10 days after the general election I had posted Where will Anwar Ibrahim stand for Parliament?, where I wrote:
I mentioned in Khalid Ibrahim to give way to Anwar in Bandar Tun Razak? of the likely possibility of Khalid Ibrahim vacating his Bandar Tun Razak parliamentary seat for Anwar to contest in an by-election. Khalid has plenty on his hands as MB of Selangor.
The voters in Bandar Tun Razak comprise 52% Malays, 39% Chinese and 8% Indians, a nice rounded multiethnic makeup.
With the coalition of PKR-DAP-PAS currently enjoying immense popularity in FT and Selangor, Anwar Ibrahim will in all probability ride on that goodwill to victory if he stands there.
It’s called the ‘halo’ effect – the ‘feel good’ euphoria about the new political alliance that will rub on to his by-election advantage despite any non-Malay suspicions, if any, of him.
Since then, some of the lustre of the Pakatan Rakyat government in Selangor has lost its shine due to a couple of issues - (i) Khalid Ibrahim’s obvious (initial) reluctance in involving himself with, and the poor handling of, the Bandar Makhkota Cheras scandal and (ii) some hints of dodgy-ness in the new State administration which blogger What a Lulu blogged in her post Lulu Is Concerned That There Are Those In PKR But Forget They're In PKR And Behave Like It Was The Good Ol Umno Days.
But thanks to UMNO’s unchangeable behaviour, there’s still plenty of goodwill for PKR or more correctly, plenty of bad will towards UMNO.
I had also suggested … the Balik Pulau seat in Penang Island, Anwar’s home State. The victorious PKR candidate there is Mohd Yusmadi Bin Mohd Yusoff, who had in a pre election campaign mentioned he was willing to surrender the seat to Anwar Ibrahim. I recall Anwar, who was then with him in the campaigning, didn’t reject that offer.
But in the latest news report on Anwar Ibrahim by Malaysiakini, the man himself hinted at standing in the Bandar Tun Razak constituency.
He wooed the nearly 2,000 strong multiracial crowd at his ceramah
In Anwar begins by-election 'campaign' Malaysiakini noted that while he did go through a wide range of topics, his main agenda of the night was obviously to sound out the reactions of the crowd to his contesting in the area.
“Sokong, sokong, sokong” rang through the surau and its compound, as the crowd gave Anwar the nod when he asked if he could contest the seat.
But as I said, Anwar wasn’t 100% committed as he man man lai into a qualified "I want to say that maybe, I might contest here. But if I contest here, hundreds of millions would be poured in (to buy votes). Can you resist (the temptation)? If you cannot, please tell me beforehand."
Malaysiakini didn’t report what the response was, but we can make an intelligent guess.
Then Anwar said he and the Pakatan Rakyat alliance was not keen on seizing power just for the sake of it but it was a bid to save the economy from jahanam (being destroyed). Malaysiakini reported him saying that the weak economy and country's leadership require immediate change and thus motivated Pakatan to make its push towards Putrajaya.
Wow! Such sacrifice and sheer courage - just like his overnight ‘road to Damascus’ reformasi in 1998 after nearly two decades of silence in cozy comfy UMNO?
He warned [who? ;-)] that the move to contest in a by-election was necessary as Sabah and Sarawak MPs (meaning the frogs) had stressed that he should do so.
Aha, new condition from his earlier (numerous) boasts that they were on the verge of crossing over. But nonetheless, a final warning!
What is kaytee’s take?
As I have always unwaveringly said, I believe Anwar Ibrahim wanted (and still wants) to rejoin UMNO because that’s where the power is. Please read my post Why Anwar isn't interested in a by-election?
Why then has he chosen Bandar Tun Razak for his by-election candidature, which I alluded to as the strongest possibility, when in an earlier Malaysiakini (or was it Star Online) article, Khalid Ibrahim had discounted his own constituency for Anwar because he said it would become the most dangerous seat for his de facto leader, implying perhaps that the BN would pour in everything including the kitchen sink to make sure Anwar loses.
And Anwar anticipates that as he mentioned it in his man man lai speech.
While Anwar has now come to realize that his chance of getting back into UMNO has diminished gloomily, it could well be he's still giving the party leaders a 'final warning' (by his posturing to stand in a Bandar Tun Razak by-election) and their 'last chance' to invite him to 'come home'.
Malaysiakini just reported late this evening that "Opposition icon Anwar Ibrahim said today that he aims to return to parliament for the first time in a decade later this year if a court orders a by-election near his home town ...", namely Kulim Bandar Baru. Sorry lah to penyokong penyokong di Bandar Tun Razak.
Perhaps earlier, someone had ‘chong-ed’ him into believing that he would be welcomed back provided he gave Najib hell? And mind you, he had been cozy in his speeches about AAB, where one I saw on Aussie TV had him even complimenting AAB as ‘compassionate’. Earlier, only Najib was targeted.
During the JB-Singapore bridge fiasco, in A Bridge Too Far - Anwar Ibrahim I had written:
However, Anwar added a sweetener for PM AAB by expressing full support for the latter’s decision to abandon the project, as a commendable decision.
He crooned gently: “It takes a lot of courage and wisdom ... after weeks of massive campaigns against Singapore ... (for Abdullah) to suddenly say that the decision (to build the bridge) was faulty and that we have to scrap the project...it’s commendable.”
“I support the decision taken by Abdullah because any responsible leader cannot proceed with a project affecting another country without that sort of arrangement being made.” […]
Anwar has offered assistance to the government, saying he could draw from his experience in the government, including as finance minister between 1993 and 1998. That’s a fantastic CV, man.
Anwar continued: “I would not discount any possible meeting with Abdullah if he were to ask my views on the issues ... like the negotiations with Singapore on the bridge and even information on the negotiations with Indonesia on border issues.” […]
And he explained his motive for offering himself to AAB: “I will not be serving the government. But I am a Malaysian and very loyal to the country and will do my best to serve.”
Thank you Datuk.
But a smart man like him would have realized by now, even with his chummy core coterie being able to offer AAB that extra 8 MPs to let the BN have its 2/3 parliamentary majority again, AAB has remained cool, aloof and distant to his ‘waiting’.
I am guessing but I reckon his hope to rejoin UMNO, perhaps even as No 2, had porpoise-d from an initial 75% to 95% immediately after the general election, and now to 5%.
Yes, I believe he hasn’t totally abandoned the aspiration completely - while there’s political life, there’s always political hope.
A successful by-election for him as a PKR MP would of course Ku-Li-ise him with all the attendant disadvantages, but won't permanently eliminate a future 'reconciliation'.