Cry no more, my beloved country, Malaysia

September 26, 2018

Cry no more, my beloved country, Malaysia


by Bob

COMMENT | Saddened by the state of our country, I wrote a piece titled “Cry, my beloved country” six years ago.

But the unexplainable happened on 9 May. The old regime was swept out of power through an unprecedented electoral revolt. Hope has finally arrived on our shores.

However, the frantic rush by party warlords to install the next Prime Minister after the current one steps down mid-term is worrying. Still my hope is anchored on nothing less than a New Malaysia. Cry no more, my beloved country.

Two former Star colleagues of mine, both retired, one in Penang and the other in New York were trying to catch up with the distance that separates them just the other day in Petaling Jaya. Very soon they came to the same conclusion. They don’t trust Anwar Ibrahim, the Prime minister-in-waiting.

“And it is too much of a coincidence that every time Anwar’s name crops up in conversation, others say they don’t trust him too,” one of them said.

Indeed so, I agree with both of them but for different reasons, as I wrote earlier in my piece, “The Prime minister-in-waiting must not jump the queue”.

Losing the plot

I was a life member of PKR since 2008, but not anymore.  Anwar seems to have lost his Reformasi plot. He sticks to old regime politics not much different from what UMNO used to do. In the New Malaysia, we need statespeople, not apparatchiks.

His party, PKR, which is now the biggest component in the new ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition in terms of parliamentary seats, is hopelessly split with Vice-President Rafizi Ramli running against current Deputy President Azmin Ali to be deputy to Anwar, the President-designate.

This is not only Azmin’s second term in this party position, but he is also the new Economic Affairs Minister and former  Menteri Besar of Selangor. He was one of the better performing chief ministers the state ever had.

Azmin (photo) has his critics, who have accused him of putting his own people in the state government when he was Menteri Besar, as well as in the current federal cabinet. He is also accused of insisting on keeping PAS in his cabinet against party wishes.

Rafizi’s reason for running against Azmin is to make sure Anwar becomes the Prime Minister. The incumbent Vice-President accuses Azmin of coveting the premiership for himself and that the latter is in league with former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin and colluding with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Azmin is also accused of disloyalty to Anwar simply because he has not offered to give up his Gombak parliamentary seat for Anwar to be elected into the lower house in order to assume the premiership.

By this token, there now seems to be two prime ministers-in-waiting, not just one. Either way, the pretender to the throne is in a hurry to seize the moment now. But Azmin has been quick to punch back by saying Rafizi was still a “toddler” when the Reformasi movement started in 1998. Azmin said he had stood by Anwar and has stayed loyal to his struggle from the day the latter was sacked from the government.

Reformasi veterans like Tian Chua are aligned to Azmin. Among those  in Rafizi’s camp is Anwar’s daughter and Permatang Puah MP Nurul Izzah who was the “Puteri Reformasi” (Reformasi princess) and still in school when Anwar went to jail back then.

Nurul has come a long way since. She commanded the most votes in the Vice-presidency contest in Penang over the weekend, garnering 4,039 votes, far outnumbering her opponents.

Meanwhile, Anwar himself has confirmed things are not going well. He said unnamed leaders in PKR are allegedly offering projects for support in the party’s internal election. Is UMNO-style money politics making in-roads into PKR?

Anwar also acknowledged weaknesses in the party’s ongoing election processes, after voting was variously suspended in several states owing to alleged irregularities as well as violent disagreements.

A betrayal

This is plain betrayal to those who elected Danyal four months ago. By accepting this, Anwar is similarly tainted. This scandalises the whole notion of a democratic election, where the sanctity of democracy is now sacrificed on the altar of political ambition.

An ethical question mark hangs over Anwar’s Port Dickson Move. The incumbent MP there is PKR’s Danyal Balagopal Abdullah (centre in photo). He vacated his seat on Sept 12 to make way for a by-election for Anwar to contest to enable him to become prime minister.

In the 14th general election, Danyal won the Port Dickson seat in athree-corner fight, garnering 36,225 votes, with a large majority of 17,710 votes. He has now handed over the seat on a platter to Anwar.

The Prime Minister-in-waiting should have been more circumspect. There are other options for him.

Anwar’s electoral base has always been Permatang Pauh. When he was in prison, his wife, Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, now Deputy Prime Minister, stood in for him in this parliamentary seat until the last general election where she switched to Pandan, the parliamentary seat previously held by Rafizi Ramli, and won. He did not contest due to a court conviction for exposing a page of the 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) audit report. He was later bound over.

In a parallel move, Anwar’s daughter, Nurul, moved from her Lembah Pantai constituency to contest in Permatang Pauh and won.

We are not told of the reason behind this family musical chairs. No one would complain if either of them vacated her seat to make way for Anwar to return to Parliament via a by-election. This would have been better than the Port Dickson Move, which was very much outsourced to Rafizi.

