Anwar Ibrahim sprung a surprise which in reality wasn’t quite a surprise.
According to Malaysiakini latest news article, Anwar to contest Permatang Pauh, he has returned full circle to where he had started his political career as a prize recruit for UMNO.
In my post just 10 days after the last general election, Where will Anwar Ibrahim stand for Parliament? I averred that Khalid Ibrahim would be the one likely to surrender his seat to him because Khalid would have a full time job as MB of Selangor.
I mentioned that Anwar Ibrahim could ride home easily on the ‘halo’ effect of the Pakatan’s tsunamic win, where goodwill towards the non-BN parties [how about that for a change in the use of that terrible word ‘non’ ;-) ] was still very strong.
However, I did mention that he might be considered too precious an asset to the Pakatan to test the voters in Bandar Tun Razak, because we could be sure the BN would pour every resource and propaganda gimmick, including the kitchen sink, into the by-election.
Yes, what if the BN succeeds? It would be a mortal demoralizing blow to the PKR-DAP-PAS bloc, something they may not wish to incur, and hence not tempt the possibility by standing him there.
Indeed, subsequently (just not too long ago) Khalid Ibrahim mentioned that Bandar Tun Razak would be the most dangerous place for his de facto leader to attempt in a by-election.
In that earlier (post general election) post I also raised the (2nd) possibility of Permatang Pauh, where Dr Wan Azizah roamed home with a staggering 13,000+ majority (as compared to her slim 2004's 500+ majority). The ethnic composition would be, for Anwar, a comforting 67.6% Malay, 26.3% Chinese and about 6% Indians.
… with Balik Pulau as a 3rd choice with more or less the same ethnic mix.
Since then Anwar had toyed with a few seats for his re-entry into parliament, including Makcik’s as well as Khalid’s seat again, and recently, Kulim where he gave the impression he was 100% sure he would contest there, should an election be ordered following a court challenge.
Why then this sudden almost overnight abrupt change, from Kulim to Permatang Pauh?
He gave the reason as a counter to the possibility of a (deliberately) delayed court decision over the Kulim case to frustrate him.
But kaytee thinks, really, how long can the court delay the decision when afterall Anwar himself hasn’t seen any urgent need to get himself into parliament (I had put that reason as Anwar’s hope to rejoin UMNO and recontest for parliament as an UMNO candidate rather than as a PKR member).
Besides,it's not as if he just thought of that (delaying) possibility after annoucing his intention to contest in Kulim!
Then I read another Malaysiakini article He may be arrested 'in next 48 hours' following the Home Affairs Minister’s statement that the police investigation into the alleged sodomy allegations has concluded – see Malaysiakini article Cops wrap up sodomy probe, up to AG to act
… and believe that could be the reason for Anwar’s abrupt decision to contest Permatang Pauh by getting his wife, Dr Wan Azizah, to resign, which officially she already has, rather abruptly too.
Anwar Ibrahim is a master of such brinksmanship manoeuvres. By putting himself as a candidate for a federal parliamentary by-election just before his possible arrest, he is ratcheting up the political stakes as well as his international profile.
PM AAB will be more embarrassed by the action of arresting a parliamentary candidate for a by-election than just a political party advisor.
The international press and politicians, especially those from America will feel more compelled to protest than they would if Anwar has just remained as an advisor to PKR or even de facto leader of the Pakatan.
There is more political pressure to bear on AAB if the ‘victim’ is a political candidate for a by-election. The accusations will be that AAB is directly and actively preventing Anwar's return to parliament.
The already popular conspiracy theory of Anwar being fixed by the BN will be even more strengthened.