Wednesday, August 20, 2014

SELANGOR CRISIS: ANWAR, SEND IN THE CLOWNS

It’s the ‘other half’ of Chinese votes Hadi is after. 
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Raggie Jessy
This past few weeks, we witnessed many an expert proffering forecasts with strokes of ingenuity that put a myriad of spins on Selangor’s state of affairs. Prominent lawyers partook in the free for all, offering analyses that numbered as many as there were interpreters. All said and done, the essence to Selangor’s power tussle has been gravely misrepresented, either in deliberation or simply due to the pursuance of fame by pundit wannabes.
I chose to remain relatively silent on the issue; there wasn’t much left to be said. But before drawing the punch line in my last article, I hinted of mediations between Khalid and disgruntled Pakatan assemblymen who were anticipating manoeuvres towards checkmating Anwar. As much as that seems off-the-wall, such are talks that Anwar may yet be in for an inconvenient surprise.
But perhaps, we’ll thrash out prospects by asking ourselves the right questions:
1. Has PAS lost its Appeal?
Yes, it has.
While some within the party’s leadership got waylaid by a conniving band of PKR and DAP tricksters into compliance, many aren’t aware why Hadi eventually traded his support for Khalid with Azizah, or for that matter, Azmin. But to anticipate PAS’s proliferation is to understand the Chinese electorate within a Malaysian context. All said, much of what I dwell on henceforth has been published some months back.
Now, the British left us with a shitload of social issues by devising economic polarity, which they knew would burgeon into an inevitable crisis of sorts. Mahathir, who took over the reins of government from Hussein Onn, advocated a Malaysian race within the framework of the social contract. For a time, there seemed to be peace and stability, but for a time only.
Mahathir’s successor, Abdullah Badawi, went on to experiment with an idealistic variant of liberalism as he granted leeway to local media, a move he probably perceived would resonate well with an electorate weary of Mahathirism. But his gesture merely unlocked doors towards abuse of liberties, delivering Kit Siang an opportunity to infuse social media with his band of vile cybertroopers who distorted truth with confabulations and ambiguity that shrouded public perception on many levels. Seven years on, and Kit Siang has turned enough lies into adages that has the Chinese up in arms against UMNO.
But DAP never made strides before 2008; its roller-coaster political ride included a face-off with Lim Chong Eu’s GERAKAN in 1968, where a young Kit Siang failed miserably in his bid to springboard his political career from Serdang while he played down the Malays and the social contract. But his racist slants redefined communal articles of faith irrevocably, severely impairing prospects of racial unification on a nationalistic scale. This became evident in commerce, when, despite a Chinese eclipse, the community feverishly clung on to their portion of the pie, wanting more as they set aside nation building in favour of capitalistic gains.
Anwar’s sacking from UMNO presented to Kit Siang a breather in turning the tables to his favour, drawing in Chinese youth on the pretext of ‘reformasi’. The next generation of adulterated Chinese weren’t really enticed by Anwar’s charisma, nor did they give two hoots to his sodomy convictions. No, they cashed in on Kit Siang’s Irish bull and envisioned a government that was rid off BN and particularly, UMNO, who they believed would never loosen its grip on Malay rights. And they believed Kit Siang to be the guy to pull it off. A DAP-Anwar marriage in 2004 was enough to convince GERAKAN advocates that the grass was truly greener in Kit Siang’s backyard.
That’s right; it was Anwar all along, and not PKR, who played Pipe Piper and drove in Chinese by the hordes into a stream of deception. Anwar was to Pakatan Rakyat what the Sultan is to Selangor; people merely listened to Kit Siang because he had his hands firmly clutched on Anwar’s shoulder. But the PKR de-facto leader has since lost his appeal, and has gradually been relegated a sitting duck for Pakatan Rakyat dissenters to vent their frustrations on.
Now, Hadi had read the writings on the wall; he was well aware of Anwar’s dwindling support from an increasingly cheesed off electorate. Anwar’s goose got simmered in Kajang, when he failed to muster numbers capable of resonating with his 505 rallies. Such were sentiments that Wan Azizah was pegged several notches beneath her predecessor (Lee Chin Cheh), an ordinary PKR member, who managed a chunkier majority back in 2013. Though victorious, the PKR president set Pakatan Rakyat several years back, with results pointing towards a Chinese swing back to MCA. In the event of snap elections, Selangorians are likely to turn up the heat several notches beyond allowable limits to roast Anwar’s goose.
