What comes first for Anwar?

Is it the reformist agenda he has touted all this while or him being the prime minister courtesy of Lajim Ukin and Taib Mahmud?


Today we ask ourselves what is the responsible way to vote while our politicians are still focused on retaining or taking power by doing whatever is necessary to do so.

We know that politics is not a job for life but judging from Barisan Nasional’s tenure in office, it can be a highly lucrative vocation. How goes Pakatan Rakyat against an embattled Umno?

Umno has its fixed deposit votes: the Malay votes, the rural votes, the votes from the armed forces, the “religious factor” votes, the “pendatang” votes, the “I scratch your back, you scratch mine back” votes and, of course, there is their impregnable fortress – Johor.

Everything that money can buy, Umno already has. Pakatan has to earn every single vote it takes take from Umno.

Pakatan may have their “diehard” and “berani mati ABU” supporters, but they are cancelled out many times over by BN diehard supporters.

Pakatan has no vote bank worth talking about. What it has is the goodwill of Malaysians who are hopeful that the reformist agenda it espoused will be implemented once it is in government.

This enlightened but volatile group makes up 40% of the electorate. In the main, they are young adults, newly eligible voters, the urbanites and the educated. Their weapon of choice is the Internet and their intellect.

Their votes are crucial and will decide who will form government after this 13th general election. The challenge of securing their patronage and allegiance is still a work in progress for BN and Pakatan.

Anwar’s politics in Sabah, Sarawak

Saudara Anwar Ibrahim, let us recap. Pakatan’s agenda is to reform. It means to make changes in something (typically a social, political or economic institution or practice) in order to improve it. The operative words are “change” and “improve”.

I have watched with trepidation the opposition leader’s flirtation with Sabah’s veteran politician Lajim Ukin. I do not know Lajim as well as I know Anwar but yet I do know something of Lajim.

What Anwar, Najib and Lajim know about the politics in Sabah would be “interesting”, to say the least.

For now, I will give Anwar the benefit of the doubt in as far as Lajim is concerned.

The benefit that I give Anwar is because I want to think that he is “talking” to Lajim because he has promised change and reforms. And Lajim, being the wily old fox that he is, knows that the people of Sabah wants change and reform too.

But here is where the “doubt” starts. I hope Anwar’s talk with Lajim is not in the “I scratch your back and you scratch mine” format. We know that will be Najib’s approach for he knows of no other. That is Sabah.

And now it would seem that in Sarawak, Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and Anwar are also holding each other’s hands. Najib too is in there somewhere.

So now in Sarawak and in Sabah, everyone is holding on to each other, hanging on for their dear own political life.

They are quite understandably more preoccupied with their own comfort than the comfort and wellbeing of the people of Sabah and Sarawak.

It is a bad choice of preoccupation because there are only three votes among the three of you. The people of Sabah and Sarawak have the rest.

Platform of reforms

What about reforms? I do not have to pose this question to Lajim in Sabah or Taib in Sarawak because we know their political survival and personal fortunes depend on the deals they will make with the one first past the finishing line after the votes are counted in the 13th general election. They care not if it is BN or Pakatan.