Pakatan more powerful if Anwar sent to jail, ex-NST boss predicts


(Malay Mail Online) – If Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is sent to jail next week for sodomy, the fledgling Pakatan Rakyat (PR) pact he now leads will find more reason to stand united ahead of the next general election, Datuk Abdul Kadir Jasin said.

The former New Straits Times (NST) chief editor dismissed talk that PR would collapse without Anwar, saying instead that he shares the Opposition Leader’s optimism in the pact gaining strength because of his imprisonment.

“PR is unlikely to suffer instantaneously combustion upon his second sodomy jailing,” Abdul Kadir wrote in a blog post today.

“On the contrary, his imprisonment could increase the resolve of the alternative coalition and encourage the member parties to stay together in spite of their deep ideological differences.

“It could also generate a new round of sympathy for him, especially among young anti-establishment Malaysians,” he added.

The veteran journalist pointed out that during Anwar’s first sodomy trial some 15 years ago in 1999, the leader had found supporters in the country’s young, many of whom have now grown into angry men and women, all registered voters in their 20s and 30s.

This group, he said, may not know much about what happened over the last century but are fully aware of today’s political landscape.

“Even the most extreme of Umno loyalists admit that the Barisan Nasional (BN) is not getting the support of young voters by merely running down Anwar and the PR,” he pointed out.

Anwar, Abdul Kadir added, has been preparing himself well for next Tuesday’s verdict.

The leader has been touting his “lawan tetap lawan” rally cry across the country, telling his supporters keep on fighting even if he is sent to jail, the ex-NST chief noted.

Borrowing the words of one PKR MP, Abdul Kadir said: “The PR idea was born when Anwar was in prison. It proved effective during the 1999 general elections.

“It took off when Anwar was released. It would not die should Anwar be sent to jail again.

“In the beginning it was driven by idealism. Now driven by the power vested in it by the people.”

The Kuala Lumpur High Court had in 2012 acquitted Anwar of allegedly sodomising his former political aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in an upscale Bukit Damansara condominium on June 26, 2008.

But the decision was later overturned by the Court of Appeal last year, and the

Opposition Leader was subsequently sentenced to a five-year jail term.

Anwar then appealed to the Federal Court, which recently announced that it will deliver its ruling on the case on February 10.