Will Kajang be Anwar’s Waterloo?


Worse, what if Anwar actually loses? It could be the end of the war for PKR’s generalissimo. How would that impact on GE14 and Pakatan’s hopes of capturing Putrajaya?

Kee Thuan Chye, TMI

Could Kajang turn out to be Anwar Ibrahim’s Waterloo? It could, if even Pakatan Rakyat supporters forsake him – and the party – at the upcoming by-election for the Selangor state seat.

As it is, many of them feel it was wrong for Lee Chin Cheh, the state assemblyman who was voted in during the last general election (GE13), to vacate his seat for no good reason except to make way for Anwar.

Worse, the move is perceived to have arisen from the feud between Selangor Menteri Besar Khalid Ibrahim and PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali. The eventual outcome could be Anwar replacing Khalid as MB and keeping the two foes from further tearing at each other. But Selangorians who think Khalid is doing a good job as MB don’t like that.

Furthermore, many people, especially Pakatan supporters, are incensed that Anwar and his party, PKR, are willing to compromise principles, turn the democratic process into “a political circus”, simply to resolve internal bickering. They feel that the politicians are taking the Kajang constituents for granted in order to serve their own selfish needs.

They also feel that Anwar and PKR have lowered their standards and are doing the sort of politicking more in keeping with Umno and Barisan Nasional (BN). If that’s the case, they wonder, is there any difference between Pakatan and BN? What hope is there for positive change?

Well, internal feuds are common to any political party. Heck, it happens a lot within Umno. Right now, it appears there’s friction between Umno President Najib Razak and former president Mahathir Mohamad – although the latter has said he’s not out to topple Najib – but nobody makes a song and dance about it. Even though the potential outcome of that feud could bring dire consequences for the country.

Nonetheless, one cannot unequivocally say that what Anwar and PKR are doing is right.

Yes, PKR’s Director of Strategies, Rafizi Ramli, in whom we can see good things for the future, has explained that what he dubs the “Kajang Move” is aimed at strengthening Pakatan’s hold on Selangor, which, he thinks, is likely to come under vicious attack by BN should the ultras of Umno manage to depose Najib. So Pakatan needs “as many of our top leaders around Selangor as possible to defend the state”. Ergo, Anwar.

But does it require Anwar to be a state assemblyman to fortify the defence?

Probably not. And if one looks more closely at Rafizi’s explanation, which also focuses on making Selangor “a model state”, instituting reforms that will make it “doubly better than what it is today” so that it can be Pakatan’s showcase, one can see he is saying that Khalid is not the man to pull that off.

“While Khalid’s administration has set a gold standard in integrity and prudence in managing public funds, we also have to admit there are other areas that we can improve on,” Rafizi adds.

“We need a radical approach to resolving traffic woes, and the pace of affordable public housing has to pick up. There is a need for more rigorous forward planning of water resources and some hard decisions have to be made soon. We have to vigorously protect the rights of the minorities who are the targets of Umno’s political game.”

The damn thing is, he’s right. Khalid has not made Selangor into something like what Penang is now – a happening place. He lacks oomph and charisma. He has also not been effective in his relations with the Sultan, in firmly establishing that royalty should not interfere in politics. He was inept in his handling of the Bible seizure by Jabatan Agama Islam Selangor (Jais). On that score, Selangor does appear to need a more forceful MB to make things happen. The right things.

If Anwar were to step into that position, can he do that?

The problem is, many people still don’t trust him. Including Pakatan supporters. Some think the “Kajang Move” is about Anwar seeking power for himself. And the power inherent in the abundant reserves in the state’s coffers.