The old man didn't quite trust the Malays as they might vote PAS, wakakaka. So much as he didn't want to, he had to rely on Ah Chong, Ah Beng and Ah Tong.
Mahathir knew the Chinese would support him for his business-oriented government even though other factors weren't as rosy as could be, but to the Chinese, business was business where they could somehow earn a living, come what may.
But the only permanent thing was and still is 'CHANGE' itself because a newer generation of Chinese grew up, with better education and thus higher political expectations. They were/are also more vocal, opinionated, assertive and believe in themselves as Malaysians rather than migrant Chinese who were/are here in Malaysia only to earn a living and return to China, and f**k politics - better to play mahjong, wakakaka.
Now, Malaysia is their only home and they want their politics to better their country, personal living conditions and ensure a brighter future, hence they participate far more in politics than did their parents and grandparents.
At around the same time, AAB became PM and it has to be acknowledged he allowed better freedom for the press/media where unfortunately the worst in UMNO politics (displayed during their party general assemblies) were shockingly witnessed by the Chinese from TV shows - UMNO had stupidly telecasted their general assemblies live. UMNO members' shows of ferocious racism were terrifying to older Chinese.
Thus apart from younger Chinese Malaysians, the elder Chinese Malaysians were also convinced that UMNO was no longer as reasonable as it had been during Tunku's time - the reasonable limit was broken by younger more ferocious UMNO members who also wanted a piece of the pie, a big big piece please, or f**king else - and were finally won over by their younger people's persuasion that the time to change government was nigh upon them. And like May 1969, March 2008 happened.
Once the change happened, it would be very difficult for BN to put all shit back into Pandora's Box. Like sharks moving in for the kill on the scent of blood, 2013 happened again, which saw the near decimation of MCA, MIC, Gerakan and the total eclipse of the PPP, the party of the late D.R Seenivasagam, the once Ipoh-King, an Indian loved by Chinese as Karpal Singh was too in Penang.
Mahathir was never fond of the Chinese, motivating and manipulating them only for his own political interests. In fact, I believe he dislikes (if not hates) them very very much. He told off Najib for paying too much attention and giving too much concession to the Chinese who didn't appreciate Ah Jib Gor, who Mahathir voiced publicly, should have paid more attention to the Malays.
I'm afraid to say there was some truth in that (of Chinese deserting the BN in 2013), but leave it to Mahathir to express his immense nasty dislike for the Chinese despite their support of him and UMNO especially in 1999 (where Chinapeks saved his sorry ass) and AAB and UMNO in 2004.
And guess what? Now Najib believes his words finally and we see the Election Commission doing its usual gerrymandering to ensure the Malays become politically stronger, where Putrajaya has only about 17500 voters while Tony Pua's newly-named seat of Damansara (until that change becomes official it's still called Petaling Jaya Utara) has a new proposal by the EC to be made up of 150,000 instead of 85,000 voters.
Thus a voter in the new Damansara will have 1/9 (one ninth) the power of a pro UMNO voter in Putrajaya. Make a guess who's a non and who's a pro UMNO voter?
Hey, where did that extra 65,000 votes come from to join up with Petaling Jaya Utara's 85,000 voters.
They are mainly Pakatan supporter and will be shaved off from Kapar (which had 150,000 voters) to weaken Pakatan's hold on the latter seat.
G Manivannan Gowindasamy of PKR
G Manivannan Gowindasamy of PKR who replaced S Manikavasagam of same party (in a PKR internal tussle) in Kapar in 2013 GE will be in deep trouble in the reduced strength federal seat because he won Kapar in 2013 with only 56.17% of the votes.
When the EC moved 65,000 of your supporters to dump them in an already Pakatan-committed Chinese-dominated seat of Damansara (Petaling Jaya Utara) it's very painful. And it won't benefit the DAP in Damansara in any dramatic way.
So Najib has finally obeyed Mahathir and accepts that he won't rely on the Chinese anymore. I wonder whether Mahathir will now be pleased with his erstwhile mentee, wakakaka.
Note: The above discussions only focus on the proposed Damansara (Petaling Jaya Utara) and Kapar federal seats. There are more under the wicked hand of the EC, where it's possible that Pakatan will lose a few federal seats by the EC's "magic" as well as the state of Selangor.
Azmin Ali may turn out to be the last Pakatan MB of Selangor, while Nurul Izzah may also lose her federal seat of Lembah Pantai.