Friday, 6 February 2009

Anwar’s gift to Malaysians: The world’s longest election

Who do we thank for giving us the world’s longest election? In my opinion it is Anwar Ibrahim.
I realise that the arguments that I put forth here are not new, it is simply my way of putting it together and I hope that you will see and understand my logic, even if you do not agree with me.
He started the ball rolling well before the Election Commission announced the polling date for the General Election, second guessing the Prime Minister from as early as August 2007, suggesting that the election would take place soon after the euphoria of the Independence Day celebration.
Then, in typical Anwar fashion he simply moved the dates back to suit his revised prophecies.

When the G.E. came in March he trumpeted a wind of change, a new deal for Malaysia and in the face of a Barisan Nasional that was in disarray, the freshly minted Opposition coalition achieved the unthinkable and was handed five states and denied the ruling coalition their traditional two-thirds majority in Parliament.

Denial of the two thirds majority was an expected outcome of the widespread unhappiness within Umno and Barisan Nasional as well as general unhappiness of the people with the only ruling coalition that the country has known since independence but the loss of five states caught everyone unawares.

Immediately after the results were announced both sides scrambled to cut deals and form Governments, there were efforts to secure defections or change of hearts in Perak and Selangor, two states with slim majorities.
After failing to rescue both Perak and Selangor from Opposition rule, Barisan Nasional did the gentlemanly thing and did not try to stop Pakatan Governments from being formed in these two states.

Barisan Nasional dropped efforts to reclaim any of the five states, respecting the wishes of the people who wanted to give this new coalition a try.
Everyone thought that the country had achieved a fantastic milestone, we denied the BN their two-thirds majority, forced greater accountability in parliament and gave the fledgling ruling coalition five states as training ground for the future.
But that was not enough for Anwar Ibrahim was it? He wanted to take over the Federal Government and taunted Barisan Nasional with threats of making 31 representatives jump party, without any pressure, he offered a date for the change. September 16 became the chant for Anwaristas.

He arrogantly insisted at every turn that the Pakatan Rakyat has successfully enticed enough Parliamentarians to topple the BN Government and at every proclamation, his fan boys cheered. To them this was democracy at work. The winds of change, they say justifies the method.

Anwar went around poking hornets’ nest in Sabah, Sarawak and even in Peninsula Malaysia, stoking regional and communal dissatisfaction at every opportunity.
Even after he was proven to be a fake after failing to take over power on September 16, he continued with his barrage of insults and taunting.

Who has forgotten his blaming of Pak Lah for not calling for a session of Parliament to bring down the Government? What kind of lunatic would, for a moment, think that any sitting Government would invite a vote of no confidence?
What kind of retarded strategist would announce his plan of attack and then blame the enemy for manoeuvring away for the danger before the assault could be carried out?

To top it all off, he made a schoolboy’s mistake of not reading the rules properly; Even if the PM had been stupid enough to allow for an emergency suicide session of Parliament, he could not have convened it on September 16 if the request came just days before the date. The rules say that ample notice of at least 14 days was needed.
Strangely Anwar fan boys and girls refused to see the huge gaps in his logic and strategic thinking and simply piled the blame on BN for refusing to sit still while Anwar shafted them.

BN did not get to stay in power for 50 years by being stupid.
That was the gist of his Sept 16 strategy.
Clearly Anwar had no capacity for feeling embarrassed because he simply ignored the September 16 failure and continued to taunt BN with the threat of defection, again concentrating his efforts in Sabah and Sarawak, sowing discord and unhappiness in these two states.

All this while BN showed no overt effort to turn over Pakatan Rakyat representatives. Oh I am sure that they tried but the ruling coalition did not advertise the effort nor did they make it their priority. Unlike Anwar BN did not add to the anxiety of the people.

Instead of crying over the loss of five states and their two-third majority, BN took and introspective approach and began a process of change. You can argue that they have not done enough but they have made effort.

In the meantime, all of Anwar’s effort went into trying to topple the Federal Government and not training his people on the intricacies of governing and to this day, Pakatan Rakyat has failed to form a shadow cabinet.

I realise that their supporters insist that this is a small oversight and does not mean that they are not ready to govern but I would like to point out that governing is not all about administrative skills and brain; it is as much about a coming together of intention and purpose.

A Government must have the trust of all its members and this trust that BN has cultivated did not come easy, they were forged out of respect by the hammer of compromise.

Anwar’s failure to form shadow cabinet shows that he has yet to achieve unity within the coalition and there is much distrust between the three coalition members.
Pakatan’s state government in Perak is the perfect example of their disunity. DAP, which has the most number of seats is known for taking all the shots with PAS’ Nizar playing the rubber-stamp MB.

Tales of DAP hogging logging concessions and government contracts may or may not be true but they are an indication of the unhappiness within the weak coalition that was running the state.

Nga-Ngeh is now synonymous with Chinese chauvinist government in Perak and this is feeling pervades through all strata of Malay community.

The Malay disappointment with Nizar and PKR is palpable. You may not get this feeling if you only trawl the internet for a reading of sentiments. Professionals, business owners, civil servants, farmers and labourers are all having second thoughts about the DAP-led Nizar in Perak.

Similar sentiments are felt in Selangor but perhaps the intensity is not comparable because Khalid seems to be more in control of the situation but even he has shown a tendency to turn his back on the Malays.

Lim Guan Eng has shown enough savvy to keep Malay disenfranchisement under check but that says is that it is comparable to the level of dissatisfaction under Gerakan rule, which is not saying much.

The Pas-led Kedah government seem to attract the least number of controversies, with the pig farming project raising the only red flag among Malays.
On the surface it may seem that I am putting forth racist arguments but actually the problem arises when these state administrators fail to respect the sensitivities and aspirations of the majority. The Malays still make up a significant majority of the country’s population.

Pakatan may insist that non -Malay voters are their kingmakers but there is no escaping the fact that most state and federal constituencies are Malay majority areas. Perak DAP seems to have forgotten that it was the Malays who put them in power and it will be the Malays who will remove them.

So far we can see that Anwar has been successful in presiding over anxiety and controversy while failing to do the job that the people of Malaysia entrusted him to do, to become an effective and coherent Opposition that will, in time, learn enough skills and develop enough unity to be a real Government in waiting.

They are doing a bit better in the states, there are hits and there are misses.
After successfully cultivating an atmosphere of intense politicking, he then takes a final jab at Umno by getting Bota state assemblyman to defect. Of course during this defection all his supporters, including so-called Barisan Rakyat bloggers who carry a massive torch for Anwar, hailed it as major success.

In their now typical fashion, Anwar and his fanatics used this as ammunition to further run down Barisan Nasional. I am not saying that BN is perfect, some of the flaws that have been pointed out are real but when one provokes the most powerful political entity in the country, one has to expect a reaction.

But, again, here Anwar’s fan boys simply refused to accept that BN would react, Again they expected BN to sit still while Anwar run them down.
This must be the most fantastic example of willing suspension of reality. Hollywood would sell its soul to get an audience like this.

Like his humiliating Sept 16 failure, Anwar now blames Barisan Nasional for his fall from grace. I think it is obvious there is a pattern to his dementia. Hatch a half-baked plan, when it fails blame it on BN.

It is time he admits that he has been outplayed by Umno and Barisan Nasional because his plans were never thought out properly, they sound good on the soapbox but that’s about it.

Thanks to his amateurish attempt at wrestling power from BN, Malaysians have had to endure the world’s longest election.

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