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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Will this be Anwar’s swan song?

Announcing his candidacy for the Kajang by-election may well be the beginning of the opposition leader's political demise.
ANALYSIS
Facing a near political demise post-GE13, Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim may well be trying his last shot via the backdoor to wiggle into the decision making seat of the Selangor state assembly.
Contesting in the Kajang state seat by-election speaks volumes of the man who never fails to accept the fact that he has been left standing alone, even by his generals like Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim.
The recent spat between the two on several controversial and hotly debated issues in Selangor was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.
Anwar has been extremely unhappy with various unilateral decisions made by Khalid despite projecting an image of unity and coherence within PKR.
Their collective public appearances and joint announcements have been a mirage and they cannot fool the public with the warmness they portray in public.
Rolling into power for second term in Selangor, PKR leaders have grown arrogant and are virtually ignorant of the woes of the general public.
They are more interested in fattening the state coffers and lining their pockets to the extent of brushing aside their so called ‘Sifu’ Anwar.
It has dented Anwar’s standing as the commanding officer of the opposition alliance, Pakatan Rakyat.
It is a well known that neither DAP nor PAS ever needed Anwar in their struggle to capture more state and parliamentary seats in the last general election.
He lost his reformasi struggle long ago and got buried when other pro-opposition organisations like Bersih and various NGOs stood alone without the Anwar factor, in fighting Barisan Nasional.
Anwar is more worried about exacting personal vendetta, taking cold showers in the event he does not get the continuous personal and political support from the other influential members within PKR.
The ball started rolling when Khalid, on many occasions, grossly tapered Anwar’s ‘advises’ on how to manage and run the state government.
In essence, Khalid was persistently sending a strong message out that the state government need not be in tune with what Anwar thinks or wants to be done.
Selangor is the gold mine and Anwar just cannot accept the fact that he is slowly but surely being overshadowed by personalities like Khalid and Azmin Ali, who carry more weight and political might within the state legislature and policy making bodies.
Anwar’s platform was solely launched upon being ejected abruptly from Putrajaya by the then premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad. It was not to champion the rakyat’s agenda per se but to vent his anger and frustration on the manner he was treated by BN leaders then.
But after 15 years, personal agenda will not work against BN, and this Anwar has begun to realise.
Chinese anger
The current momentum definitely does not favour Anwar’s ambitions of becoming the prime minister. Again, popularity is not the primary credential to lead the country. It takes more than just hailing ‘reformasi and change’.
Thus in the wake of his undefined role at any state level, Selangor will be the best bet as the Malay population can be a factor to re-boost his evaporating influence, if any is left.
The question is, will Anwar not be risking to be seen sending a wrong message to the Chinese voters in Kajang that they are being deprived of a Chinese seat in the state assembly?
Is PKR or even Pakatan bankrupt of Chinese leaders capable of running for the seat?
Is Anwar telling them that PKR is fed up with the Chinese too as DAP is overwhelmingly drowning his limelight that he managed to capture from the urban Chinese voters in the past two elections?
Are the Chinese voters that dumb to vote for Anwar to be their voice in a Malay majority state, or would they have preferred a Chinese candidate instead for the seat?
Anwar seems to be self-centered on this matter. If he is indeed planning to strategise cunningly into the Menteri Besar’s chair and checkmate Khalid prior to GE14, he better do it with cutting edge precision as Khalid is no mudminnow who will bend to his advocacy.
In essence Anwar wants to be seen as the ‘saviour’ of the rakyat of Selangor by being the ‘opposition-within-the state’s ruling party’, as the opposition in Selangor is impotent.
Anwar knows he is at the verge of losing both the battle and the war as his age and health is against him. And as mentioned, he is no factor to PAS and DAP.
The geopolitical landscape has evolved into issues and policy centric agendas. Anwar has long lost his grip and wanting more to tide in for the moment, he is willing to descend his political career.
Extending an olive branch to Umno, and Najib Tun Razak in specific, speaks volumes of his funneling political path. An ex-Umno comrade himself, this comes as a no surprise for a man possibly looking at his political demise.
Narinder Singh is a FMT team member.

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