Quo vadis, Anwar?

(Published in the Star on September 24, 2008. Click here for the online version)

You don’t have to be one of the three witches in the tragedy of Macbeth, to accurately predict the political debacle, post 2008 general election. As the dust settles after the election, Pakatan Rakyat has been relentless in criticising the ruling government. The opposition coalition launches attack after attack on economic policies, soaring inflation rates notwithstanding the esteemed growth predicted by the government’s economist and the most controversial use of the infamous Internal Security Act 1960 (ISA) on bloggers and politician – to name a few.

Anwar Ibrahim – who recently resurrected from political incarceration by the previous administration under Tun Dr. Mahathir – declared in no uncertain terms that Pakatan Rakyat will take over the government on the symbolic September 16. Anwar’s confidence was fueled to the inflammatory point after he won the “mother” of all by-elections at Permatang Pauh – a seat of which was vacated by his wife to pave way for him in Parliament.

He held countless press-conferences to that effect sending a shiver down the spine of the ruling Barisan Nasional and its hard-core supporters. Anwar confidently stated that he has enough “defectors” from the ruling coalition to form a simple majority in Parliament thus lending him the ticket to the premiership.

Anwar – an orator by birth – promised, inter-alia, a government for all notwithstanding one’s race, to revamp the New Economic Policy which thus far only benefited the elite Malays. In his bid to sweeten the deal further, Anwar pledged to reduce fuel price at 50 cents lower if Pakatan Rakyat took over the government.

The promises are all music to the people’s ears.

Unfortunately, the much-anticipated September 16 dawned and set as eventless as other ordinary day – to say the least. Anwar fails to publicise the name of the “defectors” as anticipated by many. Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, publicly called Anwar’s bluff by challenging him to publish the name of the defectors, leaving Anwar tethering at the end of his rope.

September 16 goes down in history as a very bad day for Anwar.

My political stand, however, will never be the same again. To me, Pakatan Rakyat’s larger than life figure, Anwar Ibrahim, is just another consummate political animal who would have given his proverbial right arm to be Prime Minister. His ardent desire to head the country leaves a bitter aftertaste in my mouth. In his rush en route Putrajaya, Anwar betrayed the trust of fence-sitters and some of his supporters as the widely -criticized Barisan Nasional remains in power on September 16.

Post September 16, Anwar’s claim of having more than 30 “defectors” to crossover to his side of the battle sounds rhetoric.

But one must bear in mind that Anwar is just another product of Barisan Nasional’s system. Anwar’s political path is largely formed on Barisan Nasional’s platform. The blue-eyed boy turned nemesis of Tun Dr. Mahathir has a lot to do before Pakatan Rakyat crowns him Prime Minister. He undoubtedly won the affection of the watchful – sometimes down right nosy – international media but Anwar has rooms for improvement at his home soil.

As Anwar’s clock ticks loudly and the patience of the people grows thinner vis-a-vis the current standoff between Anwar and Abdullah, the former has a distinct, but tiny window of opportunity to do the right thing: either walk the talk or shut up.

To sum it up clearly, time is a luxury which Anwar cannot afford. His expensive dream in becoming Prime Minister could render the loosely formed Pakatan Rakyat asunder if he placed a wrong bet on this high stakes power struggle.

As at September 16, 2008 Anwar remains a Prime Minister-in-waiting.


18 thoughts on “Quo vadis, Anwar?

  1. It takes Anwar to sneeze for BN to run helter skelter.

    If the cross-overs are not true, why the BBC had to be despatched to Taiwan under the pretext of agri study tour?

    Why can’t Anwar reveal the names under his belt? Deputy Chief Minister of Sabah Raymond Tan who was also former deputy chief of SAPP claimed he stopped PM from arresting party boss Yong Teck Lee under the ACA after the latter wanted a motion of no confidence passed against Pak Lah. This is very telling on the use of laws to keep BN MPs on the line.

    If ada corruption against Yong, the full weight of the law must be borne down on him, whether he is faithful to BN or not. Is Raymond Tan’s actions tantamount to obstruction of justice?

    We all know that Yong has a lot of baggage.

    Brother Cheang,

    I laugher reading: “It takes Anwar to sneeze for BN to run helter skelter”. The East Malaysia states are now the kingmakers – at least me thinks so.

  2. 916 is merely a symbolic date, if not a tactical move to un-settled the BN, which clearly was the case retrospectively. The ISA recently invoked, the near implode of Umno, and many more, points directly to the triumph of this symbolic date, though the promise is yet to be delivered.

    Dear WTF,

    I am merely stating views from where I stand and that is to agree with you that: “though the promise is yet to be delivered”.

  3. I don’t care what you wrote or what you think, but to get women women to talk about politics is a task. But to get one who writes on politics? That’s damn sexy, Elviza.

