Is Anwar ever going to release Najib?

The only leader in the country, at least for now, that has a chance of toppling Anwar is Najib.

Nehru Sathiamoorthy

Anwar has certainly been saying a lot about the state of Najib’s incarceration recently, but when it comes to releasing Najib, even it if just in the form of a house arrest, I certainly don’t think he is going to do it, at least not in the foreseeable future.

I don’t think he is going to do it, because Najib is very popular today. I daresay that Najib is more popular than Anwar today. I have always maintained that Anwar is the PM today not because he is a good leader, but because he is lucky in that all of his challengers—from Muhyiddin to Hadi to Zahid Hamidi—are much worse than him.

All that will change if Najib is back in the picture.

Zahid Hamidi might be able to get Khairy and Hishammuddin out of his way by kicking them out of Umno, but he most certainly won’t be able to get Najib out of the way. Najib is way too popular in Umno for Zahid Hamidi to just cold storage him without repercussions.

Najib is not only extremely popular in Umno, he might be popular all across the country.

I was just speaking to a 30-year-old Indian lorry driver and a 50-something Chinese business lady a week ago, and although they have almost nothing in common, either from their perspective about life or their opinions about politics, they surprisingly share the same opinion about Anwar and Najib. They both think Anwar has no idea what he is doing and that the best person to lead the country forward is Najib.

This opinion, by the way, is one that I am sure you will find repeated in the streets of the country.

From the day that a mob stopped his car as it was heading to Subang airport after he lost the 2018 election because they thought he was going to flee the country, Najib has certainly come a long way.

From the much-despised Ah Jib Gor, he is today the much beloved Bossku.

While most people probably do believe that Najib is guilty of being corrupt, nobody seems to care anymore. Considering that most Malaysians believe that all our politicians are corrupt, the main criterion for whether a politician is fit to rule is not whether they are corrupt or not but whether they can do anything for the people and the country.

On this count, Najib, with his Menara 118, Tun Razak Exchange, BRIM, KRIM, Klinik 1 Malaysia and the MRT project, is certainly far ahead than Anwar.

Umno under Zahid Hamidi might be willingly playing second fiddle when it comes to PH and Anwar today, but once Najib is out, I seriously doubt whether Umno will be content with its second-fiddle role any longer.

Like the proverbial lion who thought it was a sheep in the fable, the minute Najib is out, Umno will likely remember again that it is a lion and no longer be willing to chew on grass.

If Najib is out, even if it is under house arrest, I will go out on a limb to say that Umno will leave the unity government, seek the dissolution of parliament, and try again to rule the country by winning at the ballot box.

With Najib as its poster boy, I daresay that it might even come out of that election with a commanding position too.

Considering all this, I seriously doubt that Anwar is just going to release Najib and risk losing what he has fought so hard to obtain.

Anwar was just one step away from being the PM in 1998 when he lost it all. For the sake of being the PM of the country, he had to endure two stints in jail and the sort of humiliation that would drive a lesser man to suicide for 25 long years.

Now that he has finally made it to the top, I doubt he is going to give it up until he secures a glorious name for himself.

The problem, however, is that it is unlikely that Anwar will ever secure a glorious name for himself, and therefore Anwar will likely attempt to remain as PM until the day he dies.

Say what you want about Mahathir, but at least Mahathir had a legacy. It was because he had a legacy that he was persuaded to leave in 2003, under the presumption that if the prime ministers he elected to succeed him would just listen to his advice, he could preserve his legacy.

Unlike Mahathir, however, I will bet that Anwar is not even going to feign giving up power and try to rule from behind the scenes, because Anwar has no legacy and it is unlikely that he will ever develop one because he just doesn’t have the imagination or vision to do it.

Whatever his flaws, Mahathir was a genuine leader with enough imagination to actually develop a vision for the country. Anwar might be a man of great daring and resolve, but in terms of imagination and brainpower, any reasonably intelligent person should be able to see that Anwar is just average or sub-par. He might like to pretend that he is capable of lofty thoughts and ideas, but it is all just an act, made to fool those who don’t know any better. In reality, Anwar’s imagination is likely so limited that he cannot see beyond his self-interest. With his level of imagination, you can’t even see the outline of the world that is yet to come, much less prepare for it.

Without having a vision, it is impossible for Anwar to create a legacy, and without a legacy, an ambitious, daring, and highly resolved person like Anwar will likely never vacate his seat.

Also, considering the vicious level of politics in play today, Anwar is unlikely to leave on account of the fact that without power, he might find himself incarcerated again. Najib being incarcerated has set a precedent for an ex-Prime Minister to be imprisoned, and considering the level of enmity that all our top leaders have against each other, if Anwar loses power, the chances are certainly high that he will find himself behind bars again.

If push comes to shove, I will bet that Anwar will by hook or by crook declare an emergency and rule as a dictator rather than give up power and leave without having any legacy to secure his glorious name. Unlike Muhyiddin, I think Anwar will succeed in the endeavour.

The only leader in the country, at least for now, that has a chance of toppling Anwar is Najib.

Considering that, it is my estimate that Anwar will never release Najib.

He might say that he will leave it to the king whether Najib should be granted house arrest or that he has nothing to do with Najib being released or that Najib should be treated just like anybody else, but all that is strictly for the birds.

Regardless of what Anwar says, everybody in the country knows that Najib is not going to be treated like everybody else and that Anwar is going to have the main say as to whether Najib is released or not, and his say, for now, is going to be a definite no.

I don’t know how he is going to say no — I think he might say no by using somebody else as a proxy, or he might delay Najib’s release through some technicalities, or he might just work out some token compromise where Najib will find himself incarcerated in a place that is not as bad as Kajang prison but not as good as his own house—but whatever it is , what I do know is that there is no chance in hell that Anwar is going to be okay with Najib breathing fresh air when Najib breathing fresh air might cause Anwar to lose his crown and throne.

Najib will only come out when Najib is not as popular and Anwar is not as unpopular as they are today.