How Raja Petra lost the plot and became irrelevant

It will not work. In fact what Raja Petra has done in his interview will only harden the entrenched views of those who are going to vote for the Opposition and push the fence-sitters (who were hitherto guarding their wallets and feeding their stomachs) to the arms of the Opposition. There will be a thousand and one ways to use the Raja Petra issue to inflict pain on the BN and it does not require much imagination.

By Matthias Chang

This article will come as a shock to many just as Raja Petra’s interview with the New Sunday Times about Anwar but not for those in the political inside track. To those in charge of propaganda in UMNO, the interview in which Raja Petra let loose his pent-up anger on Anwar is a major propaganda coup that will surely turn the tide against the opposition.

There will be some within the ranks of the Opposition who will be disheartened by this open attack on Anwar by a former “loyalist” and founder of Malaysia-Today. There will be many within the ranks of Barisan Nasional who will consider this exposé as the nail in the Opposition’s coffin and contribute to the success of Barisan Nasional in the next General Election.
But I beg to differ.

Here are my reasons.

When I was the political secretary to Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, I was not a member of any political party and till today, I am still not a member of any political party so as to remain an independent observer and opinion maker. I gave my views, opinions and advice just as a lawyer would to his client, honestly and without fear or favour. I would do my research and give the pros and cons and finally my conclusions and recommendations. I endeavoured to be as objective as possible. It makes no difference to me whether my views, opinions and advice were accepted or not. I gave my best efforts and would move on to the next assignment.

By adopting any other attitude in such a position would result inevitably in a subjective and bias approach to one’s assignment. This was how Vice-President Dick Cheney and his team gathered every morsel of intelligence (regardless of their cogency and veracity) to support the policy of waging war against Iraq. The intelligence collected was to serve a pre-conceived agenda.

So, we have to be very discerning about information, views and “advice” given in such POLITICAL SITUATIONS, as any misjudgment would end up in a fiasco.

Let this be a warning!

It is often quoted in political circles that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend”. Yes, it is true up to a point and would depend on the degree of usefulness of this particular “friend”.

In intelligence work, there is always a lingering doubt whether a “defector” is a genuine defector or a “double agent” – whether he is planting and giving enough intelligence jewels to convince the bait that he is genuine. To understand the mindset of such a person, his motive is all important. We should not be easily taken in by the information / propaganda jewels given on a silver platter. There are no free lunches. Everything has a price and consequences.

To those who take the views of Raja Petra seriously, have you asked one critical question: What caused the “fallout” between Raja Petra and Anwar? Do you really know about this “fallout”?

Why was Raja Petra not a member of Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)? Or was he? If he is not a member of the party, why is he trying to dictate the composition of leadership of PKR even to the extent of supporting a maverick and a political frog in the person of Zaid Ibrahim, who resigned as the Law Minister and UMNO member to vie for the leadership of PKR? What locus standi has Raja Petra to interfere in the internal affairs of PKR?

Why is he questioning the leadership of DAP and PAS in their support for Anwar? Is Raja Petra really acting in the interest of the Barisan Nasional? What is the ultimate role of the so-called “Civil Liberties Movement” (more commonly referred to as the “third force”)?

Can Raja Petra and the so-called “third force” dictate how a party (whether in the Barisan Nasional or the Pakatan Rakyat coalition) selects the candidates for an election when they are not subject to any party discipline and or adhere to the party’s policies?

Raja Petra is even willing to offer the so-called “electable candidates” of the “third force” to any party who is willing to subscribe to his agenda / policies. Therefore, what is his agenda???

So, before Barisan Nasional embraces Raja Petra and the so-called “third force” so eagerly, it should adopt a wary stance for what is on offer may well be a poison chalice! There may be more than meets the eye.

Differences in a political party are normal. It is part of the democratic process of any party and Raja Petra has always demanded such freedom within the Opposition parties. Yet, he highlights differences of minor players within the ranks of the Opposition parties and exaggerates the implications on the basis that this is the view of the voters.

What voters does Raja Petra or the “third force” represent? Who are these voters?

In 2010, Raja Petra announced that he has thirty “electable candidates” that will stand in the next General Election and will provide their names every week or so. But what happened? Other than giving two names (I stand to be corrected on this) and even if it may be more than two, he certainly did not deliver the thirty names.

Another question that needs an urgent answer – not being a PKR member, how did he end up collaborating with Zaid Ibrahim and supporting his candidacy for Deputy President against Azmin Ali? And when Zaid Ibrahim lost the battle and abandoned the party, Raja Petra went ballistics! Why? Wayang Kulit (shadow play)?

Is Raja Petra “a man who has lost the plot” or something else?

After Raja Petra’s interview with TV3, just before the Sawarak State Election, he lost all credibility in the eyes of the voters who supported the opposition. DAP did rather well notwithstanding the interview. He then gave an elaborate explanation on how he was misquoted etc. He fell for the bait of having publicity on prime time television – an ego trip, and lost big time! His followers abandoned him.

Now, he gives an interview timed just before the High Court’s judgment on Sodomy II fixed for the 9th January 2012. Why?

So many questions, but so few answers! He claims that he wants clarity and focus on critical issues, but his actions muddy further the already polluted waters. That he needs another constituency to survive and to reap the political harvest in the next General Election from whichever political coalition willing to pay his political ransom is all too clear. So he comes bearing gifts to the Prime Minister and Barisan Nasional as a teaser and prelude to extract the ultimate political ransom.

The trillion dollar question: Why is Raja Petra bearing gifts to Barisan Nasional? But he says that he still supports the Opposition. Is he playing both sides? If he is, and gets away with it, he is indeed a political fiddler par excellence.

