August 18, 2012
Tunku A Aziz on Malaysia’s Don Quixote of Politics
MY New Sunday Times weekly column of July 27, 2008, under the heading Cut the theatrics, Anwar, and let Malaysians get on with their lives earned me ferocious rebukes from many who had fallen under his spell.
They were so besotted with him that they were both unable and unwilling to expose and to see with their own eyes the man behind the theatrical mask.
On a superficial personal level, I find Anwar personable, polite and kind, but I am not concerned with Anwar, the family man. I am writing about Anwar, the eminent public figure of Malaysian politics. The focus of my concern, then as now, has not changed.
I had expressed the devout hope that “he has not totally abandoned his moral and ethical principles and this is the only way he will recover the moral and intellectual high ground that he once occupied.” I fear it is a forlorn hope.
When he made the claim of imminent mass defections of Sabah Barisan Nasional Members of Parliament to help propel him to Putrajaya to occupy the coveted seat of power and prestige, I realised we were dealing with someone for whom reality had gone out of fashion.
He had, as a result, left himself wide open to ridicule and that is putting it charitably. I felt constrained to ask at that time, “What has happened to the mass exodus to his camp of the ethically deficient political malcontents from The Land Below The Wind, across the South China Sea, that he predicted with almost messianic zeal and prophetic certainty to help him topple the government and transform the nation?”
Now, Anwar is back at his old game. Does anyone ever tell him that he has long been dislodged from his accustomed moral high ground? The moral support that he could once take for granted is wearing thin. Surely he cannot be so self-centred as to ignore the fact that no amount of inspired drivel being churned out incessantly by his political partners can insulate him from public odium of his brand of politics of adventurism.
While in public, Pakatan Rakyat coalition leaders fall over themselves in a great show of unity by proclaiming, at the drop of a hat, that Anwar was their anointed prime minister, Insha’Allah, in private, I can assure you, at least in DAP, it is a different matter.
I once asked a very senior DAP colleague in the course of our central executive committee meeting when Anwar’s name came up, “How serious are we about Anwar?” All I got was, “Ah, well, you know…”
It was a game of political hypocrisy and mutual deception played by people who have long ago forgotten that expediency was no substitute for honour.
I should remind Opposition stalwarts aspiring to change this nation that there is honour even among thieves. They still have time to stop their silly charade of “Anwar, the Prime Minister” after the next elections. It simply is not funny any more. Chairman Karpal Singh and I were the only ones in DAP to have come out publicly against party hopping.
I quote here from my earlier writing, “I cannot imagine anything baser and more grotesque than attempting to corrupt and seduce perfectly decent and honourable parliamentarians to betray the trust of the voters who have put them there in the first place to represent them in their constituencies.
“What kind of message is Anwar sending to the people of this country and, in particular, to young people now beginning to take an interest in political issues?”
They make a big song and dance about what they claim to be a defective electoral system before every election. I have always said that elections in our country are free but not fair.
Their constant refrain about the unfairness of it all somehow was muted when in 2008 the same defective process that they had vented their spleen on with demonic vehemence catapulted them into power in five states. They did not complain about the results then.
Now, with elections round the corner, the same shrill refrain is being heard again, with regular monotony. His pursuit of his brand of politics has become a serious distraction to the transformation programme the nation needs as part of the national road plan towards a more open, just and accountable society.
If Anwar is all Pakatan Rakyat can offer the nation in search of principled, effective and ethical leadership, then, mark my word: be ready to be short changed on every count.
Is this the kind of change they have in mind for us?