Prime-minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim must realise one thing. Nothing in politics is set in stone. He may have been promised the premiership, but the Port Dickson farce is an own goal and a perfect display of impatience.
By parachuting himself into Port Dickson, he revealed a nasty trait – his sense of entitlement. When we criticise the ‘PD Move’, his inner circle screams, “It is Anwar’s right to be prime minister.”
Then came the disturbing statement from his wife, Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who asked what the problem is if she, her husband and her daughter are in government. Running to her father’s defence, Nurul Izzah Anwar also said: “What is the issue? I thought we were voted in by the people?”
The ‘PD Move’ is not illegal, but it is unethical, especially at a time when we are desperate for politicians to act with integrity. All the justification for this farcical move will only increase his unpopularity, and his dynasty will attract pity and more ridicule.
After his release on May 16, he said, “I’ll be taking time off to give a series of talks, in Harvard, Georgetown and a few Muslim countries.” These promises turned out to be like the morning mists on the hills, vaporising with the intense heat of the sun.
Anwar is used to being in the limelight. Wherever he goes, the press pack follows, while his supporters guard him against any intrusion.
Yes, he is a good orator, often name-dropping along the way, saying that he is a friend of Al Gore, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other world leaders – even if the latter is not exactly a pleasant person!
Anwar’s speeches may bewilder the ordinary man in the street and may sound impressive. Littered with Quranic quotes, presumably to show his expansive religious knowledge, they are more of a distraction, as people are more keen on his message.
Yes, we supported his release from prison. He suffered an injustice and he was incarcerated for political reasons, but we would have offered the same support, to any other person, even former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak, if he had been unjustly victimised. Malaysians have a strong moral code and a sense of justice.
Yes, we are grateful to Anwar for initiating the Reformasi movement. Since the first spark of reform was lit 20 years ago, Malaysians are more circumspect, critical and less fearful of the authorities. Now, we do not act like sheep, ready for slaughter.
Yes, Anwar opened our minds, our eyes and our mouths. When he related his suffering, he inspired us to uphold the truth and fight for the rule of law.
So why did he contemplate the Port Dickson farce? If Anwar, his wife, his daughter, his inner circle and his supporters cannot see anything wrong, then how can the nation trust them to lead us in the future?
For 61 years, we suffered from politicians who lacked integrity and any code of ethics. Malaysians were reluctant to criticise. They closed one eye. Our apathy emboldened politicians like Najib. Undeterred, he morphed into a kleptocrat because few bothered to stop him.
The Port Dickson farce reflects on the whole party, not just Anwar. If other political dynasties are viewed with contempt, why should Anwar and his family dismiss our concerns, and carry on regardless with the ‘PD Move’?
Their inner circle did things by stealth. Top PKR politicians have revealed the lack of transparency about Port Dickson. PKR is being likened to an Umno-Baru party in the making.
And with Port Dickson MP Danyal Balagopal Abdullah denying that he betrayed his electorate with his retirement, how can we trust future MPs?
Even the much respected Ambiga Sreenevasan joined the increasing chorus of dissent, and described the ‘PD Move’ as a “disservice to the people.”
Anwar talks about reforms, but has omitted to list his. The government is committed to reforms and as far as we are aware, are acting on these, admittedly too slowly for us. Does Anwar think MPs are incapable and that only he can speed them along?
With the Islamisation and Arabisation in Malaysia, we would like Anwar’s views on the nation’s Islamist agenda. He carefully omitted this in his Malaysia Day message.
Many Muslim leaders fear the wrath of the Muslim electorate and will keep silent on some contentious issues. What use is a Muslim politician who thinks more of his political future than serving the rakyat’s needs?
The right time
Wan Azizah stressed that now was the right time for Anwar to return as an MP, after being denied his rights. “He has been imprisoned for 10, 11 years, so who is talking about being patient?”
Haven’t Malaysians also waited patiently for 61 years? In wanting change, many, like Anwar, were beaten, in prison, and sacrificed their freedom. A few lost their lives, all in the name of democracy.
So, who is Wan Azizah to patronise us? She clung firmly to her seat, and denied the electorate in Port Dickson, a garrison town of many ex-servicemen, proper representation by their own elected MP. True, she was elected by the people in her own constituency of Pandan, but she should have put a stop to the Port Dickson farce.
Hence, it is difficult to reconcile her outburst against critics, and her silence when Anwar said that she would vacate her position when he becomes prime minister.
All the time, we assumed that she was empowered to fight for the rights of Malaysian women, especially Muslim women. Now we know that she is just another good, obedient, and dutiful Malay wife, who will do as she is told.
The arrogance and sense of entitlement of the Anwar clan is not acceptable in the new Malaysia.