The big BN gamble

(The Malaysian Mirror) How do the odds stack up?  Has Umno gambled wisely or foolishly?

KUALA LUMPUR – Why would a person gamble? Putting aside those who gamble for the thrill of it, to gain something the fast and easy way without having to work hard for it is one answer.

The act of gambling means there is a chance of something to gain the easy way and something to lose as the outcome is beyond one’s direct control. But it need not be left entirely to lady luck as an appraisal of the odds will determine if one is a wise gambler or a foolish one.

What does gambling have to do with BN? Well, this how many describe BN’s or specifically Umno’s  bid to put Anwar Ibrahim behind bars for a second time on another charge of sodomy. And pehaps, it is the most concise description. 

casino.pngTo some, it is a high-stakes gamble because they could neutralize Pakatan Rakyat without having to carry out any painful reforms at all, which could well lose them their throne.

But how do the odds stack up?  Has Umno gambled wisely or foolishly? Let’s examine.

Will PR break up without Anwar

Naturally, Umno hopes that by removing Anwar from the political scene, PR will break apart without him to provide the glue to hold the parties together.

Anwar continues to play an important diplomatic role between the parties. His ability to get the partners to sit down together to thrash out sticky problems and come out with a joint consensus is legendary. It may have saved PR when Umno was aggressively courting PAS over unity talks.

But would PR break up without Anwar? In the early days, may be. But as time passes, PR has shown remarkable resilience in staying together.

No doubt PR was formed with Anwar’s political skills, but it has now grown beyond one man’s personality and may no longer require his personal involvement either.

With each crisis that it overcomes, the coalition has become stronger. It may have now passed the critical newborn stage where survival depended on a nurturing mother.

For example, the PAS-DAP crisis in Kedah over the demolition of a pig abattoir was resolved by DAP national leaders talking directly to PAS Kedah leaders without Anwar having to intercede.

Selangor’s Mentri Besar Khalid Ibrahim has proved himself capable of being able to contain and diffuse numerous controversies involving PAS-DAP without Anwar having to step in.

Giving the enemy a lift to Putrajaya

Yet what may seem like a blatant injustice to Anwar supporters may well be just what the PR component parties need to rally around and further forget their differences. It is actually a good stand for them to unite behind and to  reinforce their common distaste for the BN.

Therefore, Umno should tread carefully. When an action intended to weaken the opposition turns out that it may actually strengthen them instead, it is certainly time to pause and reconnoiter.

There is also another reason why a PR without Anwar may be even more united and willing to commit to each other.

With Anwar’s incarceration the Moghul splendor of Putrajaya – a distant dot a year ago – suddenly begins to appear tantalizingly near.

Because sending Anwar to jail on what most Malaysians perceive to be trumped-up sodomy charges will galvanize public opinion against BN.

Read more at: The big BN gamble