Friday, May 12, 2006

The Haunting of Anwar Ibrahim

Unfortunately Anwar Ibrahim has too much baggage from his previous political life as one of UMNO ‘high & mighty’. It’s not just his membership in UMNO per se that’s eroding his credibility as a political reformer, but his policies and decisions as minister and then DPM that many like KTemoc still remember with anger and contempt.

He has made that record worse by blaming everyone else except himself, making him sound like a sore loser, only bleating reformasi (reformation) when he’s no longer in the position of power.

Former Bar president Zainur Zakaria said this of Anwar, when the ex-deputy premier had claimed to have been helpless to make changes while in government. He asked (of Anwar):

“But look, you were there (in government) for 16 years. Then, what were you doing all those years? What did you actually do when you claimed you couldn’t do anything?”

As I blogged in
Zainur Zakaria Zapped AAB & Anwar Ibrahim, Zainur then showed Anwar the honourable example.

“(Former deputy premier) Musa Hitam resigned on a matter of principle because he couldn’t agree with Mahathir. If Anwar doesn’t agree with Mahathir, why didn't he resign?”

He stated that the option to quit the cabinet could be taken by any member of the cabinet if they disagree with a decision. Therefore Anwar Ibrahim cannot simply shrug off his participation and responsibility in the old Mahathir cabinet. I had blogged that every time Anwar condemns Mahathir, he cuts off a slice of his own nose.

Well, in the recent campaign in the Sarawak elections, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah put herself and her husband, Anwar Ibrahim, in a highly vulnerable position when she raised the issue of petroleum royalty given to Sarawak in its campaign to the run-up of the May 20 state elections.

Wan Azizah said the people of Sarawak should not be paying more for petroleum products because the state produced the commodity. She claimed that since Sarawak was a large petroleum-producing state, it should be paid more than the five percent royalty it is now receiving.

But her campaign remarks ricocheted adversely on Anwar Ibrahim, who was former deputy premier and finance minister.

Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister George Chan Hong Nam seized on her statements to sarcastically say (words to the effect) it was rich of Wan Azizah to grandstand on the issue when it was Anwar as finance minister who had rejected a request for a bigger petroleum royalty for Sarawak - see Malaysiakini Deputy CM: 'Why didn't Anwar give us more?'.

Chan revealed:
"When he (Anwar) was the finance minister, I myself asked for an increment in the petroleum royalty but he didn't give. Why is his party talking about it now?”

"I asked for more development for Sarawak because we don't have enough (development) and he also did not want to give (allocations). Why is PKR talking about it now? Why didn't he give us more when he was in power? Now he is no more in power, he can talk."

Precisely what I have said about Anwar Ibrahim’s baggage! Those have come back from time to time to haunt him and undermine his attempt to assume a new role as a so-called political reformer. He is now reaping what he had sown as an UMNO 'high & mighty'.

The oil reality is its price hike is a global phenomenon, and therefore it was very naughty of Wan Azizah to argue that its price shouldn’t be raised. What she should have argued for would be more investments, better social services, improved infrastructure and other benefits for Sarawak. But I guess that’s not topical or too difficult.

Chan said PKR had no right to manipulate and misrepresent the issue to the people as it was Anwar who had rejected Sarawak's request for the oil royalty increment.

Not that I support the BN, but amen to Chan's fight-back words.

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