib to become PM, partly because he (Dr M) couldn’t stand AAB [for reasons that was once inadvertently revealed by AAB though in an indirect manner, and not because he cancelled most of Dr M’s mega projects], …
… and partly because he (Dr M) hutang budi to Tun Razak for rescuing him from the outer where he was politically consigned by Tunku.
A sign of Najib’s reciprocating hutang budi was the appointment of Mukhriz Mahathir as deputy minister for international trade & industry. The appointment has been controversial because Mukhriz is only an exco in UMNO Youth whereas Khairy Jamaluddin, UMNO Youth chief and a party post traditionally appointed a minister, was not [though the UMNO Youth deputy chief was].
With such a glaring incongruity, there’s small wonder everyone has been pointing fingers at Dr M’s immense power behind the throne, where it's assumed Najib had to placate him twice over, by making Mukhriz a minister while marginalizing KJ, wakakaka.
But in more recent times, we suspect that Dr M might have entertained some doubts as to Najib’s ‘loyalty’, not that Mr Zigzag has been particularly renowned for that quality. We detect (perhaps through our wild imaginations wakakaka) hints of Dr M’s subtlest threats to Najib in the figure of a much older but nonetheless PM-wannabe Muhyiddin.
Najib’s detractors joke (or were they?) about Najib’s wife, Rosmah Mansor, doing her formidable power manipulations too, perhaps (again in our wildest imaginations wakakaka) raising concerns for Dr M.
But whatever the outcome of UMNO's current internal power manoeuvres, Dr M is the very epitome of ‘old politicians never die and they also won’t fade away’ wakakaka.
Next we have Daim Zainuddin, hailed by UMNO apparatchiks to be as prescient as The Oracle of Delphi.
To the ancient Greeks, Delphi was the navel and thus the very centre of Earth, and the home of the mighty and powerful Apollo, son of Zeus. But prior to Apollo assuming residency at Delphi as the divine place for his oracles, the presiding monster there was a serpent-dragon known as Python, which was slain by Apollo (as an act of revenge for the serpent harassing and pursuing his mum during her very late stage of pregnancy).
Taking that Delphic name literally, we know what a python is frighteningly feared for, wakakaka, so I wasn’t surprised when I read Josh Hong’s column in Malaysiakini about Ex-minister Daim tak diam the title of his article being a play on Daim’s biography 'Daim yang Diam: Sebuah Bigrafi'.
Python-like, Daim amassed a huge fortune and expanded his business empire. Josh wrote of Daim's python-ish stranglehold on big business:
In fact, it was Daim who turned the Economic Planning Unit into a full-power agency in implementing the privatization policy.
Tenders for government projects became things of the past, while contracts were awarded in opacity, to the benefit of both Daim and Mahathir, and many other Umno-putras - Halim Saad, Tajudin Ramli, Wan Azmi, etc - but also trusted non-bumi tycoons such as Vincent Tan, the late Lim Goh Tong and Ananda Krishnan.
Lucrative deals also kept Samy Vellu and Ling Liong Sik so happy that they failed thoroughly to look after the very constituencies that they were supposed to take care of.
Josh sneered at Daim as ‘a typical Umno elite who has been living off the backs of the people’, and the only Finance Minister in the world who left his political appointment as a billionaire, and thus in Josh's opinion, a person ‘shorn of the moral authority to talk on the issue' [of Najib inappropriately holding appointments of PM and Finance minister concurrently].
But of late, seeking to help UMNO by exploiting his so-called renowned prescience (and perhaps hoping his oracles may become self fulfilling prophecies), Daim has been plugging away for his old team, even to the laughable extent of praising Chua Soi Lek for his intrepidity though we didn't read any mention of integrity or wakakaka, morality.
Not unlike the de-mystification of the British royal family some years back through the royal children's unbecoming behavior and utterances in public, and consequential loss of respect for a once-hallowed British institution, Daim has de-mystified himself and his hitherto Cimmerian aura through his implausible endorsement of BN people like CSL wakakaka, and similarly lost our once grudging admiration for him (or at least, his business acumen).
If only he had made senior statesman-like prognoses instead of pathetic partisan plugs!
But he is, like Dr M, another classic example of ‘old politicians never die and they also won’t fade away’ wakakaka.