Today Malaysiakini published Perak referendum is on!, with particular reference to the Pakatan Rakyat’s candidate for Bukit Gantang.
He is none other than the very popular Mohd Nizar Jamaluddin, MB of Perak.
I believe the significance of his candidature for Bukit Gantang represents far more than just a referendum for Perak.
Without doubt, Nizar is the most popular PAS person among the non-Muslims. He is trusted, admired, liked and supported by them.
If he wins, his projection into federal politics will see him as an important player of the future.
To understand why, let’s consider Pak Haji Hadi Awang’s rather lamentable attitude.
Pak Haji Hadi is a very conservative Muslim who heads the ultra faction in the Islamic Party. But even more than being a Muslim, he is also a Malay nationalist.
His pet dislikes (I wouldn’t go as far as to term them ‘hatred’) are:
(1) non-Malay control of any government, state or federal (other than Penang which he has to be realistic about).
He is the PAS leader most likely to cut a deal with UMNO to ensure state governments (‘federal’ being irrelevant at this post 916 moment wakakaka) remain under the control of Malays.
He is also the person in a post-Pak-Haji-Nik-Aziz era most likely to break up the Pakatan Rakyat.
Pak Haji Nik Aziz hasn’t been too happy with him, and as Malaysiakini reported on last Friday, Nik Aziz tells Hadi: I'm still captain.
The PAS spiritual leader was forced to publicly place a cautionary restraining hand on Pak Haji Hadi Awang’s proclivity towards forming a unity government with the BN (effectively UMNO).
(2) Pak Haji Hadi Awang just can’t bear the thought that in the event of the PR gaining federal rule, Anwar (and PKR) would be the primus inter pares (first among equals).
As far as Pak Haji Hadi Awang is concerned it should be PAS, by virtue of the Islamic Party's impressive political structure and network, and its seniority among the PR members in having experience in running State governments (Kelantan and Terengganu) and having its members as federal Ministers.
He has on several occasions made mention of this, implying a PAS leader (possibly himself) and not Anwar should be the leader of the PR coalition and as a future PM. Undoubtedly an UMNO without its 2/3 majority will be carefully cultivating the goodwill of the ambitious PAS president and appealing to his ethno-nationalist traits.
But if Nizar becomes a federal MP, a man who is trusted, admired and liked by non-Muslims, he could, as a potential PR leader, give Anwar a run for his money, and through that, possibly allay the concerns (but perhaps not ambitions) of Pak Haji Hadi Awang.
Nizar as a potential future PM could satisfy both the PAS rightwing elements as well as the non-Malay parties of the PR, like DAP (I list ‘parties’ as I expect a few more to join PR).
He alone in PAS has the potential and personaity to keep the politically-divergent component members of the PR together as a cohesive group. In this potential he would render Anwar Ibrahim totally irrelevant to the needs of the coalition.
This is important because Anwar has since 916 lost a considerable quantum of his (undeserved) sheen by his unmitigated nonsense on the froggie approach to seizing power, refusal to discipline the thuggish Kulim Wonder, and through the shameful and equally alarming cases of alleged corruption among his PKR politicians.
Nizar, as a potential future PM and a political leader capable of holding PR together without any man man lai bull, has a very attractive appeal to people like kaytee ;-)
Anwar Ibrahim is dispensable!