It was only a speculation a number of days ago with denials all around and on 29 Jan 2014 it was confirmed that Anwar would be contesting the by-election in Kajang following the sudden resignation of the incumbent PKR (People Justice Party) state assemblyman, Lee Chin Cheh.
I suppose the state assemblyman or ADUN has no choice but to resign on the order of his party’s leader, Anwar Ibrahim. It does appear that Lee is nothing but a fawn and the Kajang electorate are nothing but yoked cattle in the political game of high stakes.
Some political bloggers are taken by surprise at this new development: Anwar to replace Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor Menteri Besar (Chief Minister)? Apparently this is the solution by PKR (People Justice Party) to appease the continuing feud between the current MB and the head of PKR Youth, an MP for Gombak and ADUN for Bukit Antarabangsa, Azmin Ali. The latter’s ambition to be the MB following the dual State-Federal election in May in 2013 is public knowledge.
The toxic relationship between the two has finally come to this “irregular” by-election. Yes, irregular because almost all the by-elections in the country are due to deaths of the incumbents. This Kajang one is virtually forced down the peoples’ throat by metaphorically killing off the incumbent.
This manoeuvre is nothing but a manipulation by PKR to elevate Anwar’s status through placing him on a higher pedestal and showing Malaysians his “charismatic leadership” and, as such, a much better leader than Najib in handling crises. UMNO members need to take note of this PKR’s shrewd strategy because they might sink along with their current leader in the next general election.
Khalid, apparently, will only step down if the MB is not Azmin Ali. But according to the latter this is a tactical move to capture Putrajaya in 2018 or earlier. Clearly, this by-election reeks of calculation and manipulation with the express objective of preparing Anwar to become Prime Minister of Malaysia, his coveted post.
By the look of things, and as presently widely predicted, Anwar would win this by-election as PKR is cocksure that the 40% Chinese electorate will solidly remain behind the Selangor state government. The current socio-economic and political situation in the country under a very weak BN leadership are not helping to persuade them to change their support.
Anwar, who is endowed with the gift of the gab, is a far shrewder politician than Najib. Just before this news about him contesting in the Kajang by-election, that was even before we all knew about a potential by-election, he came out publicly offering to have a joint discussion with the ruling BN in efforts to address the rising racial and religious tension vis-a-vis the issue of Allah. He looked really sincere and pulled the carpet right from under the feet of the slow loris, Najib. I was initially quite impressed by his offer to have a consensus on the issue: a leader is one who steps forward to lead, unlike the silent and perceptively, simple-minded Najib.
The posturing was actually part of an opportunistic plan to propel Anwar into the limelight to prepare for the announcement that he would contest the by-election ostensibly to solve the Khalid-Azmin longstanding power struggle.
Anwar at 66 now wants to be the MB of Selangor. It is interesting, to say the least, as he has many disadvantages beside his pending court case on sodomy. We are all waiting to see how the hereditary Head of State would react to this ultimate test of his power of choice of an MB. Recall what happened in Pahang, Perlis and Terengganu where constitutional monarchy is but a faint concept.
Now that Anwar will contest the by-election, we will see who, BN (National Front) will nominate to fight the so-called Pakatan Supremo. Already MCA (the Chinese component party of BN) has staked a claim on the seat despite the party being almost routed in the last election in May 2013. I cannot see the MCA candidate will make any impact as the Chinese are dead set against its political partner, UMNO (United Malay National Organisation), the major component of BN .
The much talked about post-general election reconciliation was only a lip service by PM Najib as virtually nothing concrete was done to realise it; instead the government’s action to reward the Bumiputra for electing BN back to power amid the “Chinese tsunami” so soon after the general election will further fortify the community’s resolve to be with the federal opposition. That is the worst case scenario for BN.
The Kajang’s 50% Malay electorate will continue to be divided. The only compensation, if ever there is one, is for Anwar to win the seat with a reduced majority. That itself will make BN happy. If however, Anwar wins with a bigger majority then, PM Najib, the writing will be on the wall for you because this mother of by-election could well be a test for Najib’s current lacklustre leadership.
Incidentally, will the Kajang electorate realise Anwar’s manipulation and yet go along with it? If they do, then, God would have answered Anwar’s earnest prayer.
By all accounts, let us settle down in our seat and watch this exciting drama with the theme of calculation and manipulation , as it unfolds.