Thursday, August 7, 2008

Between a sitting PM and a PM in waiting

And so it begins....

Anwar was today charged in court for sodomy and this marks the begining of what I'm sure will be another circus, because Anwar is Anwar and he's not about to let the law take it's ordinary course. No. Having shouted conspiracy here, there and everywhere; having subjected the nation to much grief and trauma after the Turkish Embassy debacle and the Balasundram fake Statutory Declarations in the name of trying to create a diversion; Having cast aspersions and doubt against the police and the Attorney General, Anwar is not about to let this be an ordinary court case. He WILL make it a circus and he WILL make the government side look like fools. If he could sway public opinion in 1998 with his neckbrace and wheelchair drama and all sorts of accusations agains the government then, just imagine the kind of things he can pull off with this government today: a government that can't tell it's ass from its mouth.
And so Anwar has trained his guns now on Dollah Bedawi. It started as soon as he was informed of an impending charge. In a press statement faxed to the media he immediately said that this was a move by a Prime Minister desperate to cling on to power. Here's an excerpt:

"Today the prime minister faces a crisis of confidence. His approval ratings have plummeted since the March elections and senior members of the Barisan Nasional have joined Pakatan Rakyat in droves. The economy under his abysmal management has reached its lowest ebb in decades and all signs point to further weakening.
And just yesterday prominent Umno members have initiated an investigation into his own involvement in corruption and money politics. This is a man under siege - and he sees no way out but to deflect the attention of the Malaysian people with a sham trial against me. He is now burning the forest to save his own tree! I have thus far constrained my criticism of the prime minister to his failed policies and general incompetence in leading the nation. But now it is clear that his vendetta against those who would seek his early dismissal from office knows no boundaries and will transgress all limits of the rule of law. I hold the prime minister personally responsible for the damage that is about to be done to the nation and to the integrity and dignity of the Malays. "

This statement is really quite interesting. First, typically Anwar-esque, it is bloody arrogant. This convicted criminal is saying that a case against Anwar is a case against the people. How is this so? This is not about some social issue. It is not about things we share like the environment or public property or even about anything of public relevance. And please don't say that this case is against the people because it undermines justice and the rule of law. The police have bent over backwards (no pun intended) to ensure that Anwar gets every leverage. Remember that sodomy is an arrestable offence. The suspect can be detained after a report is made against him and remanded pending investigation. But Anwar gets to roam around scot free although he is a suspected sodomite. So if justice and fairness is compromised in this case, it is done so in favour of Anwar.

The fact is this case is about Anwar and the unlawful thing he allegedly did. This case is PERSONAL full stop. It is like any other crime. Anwar's prosecution is not a prosecution of the people. Who the hell died and made him that important? Who made Anwar the representative of the people? Last I checked Permatang Pauh hasn't happened and he hasn't been elected.
But let me not dwell too much on that. He can say whatever he wants to say about how great he thinks he is.

The other interesting thing i find about the article is Anwar's admission that he has thus far laid off Bedawi. Could it be that there was some sort of deal? I think this confirms most political observers' suspicions that a deal was struck between Bedawi and Anwar: That Anwar lays off of Bedawi and his family and instead goes after Najib, and in exchange Bedawi ensures that Anwar gets to prance around freely basically saying anything he damn well pleases to smear Najib. Now that Bedawi has reneged on his promise and allowed the charge to take place, all bets are off, it seems. Why else would Anwar hold the Prime Minister 'personally responsible'? Why not Syed Hamid the Minister in charge of the Police? Why not Najib whom Anwar first lamely attempted to link to the case with just a photo of his accuser at the DPM's office with the Najib's officer? Yes Anwar's guns have certainly shifted. The question is, why?
Third interesting point: Anwar alluded to certain person(s) in the Prime Minister's Office having a direct hand in the decision to charge and prosecute him for sodomy. He said:

"We are also informed that some individuals within the prime minister's
close circles are adamant about pursuing this case. Their involvement further
undermines the credibility of the case and proves that the entire conspiracy
hatched against me is politically motivated. ...This travesty of justice will take place. It will happen with the active support and the criminal involvement of the highest echelons of the police and politicians - including the office of the prime minister."

He made special mention of the Prime Minister's close circle's and the Prime Minister's OFFICE. If this is true, who could those people be? Surely it isn't the person who went over to give him his passport back in 1998? Surely it's not the man who seems to have a direct hand in his release? What angle is Anwar playing at, or as they say in America, where is he going with this?
Whatever it is I'm sure that all will be unveiled as we race towards the great battle of Permatang Pauh. Well maybe the so-called battle is not that great lah. We know, after all, Anwar's odds of winning are huge. But it would be interesting to watch, because I believe for the first time the opposition, led by Anwar, seems to have decided that they are going after Abdullah.
And this is where for the first time ever, I find myself in agreement with Anwar's move. It is right that Permatang Pauh be about Pak Lah Vs. Anwar. It is right that Permatang Pauh should be a referendum of the people of Penang on Abdullah Badawi... for isn't this his home state? isn't Permatang Pauh just next to Kepala Batas? Isn't Pak Lah the UMNO Liaison chief of Penang? Shouldn't he lead the charge in Permatang Pauh to show that he still commands some respect in his home state which he shamefully lost on March 8th 2008? Isn't it only right that this battle is a battle between to giants of Malay poilitics from Penang? Blogger BigDog has a take on this here.
In all probability, the coward that is Bedawi will hide behind tradition and convention (like he did when asking for a peaceful transition of power when it is in fact a ruse to avoid a contest at the UMNO GA) and he will ask DPM Najib to lead the charge as Director of the By -Elections for BN. But even so, even if Najib leads, the issue must remain whether or not the people want Abdullah or they want a new Prime Minister. This is only right. For, indeed, going by what Anwar keeps saying, isn't this a battle between the sitting Prime Minister and and a Prime Minister In Waiting?

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