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Wednesday, 17 September 2008


PM Pak Lah (left) with Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak: It's time to move on (pix:NST) .

Majority tired of the mind games Anwar is playing
By : Kalimullah Hassan

TWO weeks ago, at a dinner with an Asean ambassador, I was asked within minutes whether a change in government would take place on Sept 16.

"Would it?" I asked the ambassador. I was really tired of people everywhere only talking about "Sept 16" instead of moving on.

"Well, Western ambassadors seem convinced that it is going to happen," he replied.

That's when I laughed and told the ambassador that if that was his barometer of determining the truth, then he had better tell his colleagues that wiser folk had been fooled many times in the last three decades by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

But that's Anwar's magic and gift. He can tell different things to different people, contradict himself over and over again, and still have many who believe him.

Arsenic poisoning, escape to Turkish ambassador's house because of death threats, the list could go on...

Maybe even the DAP's wily old fox Lim Kit Siang fell for the Anwar magic, believing that he would be a senior member of an Anwar-led government and would be able to finally push through policies and ideals he had harboured for more than four decades in politics.

Maybe some of the Young Turks in Pas believed in Anwar's second coming and thought about the Islamic reforms they could implement and enforce in a government where they would have an important voice.

Never mind that the DAP and Pas, despite being partners in the opposition alliance, have until today disagreed vehemently on the latter's Islamic state aspirations.

So there we were... having nice Italian food in a great ambience with yet another person wondering what would happen in Malaysia if 916 took place.

Well, 916 did not happen. Now, Anwar says "another few days..." and there are a host of reasons why he cannot announce the names of -- Western diplomats convincingly say 31 Barisan Nasional members of parliament -- those who HAVE crossed over.

Come on now, Datuk Seri Anwar. Get on with it.

If you have the numbers, go and form the next government.

God knows that the majority of Malaysians are really tired of these mind games Anwar and his cohorts like Kit Siang are playing.

One foreigner, who lived here for many years and now works in Singapore, perhaps best described it when he told me recently that "this is the longest election any country must ever have had".

Since March 8, when the opposition took five states and denied the once-powerful BN a two-thirds majority, Anwar has been predicting he will form the next government and confidently describes himself as "the prime minister-in-waiting".

First it was June, then July and then, according to Anwar, no later than Sept 16.

Each time he failed to meet the deadline, he would come up with new dates and new reasons and, meanwhile, what happens?

Foreigners who want to invest are afraid to put in their money because investors never like uncertainties. They want to see, if a new government takes over, what the policies would be.

Would Pas push through Islamic laws which affect the investment climate?

Will the DAP and Anwar's Parti Keadilan Rakyat have greater investment-friendly policies and throw out the remnants of the New Economic Policy?

Will there be riots and mayhem? What is going to happen?

And slowly, but surely, foreigners have exited the Malaysian Stock Exchange as well -- because of the uncertainties.

Foreigners do not think that Bursa Malaysia, already troubled by the slowdown and failure of some of the world's largest banks in Europe and the United States, the credit crunch and rising commodity prices, is worth the political risk Malaysia poses.

Today, we have some of the best run Malaysian companies trading at unbelievably low valuations. Yet, there are no takers. Why?

Well, thank you Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and gang, I say.

Some people, in frustration, ask: "Why can't they just show what they can do with the five states they are governing?

"If they are good, we will vote them in the next elections."

The BN has been taught a very good lesson for its arrogance, for the abuses by some of its menteris besar and ministers, for not delivering many of the promises it made.

Yet, the voters decided that they are willing to give the BN another chance at the federal level.

If the BN does not change, if it cannot win over the hearts and minds of the people again through good governance and policies, then this is probably their last term in power.

So the question asked is why cannot Anwar and Kit Siang wait until the next general election?

They did lose the federal elections, didn't they? And wasn't it Kit Siang who attacked Anwar in 1994 when the then deputy prime minister led the "coercion and crossovers" of state assemblymen like Datuk Yong Teck Lee and Datuk Dr Jeffrey Kitingan to cause the fall of the democratically-elected Parti Bersatu Sabah government led by Datuk Seri Joseph Pairin Kitingan?

What has changed now that Kit Siang is no longer against defections through coercion?

Perhaps, like all other politicians, the sweet smell of power is too strong and has overpowered principles.

Anyway, both Anwar and Kit Siang are now in their 60s. Five years is too long time to wait, perhaps...

The best thing Anwar can do -- if he has the numbers -- is to end the uncertainty, announce the crossovers and seek to form the next government.

Maybe then, he can restore his credibility, and maybe then our country can better equip itself in fending off global economic challenges instead of having Anwar's politics further mess things up. (NST Online 17 Sept 08)

Another new deadline, perhaps!

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