Today my post is on lost opportunity. Obviously I’m talking about lost political opportunity. Another term for ‘lost opportunity’ would be ‘what if …?’
Probably the most known ‘lost opportunity’ would be that of Ku Li ‘losing’ by 43 delegate votes to Dr M in the 1987 UMNO party election. The accusations were rife about 78 branch delegates, unregistered with the Registrar of Societies and thus illegible to vote, allegedly voting and swinging the outcome in Dr M’s favour. Prior to the election, Ku Li was touted to emerge as victor.
Many have been the wistful philosophizing on ‘what if’ Ku Li had won and became PM of Malaysia 23 years ago?
I suppose his ‘victory’ would have screwed up the UMNO's Da Vinci Code(s) kau kau, because then the RA-H-M-A-N prophecy wouldn’t have been fulfilled wakakaka.
Yup, the UMNO’s Da Vinci Code would have gone R-A-H-R-M-A-N, with Ku Li as the 4th PM, and after him perhaps (we are now deep in Speculation Universe) Musa Hitam, Anwar Ibrahim and of course Najib (or even The Blue-Eyed Boy wakakaka).
Tantalizing thought, isn’t it?
But today’s post is about another, more recent, ‘lost opportunity’, for none other than AAB.
Imagine, he could still be PM today, having kept Pakatan at bay without the 2008 tsunamic disaster for BN.
And it had to do with the crooked bridge wakakaka.
If you recall, in my post Anwar Ibrahim - AAB: Encounter of the thirsty kind about a ‘chance’ (wakakaka) encounter between AI and AAB, the text went:
I’ve always believed that Anwar wants to return to UMNO – I still do!
In my post A Bridge Too Far - Anwar Ibrahim 3 years ago, Anwar eagerly offered (unsolicited) assistance to AAB on the crooked bridge business. I wrote:
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.”
Mind you, Anwar assured us his offer does not imply a wish to rejoin UMNO - of course not! Everyone knows the UMNO-led government always gets ‘outsiders’ to negotiate with foreign governments on its behalf.
Alas for him, AAB snubbed him. To many UMNO insiders, Anwar was far too dangerous to allow too close, even for them. Mind you, they have had experience of the way he operated when he was their No 2.
But he’s still trying – his last chance, prior to his Nemesis (Najib) taking over the organization he wants to return to.
I wonder whether I ought to feel a lil' sorry for him, with him seeing the UMNO gates gradually drawing shut to him forever more?
Just imagine, if AAB had not snubbed Anwar, and cleverly invited the latter to handle the negotiations with Singapore and also allowed him to re-join UMNO, the following outcome could (I dare not claim ‘would’) have happened:
1) Dr M would have had an attack of apoplexy, especially when Anwar pinpointed him (Dr M) as the culprit for losing the negotiations to Singapore wakakaka.
Anwar said Dr M had only himself to blame for his pet project being scrapped. Anwar claimed he had been privy to information in the early stages of the project, and declared that Dr M made his first blunder when he sent former finance minister Daim Zainudin to negotiate with former Singapore PM LKY over the terms of the project.
He advised: “I would grant the criticism of many that negotiations with Singapore are not always easy. The solution therefore is to send competent people to negotiate. If you send semi-literates to negotiate, we will lose out in the negotiations” …
… wakakaka, because we have to conclude from such a statement that The Great Asian Renaissance Man must have considered Daim a semi-literate.
Whatever, AAB missed/lost the opportunity to use Anwar on the crooked bridge re-negotiations with Singapore to rub that painfully into Dr M’s face. I imagine Dr M would have gone bersek. Perhaps then with AAB at an one-upsmanship advantage, he might possibly have been able to confidently parry away the relentless persecutions by Dr M stemming from the latter's dissatisfaction with the crooked bridge affair.
2) Had AAB invited Anwar to re-join UMNO (a process which I had consistently asserted Anwar was very keen on, at least until Najib took over as party president), perhaps Pakatan might not have done that well in the 2008 GE. There’s no denying that without Anwar, Pakatan in its earliest days would not have remained reasonably cohesive as a formidable alternative to the BN.
3) By getting Anwar to re-join UMNO, there was of course a danger that Anwar might have taken over the party, but the reality was there was already too much of a time gap between the time of Anwar’s expulsion from UMNO and that hypothetical re-joining of UMNO when in His Magnificence's absence, many new powerful UMNO warlords have established party positions and would definitely not permit The Great One to regain his previous party status, as No 2 going on to No 1 wakakaka – such is the nature of the political beast (of any political party, not just UMNO).
Thus by engaging Anwar and allowing him to re-join UMNO, AAB would have made Anwar lose all his political credibility outside UMNO without any visible gain in UMNO, effectively neutering him as a credible political figure in Malaysia.
So, my speculative conclusion is that, had AAB had not lost the opportunity presented by Anwar’s keenness to ‘help’ (wakakaka) with the crooked bridge issue, he could have neutralised both Dr M and Anwar and thus possibly be still PM, without suffering the disastrous 2008 tsunami.
Perhaps his 4th Floor boys (s-i-l and son) should be blamed for his 'lost opportunity'.
Alas, I believe it was a monumental ‘lost opportunity’ in Malaysian politics on a scale as dramatic as that for Ku Li in the 1987 UMNO party crisis.