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Friday, September 2, 2011

Anwar, a step closer to being the next PM despite jail and death threats

Sulaiman Kamal | 5:45 PM | | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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There is a penchant for controversies in this country. Every little thing can be blown out of proportion. Every little statement, every little misplaced word can be used against you, especially if you are with the Opposition. It only needs the mainstream media or MSM to publicize it, and everyone goes into a frenzy, debating it.
Lately, PAS leader Mat Sabu’s speech in Penang has caused a commotion in the country. At least 49 police reports were made and BN leaders rose in unison to condemn his speech. The police now want to question him and the Deputy Prime Minister Muhyddin Yassin has urged him to 'repent' and 'stop telling lies'. But despite the drama, give it another month, and nobody will recall anymore what Mat Sabu allegedly said.
The same with the ‘Allah’ issue, the Malay Bibles issue and the Christian prime minister row. All these came with a bang and went with a whimper.

All-out efforts to scald Anwar
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim's purported involvement with a sex video was much juicier. The Datuk T sex video set more tongues wagging than all the other incidents combined. The trio were finally charged, although let off with a slap on the wrist.
Yet till today, the government is still trying to insinuate Anwar was guilty, although to the public, it appears to be another botched effort to tar the Opposition Leader. Hardly anyone talks about the sex video anymore except to shake their heads and condemn the corrupt UMNO culture accused of spawning it.
Then, the chilling expose’ by former US Ambassador to Malaysia John Malott confirmed the suspicions held by most Malaysians.
Malott told of a plot to politically kill Anwar, and how Prime Minister Najib Razak's close aide Razak Baginda had leaked to a senior Embassy officer, “The decision has been made. They are going to “nuke Anwar until he can never stand up again politically.”
A senior officer in the Special Branch separately also told US officials, “We are going to keep filing charge after charge after Anwar so he will be in jail for the next 100 years.”
Still head and shoulders above his rivals
Yet today, Anwar is still standing.
He may be worse for wear and tied up with the second-round sodomy charges pressed by Najib's government, allegedly to keep him from making a political comeback to challenge them.  But make no mistake, the 64-year-old Anwar is now resurgent, while his 58-year-old arch enemy and betrayer, Najib Razak, has been slipping. The latest opinion poll shocked everyone when it reported Najib's popularity had plunged 6 percentage points to 59 percent over a mere three-month period.
This is the game called credibility, a rise-and-fall rollercoaster that only the hardiest can survive. It is also something that UMNO and all new politicians should learn. And there are no better lessons than from the Anwar versus Najib and Anwar versus Mahathir sagas of 2008 and 1998.
True credbility will outlast all controversies, real or stirred. And no amount of expensive public relations can ever right the wrong of false credibility, due to inherent hypocrisy and insincerity.
Despite having the upperhand and all the power that comes with office, Najib failed and is on the point of being removed from the UMNO presidency by his own party mates including Muhyiddin. Why? Because Najib has failed to perform his tasks well and worse still, he frequently reneged on his promises to the people - from the New Economic Model to the Teoh Beng Hock deathfall and the latest Bersih 2.0 rally.
Whereas Anwar, despite the typhoons and hurricanes wrought by Sodomy II and the Datuk T sex video, has stood firm on his stated policies. He has shown the right decorum, dignity, enormous courage and stupendous fighting spirit. It is little wonder that despite facing jail even though the sodomy charges may be manifestly trumped-up, Anwar is now within striking distance of becoming the next Prime Minister of Malaysia after GE-13.
Next PM, a real possibility
There is little doubt that Anwar's fame continues to grow. Support for him from overseas, always strong, is growing stronger and it is not only from the West but also the East. It is easy to associate Anwar with the Arab Spring citizen rebellions against despotic regimes like the newly-fallen Gaddaffi in Libya, Mubarak in Egypt and Ben Ali in Tunisia, which in turn can be equated to the UMNO-BN leadership.
And this is another reason why Najib and UMNO are so afraid of his charisma that despite knowing there may be a huge voter backlash from jailing him, they feel desperate enough to want to lock him up and throw away the key. Once the darling of the Malay community, it won't be difficult for Anwar to swing the Malays back to his fold and they are already looking at him for leadership, despite the daily attacks by the MSM.
Make no mistake, a conviction in the Sodomy II trial will complete Anwar's detour from the top rungs of power. A jail sentence will make him an even greater hero to the people and may spark the popular uprising that UMNO fears the most, in particular his nemesis Mahathir Mohamad and current closest rival for the PM's post, Muhyiddin Yassin.
Anwar-phobia in UMNO
Meanwhile, within UMNO, Anwar-phobia continues to grow at an alarming rate. Those afflicted are panicked, even running wild, and can hardly wait to bury him one way or another. His presence continues to give them sleepless nights.
This is also why Anwar must now take especial care of his safety. When it becomes more obvious that loss in GE-13 is inevitable, UMNO knives will come whizzing for Anwar. Already, he and his family have been the target of death threats. The most recent and shocking one took place on July 9, where a visibly shaken Anwar was directly fired at by police officers with tear gas canisters during the Bersih rally.
UMNO's Anwar-phobia peaked ahead of the 2008 Permatang Pauh by-election, which Anwar won despite the federal government suddenly cutting petrol prices, ordering ACA raids on the Perak Pakatan government, and the emergence of the Sodomy II accusations.
From being a visiting professor, Anwar had decided to turn into a full-time Opposition Leader. And this is why he also suddenly became public enemy No 1. When he tried to engineer a quick takeover of the federal government with the September 16 defections and failed, that gave UMNO the opportunity to strike at him even harder.
Desperate times and keeping safe
Now, a flailing Najib is trying all ways and means to bluster his way through. But really, his first line of defense should be against his own comrades in UMNO rather than Anwar.
Be that as it may, Najib reckons that if he can snuff out Anwar's influence, he may just be able to regain favour with the UMNO warlords and trump his own deputy Muhyiddin at the 11th hour.
Perhaps, this is why of all places, Najib chose Permatang Pauh as the venue for his PM's 1Malaysia Aidilfitri open house celebration. Surely, there cannot be a more classic case of Anwar-phobia than this, despite Information minister Rais Yatim insisting there was no 'ulterior' motive.
As for Anwar, it cannot be said often enough that he really needs to make sure he and his family are physically safe. Desperate times are around the corner for Malaysia.

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