In my previous article, “Malaysia – 2012, National Suicide or A New Paradigm”, I had warned that the next General Election will be a “no-holds-barred” political slug fest and it will be ugly. Post-2008, no one can take for granted that the voters would be as gullible as pre-2008. On the contrary, they are more informed and discerning and can see through the fog of the political war.

In the past, such an interview by a former “loyalist” may be the ruin of a political leader, but not this time, as Raja Petra is not the first and will not be the last “loyalist” that will lambast the leader of the Opposition. Prior to Raja Petra, there was Ezam Mohd Nor, one-time “loyal supporter” of Anwar. But Anwar survived this fallout and it is Ezam who has now become irrelevant. I believe that Anwar will survive Raja Petra’s attacks and in due course, Raja Petra will also become irrelevant. Raja Petra is a desperate man and we must all be on guard against such a desperado.

That is why it is so dangerous to assume that this attack by Raja Petra will be the end of Anwar and that this will assist Barisan Nasional to triumph in the next General Election. This would be a gross miscalculation and if Barisan Nasional formulates its strategy on these lines, Prime Minister Najib will definitely be a one-term leader.

Why do I say this?

People are sick and fed-up of the Sodomy II case, not because as alleged by Raja Petra that Anwar dragged on the case, but because the majority of the people have already made up their mind that Anwar is innocent and this is a sham trial to lynch Anwar and bury him once and for all. It matters not whether you agree with this perception or conclusion. But this is the reality. If Sodomy I could not kill Anwar, how can Sodomy II and the other stupid pornographic video bury Anwar?

Anwar went to jail after Sodomy I and came out even stronger and more resilient. Even if Raja Petra says that it is Anwar in the said pornographic video, is he an expert? As far as the people are concerned, Sodomy II is another episode of gutter politics. This is the bloody reality! They are fed-up and disgusted with the way this has been used against Anwar.

I was told once by a political leader that after Sodomy I, the country will not tolerate another sodomy trial against any politician as a means to end his political career.

So, I question Raja Petra’s accusations and allegations against Anwar at this particular juncture. Who will be the ultimate beneficiary of his tirade against Anwar?

Just as Hasan Ali is toxic to PAS members and to many Chinese and Christians who are now supporting PAS and are no longer afraid of Islam, Raja Petra is equally toxic to those in PKR and DAP and those Chinese and Indians who are supporting PKR and DAP. Nothing will change their minds because they are riled by the perceived abuse of power by the leaders of Barisan Nasional and the contradictions and inconsistencies of the BN policies, the various flip-flops.

Anger has now turned into contempt. And we are talking about the conservative middle-class. This is another reality. I am only the messenger. You may not want to agree or accept this reality. But the fact remains that many people have this mindset. Period!

I would caution the BN to be wary and not embrace Raja Petra too readily. He is toxic like the financial derivatives that almost destroyed the global financial system in the 2007 / 2008 financial tsunami!

In my view, the granting of two full-page of Raja Petra’s propaganda in the New Sunday Times and the Malay mass-media is a desperate attempt by Barisan Nasional to deflect the attention from the various scandals afflicting the BN to Anwar’s Sodomy II trial.

It will not work. In fact what Raja Petra has done in his interview will only harden the entrenched views of those who are going to vote for the Opposition and push the fence-sitters (who were hitherto guarding their wallets and feeding their stomachs) to the arms of the Opposition. There will be a thousand and one ways to use the Raja Petra issue to inflict pain on the BN and it does not require much imagination.

Do you know what decent apolitical families are saying? They have been saying and continue to say, “How can these people be so cruel to inflict so much pain on Anwar’s family?”

You may well consider this view as being superficial and subjective, but can you rid this perception from the people? Raja Petra in his personal vendetta against Anwar for whatever wrong, real or perceived, that Anwar has done to him, has revealed a side of his character that has not been revealed to his supporters all these years – vindictiveness over political differences. And this is an insecure and dangerous trait.

Raja Petra and his family have suffered tremendously for his political beliefs and views and I sympathise and admire his tenacity for enduring such hardships. But, I cannot allow personal sentiments to cloud my judgment.

Raja Petra has demanded that truth be told. I say that if truth be told, Raja Petra has lost the plot and has become a victim of his own vindictiveness. He is not a leader that can be respected or entrusted to change the country as he professes to do so.

Raja Petra may not be too happy reading this article and his band may well mount a counter-attack on me. But it matters not, for in the past, his band has maligned me with profanities instead of debating the issues raised by me in a mature way in his website. What else can they do after they have called me: “Mahathir’s barking dog”, “Mahathir’s crony”, “bastard”, “M#@*%@ F#@*%#”, “scumbag” etc.

Let’s gather our thoughts on the so-called Civil Liberties Movement (the “Third Force”) and its agenda. I have no doubt that there are many genuine people who want to better the country and have indeed made tremendous sacrifices and are willing to follow Raja Petra as the pied-piper.

But, do they know Raja Petra’s ultimate agenda?

Let me summarise for you. It is quite simple. His ambition is to hold the balance of power in Parliament in the event of a Hung Parliament and leverage to the hilt whichever political coalition that is willing to pay the political ransom demanded.

The essence of his ambition is power. Let’s not kid ourselves. Politicians do not venture into politics for altruistic ideals. They want power to fulfill their ambitions. If the country is fortunate, she may from time to time have a politician who does good for the country, but there are far and few.

Yes, I agree that Nelson Mandela is one of the few. Raja Petra does not think that Anwar, Najib, etc. belong to that category. But neither is Raja Petra!

Let us not be distracted by personalities and exaggerated egos across the political divide. We have enough of them. Let us focus on those who can unite our country and lead us to greater heights of excellence and by 2020 to be a developed nation for a start.