The defeat of Anwar Ibrahim in the making?

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Picture Credit: BFM

By Kazi Mahmood

Malaysia’s estranged political animal Anwar Ibrahim, out of Parliament and out of Cabinet, is finally seeing light in the tunnel.

But his Port Dickson move – as the by-election in Negeri Sembilan is called – has many unsettled.

After almost five months without a hold on his political future – dubbed the political orphanage – due to his absence from the Ministerial and Parliamentary frontline, Anwar is set to make a comeback.

Unless the people in Port Dickson decides otherwise.

The PKR, Anwar’s party, is saying low turnout might hinder his chances (that of a massive win) but the party will strive to the bone to drive voters to the ballot box.

However, this does not seem to be the drive from other parties in the country, with the opposition Islamist PAS hastily ganging with a shell-shocked Malaysian Indian Congress (MIC) party to fight Anwar.

The Umno is also saying it is ready to draw its voters against Anwar – though this might depend on the party’s top leadership.

The MIC was thrashed in a recent post-GE by-election. The MCA, one of the three remaining Barisan Nasional component parties, was also thrashed last week in a by-election, leaving them stunned and speechless.

But the Umno-PAS alliance in the Sungai Kandis by-election in Selangor delivered a mini-blow to the PH. The PAS won more votes than it did in the 2018 GE in this by-election.

It got the party ranting that it is back on track and with time, it will become a giant killer.

And this is the biggest opportunity given to the PAS to build on it’s ‘heavenly’ strategy to woo Malay voters in Port Dickson to sink Anwar’s dreams of becoming the 8th Prime Minister of Malaysia.

And what about the Pakatan Harapan component parties?

The PKR itself seems divided on the choice of the Port Dickson by-election. Some of its newly minted leaders asked Anwar to explain why a first time MP was ‘forced’ to quit his seat. And why now?

Indeed. Political animals have their own reasons to see Anwar sidelined. This gives them much power wielding within the Parliament without Anwar.

And it put the party in jeopardy, having a powerful leader as President but not having him in Cabinet or in Parliament. It is a bit crooked. But for some leaders within the PKR, it is the heavenly situation too.

This might mean that some PKR leaders would possibly, secretly, call on their followers not to engage in the by-election.

It might also be indicative of a tougher battle for Anwar on the grounds, without the entire PKR gentry supporting him.

Icon of Reformasi or not, the Malay voters in Port Dickson will become the most wooed voters by the heaven discourse of the Islamists and the supposedly rational discourse of disgruntled PKR members.

But then, there is the DAP. The biggest Chinese party in the country. The DAP could also harbour some silent or hidden agenda in this by-elections in Port Dickson.

Yet, it has no reason to go against Anwar Ibrahim, the man who brought them to fame and they now, more than ever, need Anwar in Parliament and soon in Cabinet.

The DAP is isolated in the PH with PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as leader of the government. Dr Mahathir, albeit a newly minted reform leader, will not be able to deliver on all of the reform agenda agreed upon by the DAP, PKR and Amanah, the splinter Islamist party.

The DAP will have to come out in full force to campaign for Anwar, Port Dickson being a majority chinese-Indian consitituency.

Doing otherwise will simply cause a massive collapse of the PH government. The majority within the PKR will never forgive the DAP leadership if they backstab Anwar in this bout that could reshape Anwar’s political future.

Knowing that the non-Malay voters are on its side, the DAP should at all cost get them to support Anwar and not to sit and watch their tele to know who has won, or lost.

In the end of it all, the Malay support may also come from Dr Mahathir’s party.

But if Dr Mahathir to is harbouring anti-Anwar sentiments (unproven so far), then a Bersatu in absentia on the ground will altogether cause a collapse of the nascent regime.

What the Bersatu and its followings is yet to understand is that Anwar, on his 3rd rerun as a comeback MP, is hard to eleminate.

Resourceful as none of them, Anwar has more tricks under his sleeve. They might as well be there in full force, shadowing no anti-Anwar hopes to get the maestro of reformasi inside the Parliament.

The rest, as they say, will then be history!