Anwar approached Ku Li after Sept 16 flop, says leaked cable

(The Malaysian Insider) – The spectacular failure of his September 16, 2008 takeover bid did not deter Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim from continuing attempts to claim Putrajaya through crossovers, as he sought to entice Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah even after the public flop, a leaked US diplomatic cable has said.

The cable added that Anwar’s efforts were “inconclusive” as the Kelantan prince was said to be eyeing the prime minister’s spot personally.

In the cable, US ambassador James R. Keith told his government that the opposition leader had only altered his tone but not his goal nor his tactics, and had even stayed in contact with then prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi through Khairy Jamaluddin before Datuk Seri Najib Razak took over in 2009.

PKR party leaders Chua Tian Chang (Tian Chua) and R. Sivarasa purportedly confirmed this when met by “polcouns”, or political counsellors, separately in November 3 and 5, believed to be in 2008, but added that their leader had relaxed his pace to a “lower key approach” after his failed September 16 plan.

“The prime minister’s circle — through Khairy — has approached Anwar regarding support for judicial reform measures that would be presented in Parliament soon as part of Abdullah’s parting legacy, according to Sivarasa and Tian Chua.

“The opposition, however, was unlikely to support these measures because they did not represent meaningful changes,” said the cable, leaked by whistleblower site WikiLeaks through the Malaysia Today news portal today.

Keith also said that Anwar had lost significant political momentum after the debacle but PKR planned to recoup its losses by finding ways to weaken the new administration, to be helmed by Najib in April 2009, with scandals like the murder of Mongolian model Altantuya Shaariibuu and the Eurocopter aircraft purchase.

“The time horizon has shifted from December to March 2009, in line with the shift in the Umno party elections, at which time Najib is set to become Umno president uncontested,” Keith said.

He added that without sufficient ethnic Malay support, Anwar had banked his hopes on attracting Umno crossovers through approaching “losers” in the transition between Abdullah and Najib, namely Tengku Razaleigh or “Ku Li”, who was at the time the sole challenger to Najib’s impending Umno presidency.