That’s the way the cookie crumbles.
This is what is being touted about PKR in the wake of the continued insolence of Zulkifli Nordin and the attacks on Lim Guan Eng by the party’s MP for Bayan Baru, Zahrain Mohd. Hashim.
The antics of a pyromaniac were followed by the reaction-baiting broadsides of the party’s former Penang chief. There is the scent of mutiny in the salvoes let loose by Zahrain in recent days at the Penang Chief Minister and DAP secretary general.
He is upset with Anwar Ibrahim but apparently can’t bring himself to train his guns on the PKR supremo. It appears Guan Eng would do nicely as vicarious substitute.
A little over two weeks ago, Zahrain was nowhere to be seen when Anwar visited Permatang Pauh, to hand out free spectacles to poor residents, attend a DAP dinner in Bukit Mertajam, and then speak at ceramah in Cherok Tok Tun and Sungai Bakap.
Usually, Zahrain would be around to accompany the PKR supremo, though on this occasion he was less duty bound to. Last October, Anwar picked Mansor Othman, the present Deputy Chief Minister, to replace Zahrain as PKR chief for Penang.
Zahrain had wanted to be the PKR candidate for the Penanti by-election in late May 2009, a poll that was called because the incumbent Mohd Fairus Khairuddin resigned at Anwar’s behest following a painfully embarrassing run in the deputy chief minister’s role.
Anwar chose former his political secretary, Mansor, as the candidate for the by-election, to Zahrain’s chagrin. For Anwar’s January 15 visit, Zahrain, no more the state chief, was not required to be in attendance. But telltale signs of a rift were inferred when Anwar let on to state party insiders that he had not heard from Zahrain in some time and, having misplaced his Blackberry, was at a loss to contact his old Penang buddy.
Friends of some 30 years’ standing don’t usually have any problems getting each other’s contact numbers from mutual acquaintances. There then followed the spectacle of the public rants of Zulkifli Nordin over supposed threats to Islam.
Zahrain must have been unimpressed with PKR’s vacillations in the face of Zulkifli’s shenanigans, considered hugely damaging to the party’s image as multi-denominational. The barbs Zahrain aimed at Guan Eng are calculated to coerce his party to take action against him when it is already hard put to do just that to Zulkifli.
Angling for action to be taken
Meanwhile, Zulkifli has defied a PKR gag order by claiming that he knows of ulterior motives behind Christians wanting to use the word ‘Allah’.
Court approved use of the word is the subject of controversy, so it is said by some quarters, while others maintain the hubbub is contrived to serve the aims of elements conniving to forestall Umno’s prospective loss of power.
In sum, the darts now hurled by Zahrain on Guan Eng come at a time when PKR has drawn withering fire for having been woefully supine towards Zulkifli.
Today the decisions of a combined PKR Political Bureau and Leadership Council meeting in the morning followed by a Pakatan Rakyat presidential council meeting in the afternoon are not likely to impress Zulkili , neither Zahrain, if at all their outcomes impinge on PKR’s malcontents.
Ostensibly, the earlier meeting was called to discuss Zahrain’s fulminations against Guan Eng. The latter has wisely elected not to dignify them with comment.
Both Zulkifli and now Zahrain are angling for action to be taken against them, the better they can make alternative arrangements with power brokers who are intent on the next item in Malaysian political gamesmanship: the re-delineation of parliamentary boundaries.
Their redrawing, held every 10 years and which never failed to favor the powers-that-be, has to be endorsed by two-thirds majority in Parliament which the ruling Barisan Nasional were denied at the last general election and could now secure by default, with the help of some new-found friends.
Presumably, Zahrain’s prospective departure would not be unaccompanied. If he is joined by the PKR MP for Nibong Tebal, Tan Tee Beng, the charade will be complete in its turn towards farce.
For only last June, Tee Beng led nine of 13 PKR divisions in Penang in a petition to party headquarters demanding Zahrain’s removal as state chief.
Like they say, that’s the way the cookie crumbles.