    Damn sexy! šŸ™‚

    p/s: never know your blog until my colleague introduced me to your sleepless series. Now, I am just hooked for good. Is that your photo on by the side? Wow…

    Dear Syed Imran,

    I was totally apolitical before but then I started hanging out with bloggers. You know the saying, “can’t beat them, join them.”

    Thank you for the kind words, Sir.

  4. Elviza,

    I support PKR all the way, but I couldn’t help but agree with you “As at September 16, 2008 Anwar remains a Prime Minister-in-waiting”.

    Politicians never change.

    Dear Jasmi,

    The way leopard never change its spot, huh?

  5. Sis Elviza,

    Born in 1957, I grow up with Malaysia. In the early days, govt leaders were less than educated than the present lot but they were definitely a few notches above the present lot. You won’t catch them uttering stupidity. There was even honour and integrity. These days corruption is no more hidden but euphemised as commissions.

    We need a PM who is not proned to populism. He must be willing to apply unpopular measures for the good of the country in the long term, even if the remedies are more bitter than the disease.

    Brother Cheang,

    Any PMs must have certain agenda towards populism but when it’s too blatant, it’s just not classy. Corruption needs to be nip in the bud, not merely by pruning the branches.

  6. What a smooth writeup, I found myself reading it from the first para till the end. For someone apolitical like me that’s a huge step!

    I agree on one point mostly that Sept 16 was a bad day for Anwar

    Dear Soraya,

    Thank you – for sharing my point of view. But even if you disagreed, your comments will always be welcomed. That’s what freedom of speech is all about.

  7. Pingback: Anwar Ibrahim - Saviour, or the Wooden Chameleon? « Our Table

  8. Elviza,

    Kudos!You`ve put into words what most of us are mulling over in our thoughts right now.Some may opine that you`ve become very feisty over this issue, but I proffer that you are being completely honest with yourself.A little voice in my mind keeps telling me though that this obvious disenchantment with the ways of the ruling government, and the fear in all of us, which is growing every day, that the US sub-prime precipitated financial tsunami will inevitably hit us very hard when it reaches our shores(which is inevitable), compels us to clutch at the nearest straw,which so happens to be the only tangible alternative left.Under such circumstances, would such a decision be the most apt one? Let`s anwer that ourselves.Keep on writing..it`s a pleasure to behold how purely beautiful the English language can be,when it is masterfully engaged!

    Dear higashi-san,

    Ah, I can’t keep things to myself for long, my fingers will start aching to type pretty soon! Thank you for the kind words, Sir.

  9. Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri to you and family, ma’am. Be sure to have a good one. If you’re driving, be sure to stay safe now, y’hear?

    Dear Sir Bergen,

    It’s always an honour to have a wordsmith such as yourself here at my humble blog. Selamat Hari Raya to you too, Sir and I’ll be sure to stay safe.

  10. I can see where are you coming from, let’s call a spade a spade, shall we?

    You belong to the mainstream media not just here in the blog arena. Sharp point of view sprinkled on impeccable language.

    I still prefer you “cretive writing stuff” anyway. Guess some people are jut born to do what they are born to do.

    The last time I left a comment, it didn’t appear on the posting, did it go the spam thing? May be you should check that spam bag of yours. šŸ™‚

    Dear Anonymous,

    Ok, am so checking the spam thing. Too many comments there, I dare not look! Thank you for the kind words though.

  11. I’m beginning to fall in love with your write-ups. You go girl!

    And yeah, Anwar’s SO gotta pull up his socks. Setting dates, and new dates, and newer dates just ain’t gonna cut it no more.

  12. Nice pic of the wonder swordslady, Azumi. Have just finished watching both 1 & 2 last week, and I think it’s one of the best sword flicks I’ve seen in a while.

    On to more bizarre topics, today (Sept 23) passed by as uneventfully as the 16th. I guess people got fed up waiting.

    Wonder what’s going to happen tomorrow though?

  13. When Sodomy I happened, I woke politically. I was at Anwar’s house when they came to take him away, strappling young Field Force boys carrying fat canes, their faces nonchalant to the emotions surrounding them in palpable waves. It was wrong what happened for he was after all our DPM, if for no other reason.

    In the ensuring years my heart was broken so many times when our institutions were raped, bastardised and abused for selfish desires and needs. The horrors that was wrought in the name of public good by our parliament, our courts, even through agencies far remove from the public eye such as danaharta.

    But I kept my faith in the goodness and courage of the Malaysian people.

    Now there’s a real chance that a kinder , truer government can be hoisted up by us, the people. We should keep the faith. Let’s not lash out our frustration just because our expectations may have been thwarted, perchance by just a few weeks.

    Without faith in this life, what hope is there for us to keep our sanity?

    Without faith in the existence of God, do you know how dark and lonely the universe would become?

    Kindest regards, and may this raya brings you much joy with your loved ones.


  14. Hi Elviza,

    First time I stumbled on your blog. I am a 62 year old woman. I enjoy reading your blog and I am comforted to know that there are still some young people like you who do write very good English. All the best to you.

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