If anything, a significant faction to Selangor’s populace seems to be milking on Khalid’s resurrection. So, why didn’t Hadi stick to his guns?
Well, he could have. Hadi could have played ball with Khalid on Anwar’s turf, by coming to terms on an alternate front comprising PAS and a Khalid-led party. Both Khalid and Hadi could then have borne the ark of a covenant, paving the way for a third force to supersede Selangor’s Pakatan Rakyat. Now, disgruntled minorities from within PAS’s leadership clutter would probably have conceded to the demands of the Syura Council should Hadi have remained adamant. After all, ditching PAS for a PKR membership was never a PAS thing, leaving malcontents little choice but to toe the line with Hadi.
But a Khalid-PAS pact wouldn’t have mustered the Chinese support Anwar garnered in 2004 following his release from prison, simply because PAS isn’t a Chinese chauvinist party. The Chinese are already split; pro-Khalid supporters are ready to vouch for Khalid and everything he stands for. But yet, they’re reluctant to place their eggs in PAS’s Hudud basket, and would probably compromise by delivering MCA some votes in the event of snap polls.
Now, staging an ‘Azizah’ would undoubtedly deliver to PAS the ‘other half’ of Chinese votes, and in the process, chisel a considerable number of Malay loyalists from scorecards. Effectively, PAS will lose a hefty chunk of its’ independent lifeline’, i.e., votes it could garner without having to cling on either to PKR or DAP. But Malay votes couldn’t have delivered PAS a victory in any single constituency either way. Thus, it’s the ‘other half’ of Chinese votes Hadi is after.
You see, PAS has effectively abandoned its moral principles, defecting against its own Syura Council, by favouring the need to retain power in Selangor. Well, so much for a party that claims to champion Islam and the word of God.
2. Will Khalid form a new party?
If he has any sense, he would. And Khalid isn’t your average PKR dunderhead.
Now, I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again; the likelihood of Khalid remaining an independent is wafer thin. However, a PAS membership is no longer in the stack, given Hadi’s predilection for risk-free endeavours. Effectively, Hadi is standing at daggers drawn against Ulamas within the fold, regardless what they tell you in pro-opposition editorials.
There’s more; the Sultan’s absence isn’t mere coincidence. It offers a breather for Khalid to manoeuvre circumstances. In essence, what had transpired within PAS on Sunday was anticipated by Khalid and possibly, the Sultan, the minute Anwar cried ‘Azizah’.
The embattled MB isn’t one to call it quits. No, he hasn’t much to lose by persisting with his brand of ‘reformasi’, which includes the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly. After all, Khalid is already at rock bottom, as far as Anwar and Kit Siang go. As it were, Khalid is negotiating a new party with Pakatan non-conformists, who stood jolted by Hadi’s apparent u-turn. Forget the pledge by 30 assemblymen; they hadn’t much of a choice when penning their approval in a typical do-or-die fashion.
But remember; the Chinese will only stand up for Khalid should his party have the clout to upstage both MCA and DAP. In simpler terms, Khalid would have to negotiate a significant Chinese presence within ‘parti Khalid’, while delivering a 1Malaysia overtone that would render his party potent against Najib’s administration. And that’s precisely the direction Khalid seems to be heading.
3. What about the pledge by the 30 assemblymen?
Yes, what of it?
Some disgruntled assemblymen and Pakatan members are likely to abandon ship for ‘Khalid’s ark’, one that will inevitably weather Selangor’s rough seas. They couldn’t before; a vote for Khalid would have had them walking the plank, with political tides choppy enough to drown their careers altogether.
But they would, if Khalid served them an alternative platform to springboard their political careers from while pointing canons at Anwar. Their statutory declarations ought to be a representation of commitments at the time of declaration, in their capacities as Pakatan assemblymen. In a manner of putting it, the pledge may yet be non-binding.
You see, they can turn their backs to Wan Azizah from ‘parti Khalid’, while delivering her and her endeared hubby the third finger. Circumstances change, and it remains their constitutional prerogative to deliver a difference in opinion based on developments. They could proceed to sign a new declaration that affirms their sincerity whilst signing the first, and proceed to renew their pledge in favour of Khalid. That remains a manifest possibility.
All in all, the joke’s likely on Anwar. Perhaps, it’s time he called in the clowns.

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