When you read Malaysiakini Roadblocks cause gridlock in KL where you are told that at least 600 police personnel manned roadblocks along major roads leading to Parliament … yadda yadda … in anticipation of protests ahead of a possible PKR initiated debate of no confidence in PM AAB, and the recent Protes rally, etc, you would not be blamed for believing the general election must be just a few weeks away, when it had been over since 09 march 2008.
When you read Malaysiakini Parliament turns into a 'war zone' where the police had obtained a court order barring Anwar Ibrahim and his supporters from coming within 5 km of Parliament House, you would also be forgiven for not realising that the BN headed by PM AAB had won 140 parliamentary seats in the recent election in March 2008, while Pakatan Rakyat headed supposedly by Anwar Ibrahim, and claimed by his supporters as being on the ‘cusp’ of becoming the new PM, had won only 82.
It’s almost 1998 all over again or the aggravation of the Ijok by-election magnified to national scale - what's just missing would be the water bottle battle! See my Ijok - glimpses of Vision 2020.
Behind the unusual (or is it?) turmoil after a very recent general election, where the margin of the majority for the ruling party is a respectable and comfortable 58 seats, must be an explanation for the continuous agitated political instability – an instability that has unmistakably at its core the central figure of Anwar Ibrahim, a man whom I suspect is extremely dissatisfied with his personal* lack of political progress.
* by contrast the Pakatan Rakyat (exclusive of the person of Anwar Ibrahim) did very well to wrestle 5 States away from the BN and to deny the BN a 2/3 majority in Parliament, in any language two very commendable achievements.
In Greek mythology Achilles was the greatest warrior on the Greek side in the Trojan War. When he was still a baby, his mother Thetis, a sea nymph (an immortal) wanted to make him immortal as well by bathing him in the Styx, a magical river which formed the boundary between Earth and Hades, the mythological underworld.
But because she held him by one of his heel as she dipped him into the Styx, that heel was not bathed with the magic waters of the river and remained mortal and vulnerable.
During the Trojan War, he was basically (almost) invincible until he was fatally wounded in the same (unbathed) heel by an arrow shot by Paris, son of King Priam of Troy.
Thus an Achilles’ heel is a fatal weakness (metaphorically not physical only) in spite of overall strength, actually or potentially leading to downfall.
Anwar Ibrahim has an Achilles heel, and on this I don’t want to hear any of those salacious comments pertaining to recent events.
In my opinion, Anwar’s Achilles heel has been and still is his impatience.
Coupled with his excessive political ambitions, his Achilles heel had been and will be his downfall.
I will use the starting point of this discussion to refer to Chinese daily Guang Ming's interview of Raja Petra Kamarudin (RPK) of the influential blog Malaysia Today (note blog’s new URL) sub-titled ‘Anwar Should Not Have Challenged Tun Ghafar Baba’.
RPK wrote (relevant extract):
Anwar's power within Umno was strengthened after he became the Umno Youth Chief. But he was too ambitious and wanted to challenge Tun Ghafar Baba for the position of Deputy Umno President.
Raja Petra and many of Anwar’s friends did not agree with Anwar challenging Ghafar as they felt he should wait until the Deputy President retires.
“We all knew that Ghafar would not become the Prime Minister. He was nine months older than Dr Mahathir and his education background was only standard six. But Malays respected him, as he was one of the fighters for the independence of Malaya.”
“Malays have deep respect for Ghafar. You don't just overthrow him like that. Anwar should have given Ghafar more time to resign on his own. Therefore, I didn't agree with the young Anwar challenging Ghafar. I think he was showing no respect to an elder.”
Thus, Raja Petra and Anwar parted ways. He and his friends no longer wanted to help Anwar in his campaign for Deputy President.
“However, Anwar had strong support from Umno Sabah. At that time there was a bonus system in which a candidate would automatically receive 10 bonus votes for every nomination. The situation was very unfavourable to Ghafar so he stepped down to allow Anwar to take over.”
Here was Anwar’s impatience showing through where he humiliated one of the UMNO ‘Angkatan 46’ mercilessly into political oblivion.
It was said that during the triumphant celebration in UMNO headquarters where every UMNO personality rushed towards surrounding the new Crown Prince, poor discarded Ghafar Baba, the ‘deposed’ No 2 UMNO man was seen shuffling on the sideline by himself in an abject state of humiliated daze and shamed confusion, clutching in his arms a plastic shopping bag like a vagabond, yes, a political vagabond.
While the Bodek-ites did their sycophantic acts, they did not fail to see the self esteem of Ghafar Baba, or whatever was left of it, smashed to smithereens, with the senior party man sadly and totally humiliated by an ambitious and very impatient young rising star, who spared no mercy for one of the UMNO ‘pioneers’.
