RPK the Benedict Arnold? Think Again.


Having met RPK fleetingly on a few occasions, I cannot claim to know him personally. I probably know his wife better if only for the couple of conversations I shared with her about her role as spouse and soul mate of the man that is RPK.

RPK’s latest shenanigan has invoked much anger among those who hope for positive political and social change in Malaysia. I think this is mainly out of fear and uncertainty that somehow his latest tirade will upset the apple cart and consequence in BN renewing its mandate. For all we know, this might well happen.

However, I would rather think that RPK has up the ante for Anwar and PKR for all their transgressions and omissions since March 2008. Anwar has not shown himself to be a visionary leader that we yearn for but continues to play on opposition sentiments for ABU-BN. PKR in turn remains haunted by controversy and that hard-to-shake label as a party of BN also-rans. Notice that RPK is just training his guns on only Anwar, PKR and Selangor with nothing on PAS, DAP nor Kelantan, Kedah and Penang.

What RPK said in the last few days is nothing new and I dare say they are even things that are at the tongue tips of many of Anwar’s PR colleagues. My observation is premised on the fact that no one from PAS or DAP has weighed in with violent defence of Anwar against RPK’s allegations. The silence reverberates.

How has RPK raised the ante for Anwar and PKR? Well, for starters Anwar (and I mean also PKR) can no longer be passive and merely depend on sentiments to drive their political ambitions forward. I heard his speech at the Kelana Jaya Stadium rally the few days before what was to be All Frogs Day on 16th September 2008 and went away wanting. Anwar remains the same Anwar today. It is ok to continue hammering on BN faults but the chameleon that is Anwar has never cast in stone exactly what he will do to make Malaysian society truly plural, inclusive and progressive. In most of his speeches he has not even emphasized the ideals and commitments of the PR Buku Jingga which at the end of the day is all too easy to subvert. Have all PR component parties reaffirmed their commitment to Zaid’s Common Policy Platform? There are those who say it is not Zaid’s. All it needs is for a split in PR for things to revert to BN style race politics. Go ask the likes of Hasan Ali and Nasharuddin Mat Isa. There are no concrete plans but mere rhetoric. Google and prove me wrong.

Second is that he has openly brought Anwar’s image down a few pegs and made Malaysians confront the real possibility of Malaysian opposition politics without Anwar. Suddenly, other options become realistic if not more palatable. Is Anwar really the only semen-ting factor (pun intended) uniting PR component parties?