Dr Mahathir is pissed off, while I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. And the cause of my tickled or aching ribs, and Mahathir’s annoyance?
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) has lodged a police report against Dr Mahathir for being CRUEL, yes, cruel (zalim) to the Barisan National (BN) Government, to wit, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
Now you know why I have a low opinion of PKR.
Let’s recall the life and career of PKR or Keadilan, as it was then called. Firstly, it started life as a one-issue party, to free Anwar Ibrahim. That’s fair enough because we all have a cause of sorts. If Keadilan’s cause was to free Anwar Ibrahim, then bravo to them. In fact, many people were sympathetic to that cause and flocked to its banner, making it virtually the No 1 opposition party.
PAS and DAP saw in the immensely popular Keadilan as a core for a combined opposition a la the 1969 Gerakan Party.
But somewhere along the way, that was before Anwar was released, it became subordinate to PAS, when ironically, as I just commented, Keadilan had been the leading opposition party, the leader of the pack.
I reckon it might have been due to Dr Wan Azizah’s inexperience but one could hardly blame her. However, its party leaders (ex UMNO, some of whom had already returned to UMNO), those advisors to Dr Wan Azizah, should take the major portion of the blame that allowed clever PAS to siphon off its leadership and some of its supporters until it became no more than just a subordinate appendage of PAS, in terms of direction, policy and presence.
A friend who was a PKR member related to me with much sighing that Keadilan had depended too much on PAS infrastructure and network to dare to stop its encroaching dominance. It came to a stage when PAS could veto the candidature of Dr Syed Husin for the Kota Baru seat, at that point demarcating clearly the role reversal for PKR (Keadilan), from primus inter pares (1st among equals) of the opposition parties to a mere subordinate of PAS.
We know that Keadilan’s initial popularity was in a large way influenced by a mixture of sympathy for Anwar Ibrahim’s incarceration and intense dislike for Mahathir’s style of government, even though Anwar had been part of that government.
In fact Anwar was on the eve of taking over from Mahathir when he made an error. Unlike Abdullah Badawi, he was too impatient and moved too soon against Mahathir. The saying that best describes his f**kup at the threshold of his premiership would be “There’s many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.”
But Mahathir was so unpopular that even Anwar’s UMNO-ness was forgiven. After the 1999 general election, either Mahathir decided that Malaysia would be safe in the hands of Abdullah Badawi, allowing him to retire, or he saw the writing on the wall, that he was the political magnetic pole that repulsed people/voters to Anwar’s opposite pole. He wisely left.
When one removes black away from what was thought to be white (because black makes almost everything white by comparison), the white wasn’t all that white. In Mahathir’s absence, the sympathy for Anwar evaporated. People began to recall who he had been, which party he belonged to, and what had been his track record. Even the late MGG Pillai, who wrote often for PKR, mentioned that at Anwar's level of UMNO leadership, he would have wallowed in the deeper end of the UMNO cesspool.
There was worse to come. Whatever was the deal (or no deal) that led to his release from prison, Anwar had since disappointed many of his erstwhile supporters who had dreamed of him leading PKR to greatness, even as an opposition party. That may explain why a marvelous man like Dr Syed Husin chose to merge his socialist party with Keadilan to form PKR. He too must have shared that dream; he too would now be regretting merging his party with Keadilan.
Immediately after his release, do you remember how his aides guarded and surrounded him like he was the absolute monarch of the nation at his house, Malaysia’s Buckingham Palace? And how Abdullah Badawi’s son-in-law made a seemingly visit of ‘homage’ to his ‘royal court’, though officially it was only to hand over a passport for Anwar Ibrahim.
Since then, Anwar Ibrahim has been playing coy about his rejoining UMNO. Initially he avoided giving an answer, but when he finally said he won’t rejoin, he would always add a caveat, a qualification, that seems to leave an opening for him, should he rejoin UMNO, to subsequently say that the ‘conditions’ that had made him say ‘no’ no longer exists.
I am not sure whether it has been the cleverness of Abdullah Badawi or his advisor (you know who) that kept Anwar Ibrahim at arms length yet never letting him lose too much hope (of rejoining UMNO), like a master angler playing a hungry toman or haruan. That brilliant tactic had been debilitating for Anwar's political standing, making him lose heart-broken supporters (who don’t want to see him back in UMNO but realises where Anwar's heart lies) and thus credibility.
His recent public campaigning for PAS in Pengkalan Pasir and PKR itself in Kuching produced non-rewarding outcomes, in reality disasters, signaling the so-called reformasi warrior had lost whatever luster he had as a vote winner.
Has this latest idiotic move by PKR, in reporting Dr Mahathir as being cruel to the UMNO Government (and thus the UMNO president) a desperate move to attract cheap publicity and arrest its flagging strength?
One could provide a variety of possible reasons for its action, but none would be complimentary to its credibility. Maybe PKR should now commit political euthanasia, while Anwar Ibrahim, who still retains his Datukship, continues his career and circuit speeches in the Western academia.
It’s agonizing for its erstwhile supporters and sympathizers to see PKR in political terminal illness, and its latest laughable/sorrowful antic has not help its pitiful, pathetic and piffling image. PKR should in fact report itself to the police for being cruel to its once-admirers.