Anwar Ibrahim's style has always been about starting with a bang but then it is 'downhill all the way' after that.
With Khalid Ibrahim as Menteri Besar, Anwar Ibrahim as his economic czar and Azmin Ali as “ketua”, it has taken PKR less than one term in government to begin the wholesale plundering and pillaging of Selangor.
What will they do if given the opportunity to govern from Putrajaya? Will they put Umno to shame in spite of the presence of DAP and PAS? Can anybody tell me?
This is the same PKR that made a mockery of its commitment to conduct an open and fair party election.
The same PKR that saw many of its elected representative deserting the party for greener pastures.
The same PKR that now proclaims that its selection process will ensure only the best candidates will represent PKR in elections – a selection process in which Khalid, Azmin and Anwar are the selectors?
And is this the same PKR that entered the 12th general election with a bang as the biggest winner of seats in Parliament within the Pakatan Rakyat coalition but now limps into the 13th general election with a whimper as its weakest?
What has happened in the interim?
Big bang beginnings
First, there was the ill-conceived and audacious grab at power in September 2008 that was doomed from the very beginning.
We watched in amazement when Anwar announced that he had the numbers to take over the government but later had to eat humble pie.
And like all things that Anwar does, he starts with a bang and then it is downhill all the way.
He was the dissident student leader who joined the very government he had accused of starving its own people. His rationale for joining was to change the government from within.
Once in government that “changing from within” bit was forgotten as he wholeheartedly embraced the politics of self.
As education minister, he took a cheap shot at seizing the opportunity to garner popular support among the Malays in making Bahasa as the medium of instruction in the education of our young.
A decision quick in the making because of the perceived political mileage to be gained by Anwar but lax and lacking totality in its implementation.
Then Ghafar Baba was unceremoniously turfed aside by Anwar from the post of deputy prime minister in a move that achieved what he plotted for himself (the number two post).
The manner in which the ousting of Ghafar was done left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth.
And after reaching the highest possible ranking within Umno and in the government (post of deputy prime minister because Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the prime minister), he somehow managed to screw things up and ended up being incarcerated for corruption.
Plunder in Selangor
Once out of prison he started again the climb to the top – not unlike what he did in Umno – only this time instead of having a Ghafar to contend with, he had to bring DAP, PAS and his PKR into Pakatan for the stated purpose of forming a credible opposition to go head-to-head with Barisan Nasional.
As always with Anwar, in the beginning PKR is all fire and brimstone, but when it came to the brass tacks, it started to fall apart.
Its party election was what any party election should not be.
Zaid Ibrahim and a few others left PKR and when the dust settled, it was business as usual a’la Anwar style for PKR, which meant Anwar’s interests, not PKR’s, took precedence.
And like in Umno, the Pak Sheikh that was Anwar when he was in Umno came back into PKR – only this time he only had Selangor (thank God!) to play around with.
Enough has been written about Sodomy II and we have been suitably exposed to the many abuses within the Selangor state government under “KAA” – Khalid, Anwar and Azmin – thanks to MalaysiaToday and Raja Petra Kamarudin.
Anwar is now leader of Pakatan by default and is without the moral or ethical authority to lead Pakatan into the 13th general election against a BN ready, willing and all financially geared up for battle.
So what will Anwar do now? Or the question should be: what can Pakatan do?
For now I believe that Anwar is in denial about the reality of his weakening tenure as leader of the opposition in the eyes of DAP and PAS but more importantly, in the eyes of the electorate. But he will not be in denial much longer.
I believe this man is capable of doing what is needed to take Pakatan across the finishing line – either as the government of the day, or at worst, a credible force in the opposition.
The distractions of Sodomy II, his acquittal and the business of being a political celebrity on the international circuit now occupy too much of his time.
When will Anwar focus on polls?
Anwar will need another Sungai Buloh moment (courtesy of Mahathir), another Sodomy II moment (courtesy of Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan and Najib Tun Razak), and probably something like the moments that Malaysia Today/Raja Petra gave him (with their exposéof corruption and abuse of executive authority within Selangor).
Perhaps then Anwar can gather his thoughts and focus on the business at hand – winning the 13th general election for Pakatan.
Whether he will do so today, tomorrow or never is moot. But he better do it soon.
He better do it with (his daughter) Nurrul Izzah by his side and he better do it after mending his fences first with those whom he has offended in the past.
It is hard enough winning a general election without your self-made enemies biting at your ankles and harassing your every move.
Your ability to make new friends, forge new alliance and seek others to assist you in your hope to form a government is becoming sorely tested – not only in the Peninsula but more so in Sabah and Sarawak.
What will Anwar do? What can he do? When will he do it? These are all questions only he can answer.
I would just like him to know that many of us have already written him off as leader of the opposition and leader of PKR.
It is for him to prove us wrong. And if he does, we would all be the better for it.
But for now we urge those within the opposition to discard Anwar and to think of this as a time for the two “AA” (within Pakatan and within PKR) – one is “After Anwar” and another is “After Azmin”.
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.