Why isn’t Azmin like Anwar in kowtowing to be PM, laments Lim Guan Eng

umar mukhtar

Umar Mukhtar

Amidst all the noise after PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali valiantly spoke up to defend the honour of PKR in the recent sacking of PKR Aduns from the state GLCs by Penang DAP Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng because they voted for their conscience in abstaining in the motion to stop Lim’s rampant land-reclamation projects, let us not miss the forest for the trees.
There’s more than meets the eye. LGE would not have dared elbow his partners if he didn’t feel he’s on solid ground. No, not just on political consistency or constitutional technical grounds or whatever. Simply said, on the solid realpolitik ground of who needs who more for political survival. PKR needs DAP or DAP needs PKR? The needy one will play ball.
Selangor and Penang are opposition Pakatan Harapan states that are not quite likely to vote in a Barisan Nasional government for the simple reason that Chinese votes play the most important role of electoral decisiveness in these two states. And for as long as MCA and Gerakan are almost totally impotent, DAP is the Chinese’ party of choice. Crudely said, these are Chinese states.
Should it stand alone in Penang or Selangor, DAP is sure to come out with the largest single majority of Aduns. Compare that to if PKR didn’t get full Chinese support in Selangor, it may just go down to the footnotes of history. Of course, DAP would still be just that small fish in the big federal pond. But LGE is happy being a big fish in a small Penang pond. However, PKR has federal ambitions.
One thing for sure, PKR can’t even retain Selangor without DAP’s help. So the occasional spit to the face like the said sacking is a small price to pay for PKR. So don’t take the small current spat seriously. At the most, it’s just a perfunctory face-saving act, at the least, it’s Azmin speaking out courageously, unlike his President, to show that PKR is not comatose.
But for how long will this unequal relationship last? Unlike LGE, Azmin is not satisfied to just be in a small pond. Already Azmin is counting his options. He knows that for as long as he partners LGE in small pond politics, he has to play second fiddle to LGE. It’s only in federal politics that PKR is indispensable to the minority Chinese, but how sure is Azmin that LGE is serious about Putrajaya? 
Based on exhibited ego, not being king of the hill is a heavy price for LGE to pay. For political expediency and legitimacy, he has to be seen to be very interested but in truth he is not wholly committed. After all, the only sure thing about Pakatan’s federal rule will be his own subservience. He will have to cough loudly at every occasion that he wants to be counted. And eventually, DAP will get more corrupted and complacent and end up like MCA and Gerakan.
It is better to invest effort in adding back a third state like Perak into the DAP stable of ‘Chinese states’. Three out of eleven peninsular states. That’s about right, population-wise. And these are industrialised states too. That’s a fair reflection of Chinese role in the country. And when Nusajaya has been fully invaded, Johore too. So the thinking goes!
So Azmin is bidding his time. It doesn’t take much for him to return to the fold as a big fish in a big pond especially with plenty in tow. The trick is to maintain his hold on his loyalists who will in time realise on their own that dancing to LGE’s tune is a futile effort in trying to appreciate music other than the dragon dance. LGE will last as tokong forever; he makes sure of that in choosing his underlings.
What about Lim Kit Siang and Wan Azizah? Don’t they figure in? No, one is too old and the other is still waiting for instructions.