Anwar couldn’t even wait for (then) 70 year old Ghafar Baba to leave in more dignified manner. But undoubtedly, as RPK said, the Malays saw with grave trepidation an 'ugly' ambitious Anwar without any respect for his elders.
I won’t go into his tenure as the Education Minister where many non-Malays still remember what he had done to us.
Then in 1998, Anwar's close associate, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi (the Pemuda UMNO Chief), gave notice that the Youth Wing would initiate a debate on ‘cronyism and nepotism’, obviously a move by the Anwar faction to nudge Dr Mahathir out a.s.a.p.
It's Anwar's impatience again, wanting to assume the No 1 political position without any delay. So the plan was to push Dr M out of office through the embarrassment of exposed ‘cronyism and nepotism’.
It’s amazingly silly considering that Dr M had felt comfy giving rein of the nation to Anwar just a year back and was actually on the verge of retiring.
Yes of course the storyline after Anwar's sacking portrayed Dr M as being fearful of his own position, etc, but I am inclined to believe the aggravation between the two had been due to Anwar's noted impatience and the impossible-to-notice lack of respect for his mentor-father figure.
Well, as they say, there’s many a slip ‘twixt cup and lips, which Anwar Ibrahim was to realized painfully; and I suspect, he must have since bitterly borne that ‘slip’ in great agony, a terrible cancer of woeful regret consuming him more and more each day as he realized that through his impatience to get rid of Mahathir to ascend to the No 1 position, he missed just by a hair's breath of becoming PM of Malaysia.
Oh, sedikit saja lah, sangat sayang leow, woe had been him! But alas, a miss is as good as a mile!
He had moved too swiftly and precipitously, because Dr M, on seeing the same disrespect to elders that Anwar had amply demonstrated in 1993 against Ghafar Baba, mounted a blitzkrieg counter-attack against his anointed heir. As Wikipedia states:
The response was swift, as Mahathir issued lists of cronies who had benefited from government share allocations and privatizations. To the chagrin of Anwar and his allies, several of them were on the list, including Anwar and Zahid.
Well, well, well …
As RPK had told Guang Ming:
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim changed after he became the Deputy Prime Minister cum Finance Minister. Umno changed him, said Raja Petra Kamarudin. He became just another “Umno man”.
“He wore RM3,000 suits, unlike the time when we wore traditional Malay costumes. Before he joined the party he said he wanted to change Umno but instead he was the one who was changed by Umno,” Raja Petra said.
Thereafter, Raja Petra did not get involved with Anwar any longer but instead became active in Pas.
He wrote for the English Section of Pas' Harakah and in some of his pieces he even criticised Anwar. Anwar was really angry at that time. When Anwar was sacked in 1998, he told Anwar that: “You deserve it! You can challenge Ghafar Baba, but not Mahathir.”
Raja Petra said that Anwar thought after easily overthrowing Tun Ghafar Baba he could easily depose Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as well. Eventually, he failed and Dr Mahathir did him in instead.
Anwar brought the whole Humpty Dumpty wall down on his head because he couldn’t just wait for a few more months for Dr Mahathir to retire. He thought he had everything in UMNO sown up.
Due to his impatience and his miscalculations, and not forgetting his disrespect for his elders, he fell on his own UMNO keris.
Of course when he was expelled he metamorphosed OVERNIGHT into a political reformer wakakaka … how can he expect people, even if they hadn't already experienced his (Education) ministerial tenure and policies, to believe him?
As I have often blogged, he wants to return to UMNO, which has been why he was coy with AAB after his release from prison. He must have thought he would be doing AAB a favour by targeting Najib, or maybe he saw the UMNO No 2 position as a convenient political resurrection point for himself, provided of course he can get rid of Najib.
But AAB and many others who know of him don’t want him. If he could do what he had done to Ghafar Baba and even his godfather Dr M, God knows what he could do to them. His impatience has become legendary (or notorious).
Then perhaps he thought if the BN lost its 2/3 majority and his PKR inner group has enough seats to restore that 2/3 he could still pry his way back in. But AAB wasn’t about to play ball - better to be without the 2/3 than with Anwar in UMNO.
Anwar's Achilles heel is showing through again, refusing to wait for the next general election – of course there are other factors as well which I will blog on tomorrow. Hence the PKR's almost daily broadcast about pending party defections … perhaps to pressure other UMNO stalwarts if not AAB, but wakakaka, they sneakily (and more wisely) turn towards PAS instead of Anwar.
Expect him to continue and even escalate his campaign of political destabilization, as he becomes more frantic with the approaching September 16 in just 2 months time.
And Malaysiakini has just published 'Opposition had planned demo today' where it reported Home Affairs Minister Syed Hamid claiming that, this month alone, his ministry has received information that numerous demonstrations were to be staged by the opposition (he probably meant PKR) with the sole purpose of toppling the government.
Aiyoyo, Anwar, where's your man man lai? Just like your reformasi?