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Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Anwar-Najib contract

KTemoc Konsiders
Today in my most lazy weekend, I read in 2 places very angry condemnations of former Indonesian VP Jusuf Kalla and his role as mediator in an Anwar Ibrahim-Najib Razak pre-election agreement or, as RPK puts it, 'contract'.

The first was in Malaysiakini in an article by S Thayaparan titledJusuf Kalla's poisonous fairy tale while the second was in Malaysia-Today's Expressed and implied.

The second referred to Karpal Singh's criticisms of Kalla going beyond his role as mediator for the two principal protagonists in the recent Malaysian general election, and assuming a foreigner's interfering partisan stand for Najib and against Anwar. The former, by S Thayaparan, describes Kalla's pro-Najib partisanship in the same way as had Karpal, one which saw a series of alleged poisonous fabrications against Anwar Ibrahim.

Leaving aside Jusuf Kalla's alien intrusive interference in Malaysian politics (when his role was just as mediator and witness to an agreement for the loser of the Malaysian elections to accept the verdict of the voters in clean democratic fashion, and not an open cheque book for him to wander beyond that), there was indeed such an Anwar-Najib agreement, and most important of all, that Anwar was the initiator of the proposal.

On a matter of national pride, I have never supported Anwar Ibrahim's regular attempts to induct foreigners into roles within our election structure. On this silliness he was recently snubbed by Australia's foreign minister Bob Carr (who's incidentally married to a Malaysian). Bob Carr also gave a tick to the Malaysian election after its completion, perhaps as a second snub to Anwar's seeming impropriety to Malaysia's national sovereignty.

It's commonsense that no sovereign nation wants a foreigner to dictate terms or manage the nation's elections - Malaysia is no colony of Australia or any foreign nation. How shameful can that be. And conversely no foreign government wants to be involved, save those of its fringe elements like Australian Senator Nick Xenophon.

Incidentally, the more meaningful story of Malaysia's official acrimonious relationship with Nick Xenophon is not so much about his interference in Malaysian politics as was assumed when he was deported from Kuala Lumpur.

This man is anti palm oil, and thus is considered as a threat to one of Malaysia's most important primary produces. Florence Chong of Asia Today wrote in PALM OIL, NOT POLITICS – WHY MALAYSIA KICKED OUT AN AUSTRALIAN SENATOR (extracts):

Xenophon was briefly detained by Malaysian authorities and then deported last week because the Government considers him "an enemy of the State”.

Xenophon claims the only risk that he poses is an ability to embarrass the Malaysian Government because of his advocacy for clean elections in Malaysia.

The reality is that Malaysia probably started to regard Xenophon a persona non grata from 2009, when he started a vigorous campaign, with the support of the Australian Greens, to change the labelling of palm oil in processed food.

The South Australian Senator initiated "Truth in Labelling" legislation to require food manufacturers to stop classifying palm oil as a "vegetable oil", something which, under Australian law, is permitted.
Xenophon said then that, under existing legislation, Australian food manufacturers are allowed to put palm oil into 40% of food products sold in supermarkets.

Xenophon maintains that people have the right to know what goes into their food. Unlike vegetable oils, which have polyunsaturated fats, palm oil contains mostly saturated fat. Xenophon has argued that the average Australian consumes 10 kilograms of palm oil through processed food every year – and that these consumers deserve truth in labelling of the food they consume.

The proposed legislation was strongly opposed by the palm oil industry – not least by Malaysia - and by the Australian Food and Grocery Council. Xenophon failed to get the support of the Opposition to get the Bill passed, but it is not dead. He is looking at a way of resurrecting the legislation.

Xenophon shares the belief of environmentalists the world over that the rapid of expansion of the palm oil industry in Malaysia has eroded the natural habitat, especially that of the endangered primate, the orang utan. He says experts believe that, at the current rate, the orang utan population in the wild will be wiped out by 2013.

To the average Malaysian and particularly those involved in the palm oil sector, he is most unfriendly and a threat to Malaysian farming interests. So don't be too sympathetic with his deportation - in reality, he's no friend of Malaysia or Malaysians.

Anyway, back on track about alien intrusion in our politics.

UMNO has been so deeply embedded in Malaysian government rule (and thus power) because of its unchallenged position for more than half a century, that it had worried Pakatan prior to the election. The question was: would UMNO roll out the tanks if it lost the general election as it had on May 13, 1969, and then was just for the state of Selangor.

I suspect that was what motivated Anwar Ibrahim to cry out for help from Jusuf Kalla to negotiate an agreement with Najib for peaceful and democratic transfer of powers to Pakatan in general and to him in particular.

Anwar had wanted a powerful Malay Muslim who would be respected and believed when he spoke out, should Najib renege on a democratic handover of powers in the event Pakatan had won the general election. There was virtually no neutral and respected Malay Muslim in Malaysia so he must have turned towards his old friends in Indonesia, yes, old friends for whom he had Apcet II disrupted. Jusuf Kalla fitted the bill for him.

Alas, it all came to nought for Anwar because Najib's BN won the election.

Jusuf Kalla's sin was to go beyond his role as witness to the agreement but suffice to say, Anwar wasn't helpful by being cranky and a sore loser.

In the immortal words of Tian Chua BUT re-worded by kaytee more correctly: The people can wait another five years but Anwar Ibrahim just bloody can't.

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