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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Anwar is PM material, says Umno veteran

Sulaiman Kamal | 4:34 PM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin can dismiss Anwar Ibrahim's importance, but a former Cabinet Minister believes "Anwar will remain relevant for a long time.”
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has landed himself an unexpected exponent in the wake of several hard-hitting interviews by self-exiled blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin.
In the interviews Raja Petra had branded Anwar “unfit” to be the next Prime Minister, alluded that Anwar was guilty of the sodomy charge and expressed certainty that Anwar was the man featured in the sex video.
But the waves created by his verbal attacks could very well change direction now that a former Umno Cabinet Minister’s endorsement of Anwar’s suitability as Malaysia’s leader.

Angkatan Amanah Merdeka’s – better known as Amanah – deputy president, Abdul Kadir Sheikh Fadzir, told FMT in an exclusive interview that Anwar has the makings of a “great Malaysian leader”.
“I know Anwar personally and I think he has great leadership qualities,” he said.
“(Former premier) Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) appointed Anwar as his deputy because he obviously wanted Anwar to be the next prime minister.
“Dr Mahathir wouldn’t have done so if he didn’t see exceptional qualities in Anwar. He even made mention of these qualities in his recent book.”
Kadir, who has held six ministerial positions between 1983 to 2005 and who is still an Umno member, however said that the current “complications” that Anwar faced would stand in his way of becoming the country’s next leader.
People are well informed
Yet the truth of those allegations, he added, would be something that the people can and would have to judge for themselves.
“Some would dismiss it as a personal matter. Others would weigh the pros and cons of having leaders who steal billions versus leaders with weaknesses in their personal life. Then they will decide on the better choice,” Kadir said.
Pakatan is hoping that 100,000 people will make their “better choice” known by turning up at the Duta Court on Monday morning when the sodomy trial verdict will be delivered. Various quarters have scoffed at this ambitious figure pointing out that the Bersih 2.0 rally was less than half that number.
Kadir withheld his wager on the potential head count but emphasised that of greater importance is the public’s perception of the judiciary overseeing Anwar’s trial.
“It is very important for our judiciary to be independent and also to be seen as being independent in order to avoid trouble,” he said.
“Times have changed and the people are very well informed.”
“They keep up-to-date on details of the trial and they can read between the lines. So if they feel that the trial has been unfair then they will go to the streets,” he said.
Anwar is not irrelevant
Seeing as a significant number of Malaysians as well as international observers have long deemed the charge and trial a farce, the likelihood of them taking to the streets is a given.
The question is whether they be gathering in support of Anwar or in protest of injustice? It is a question to which Kadir doesn’t have an answer.
“To be honest I really don’t know but I can tell you that Anwar Ibrahim will be in Malaysia’s political scenario for a long, long time.
“Raja Petra may have called him irrelevant but in my opinion, Anwar will remain relevant for a long time,” said Kadir.

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