It was Rafizi (photo) who had conjured the Kajang Move that morphed into a full-blown political crisis in Selangor in 2014.

The idea was to topple Khalid Ibrahim as PKR’s Menteri Besar of Selangor, and install Anwar Ibrahim as his replacement. The attempt resulted in a nine-month political crisis within the state of Selangor and the Pakatan Rakyat coalition, that also involved the Palace of Selangor. The irony is that the crisis concluded with the appointment of PKR’s Deputy President, Azmin, as the next Menteri Besar of Selangor.

The Kajang Move backfired. It can backfire again. As pundits would have it, Anwar would have succeeded in his Kajang Move. What if nobody turns out on polling day on Oct 13? Already the BN opposition has said it would not contest, and PAS may also not field a candidate. Anwar may suffer the embarrassment of facing an unknown independent. It may be a hollow victory after all. This does not augur well for a Prime Minister-in-waiting.

After May 9, we now have a two-party electoral system, the first in six decades. In the recent general election, the opposition did not expect to win and the ruling coalition did not expect to lose.

In the words of former UMNO leader and minister Rafidah Aziz, God heard our collective prayer. The people won. The eyes of the Almighty is on our nation. Man may propose this move or that move, but it is God who may dispose. I am at ease. Cry no more, my beloved country.

BOB TEOH is a faith-based writer.

The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

13 thoughts on “Cry no more, my beloved country, Malaysia

  1. Kajang Move got nothing to do with PD.

    The PD Move has all got to do with Mahathir 2. He has started it all just weeks after 9 May when he announced that he might stay on longer for more than 2 years. But 2 years as PM is the agreed periodwith all the component parties and PH.

    That had made most ,particularly Anwar, nervous. A major promise may likely be broken. Uncertainties and confusion were created unnecessarily, including mistrust .

    Anwar is buying re-insurance to make Mahathir 2 keeps his promise to him and people who voted in . He(Anwar ) said once became PM , his wife will step down from DPM position. ( and I hope will not contest again in 15 GE.). That will prove his sincerity to serve the people not for his family .

    So, in the words of the people, keep the trusts and promises with the people.
    Serve them with the best and in all sincerity.

    • Agree with you, kllaukl. Anwar could’ve reacted better to M’s about-face towards the agreement, but he’s not the one who started the present infighting.

  2. LaMoy, CLF, Semper , Isa, Tok Cik,,

    You have noticed that I have been very critical of PKR’s PD Move to make Anwar Ibrahim a MP. I think it is a sham democracy and more seriously,it is a betrayal of PD voters. They chose an apple in GE-14, and must not vote a lemon in Bi-E 18, whose ideological leanings are suspect. That could turn to be a bad deal.

    I am also averse to dynastic politics in a reformist political party. PKR has become an Anwar family affair, not what it was in 2008 when I was a member. Men like Tian Chua, Sivarasa, Khalid Jaafar, Yusmadi Yusmadi Yusuff have lost their influence. Dr. Syed Husin Ali has retired. Former Selangor MB Khalid Ibrahim is now with PAS. Only Azmin Ali remain; but he is at risk of being ousted.

    The 2018 PKR has become the power base for Anwar’s political ambitions, now that he is out of prison. He wants power desperately, and he is already behaving like the alternative Prime Minister. Standing in his way for this coveted prize, however, is the 93-year old doctor from Kedah and his former nemesis.

    At some stage in the coming months, Anwar will have no option but to challenge Mahathir and, in the process, destabilise the Mahathir 2.0 coalition government. This will become obvious as the PD campaign heats up once the electoral outcome is known.

    Like Bob Teoh and his friends, I can no longer trust Anwar Ibrahim. He has changed. Zahid’s UMNO, Hadi’s PAS, MCA and MIC will welcome him. Reformasi, Goodbye.–Din Merican.

    • I pass on this. I’m trained to see things objectively, and I’ve little information on what’s going on in Malaysia. People with little information should refrain from putting in their two cents for fear of spreading false word. I’ve met Anwar a couple times but not well enough to know much about him. All I got is a feeling that he is a pretty idealistic guy. Charming. I wish him well.

      The current government is a coalition of marriage of convenience with the only common goal was to get rid of Najib. Now that they have succeeded, I’m not a least bit surprised that power struggle emerges. The government is so new that it needs time for the power players to settle into places. Right or wrong, success or failure, the power players are responsible for their own strategies.

      It seems to me that most of the articles you posted and most of the commentators in this blog are a group of impatient people. They expect a microwave dinner to taste like gourmet. Give the new government some time to start the real cooking. Good food needs time.

    • No lar… We are just a slow cooker generation started from the 50s. We are just getting cooked slowly sufficiently for half a century, ready to be served anytime soon. There is no impatience for those being cooked.

  3. Din, i’m a realist not an idealist. Anyway, to be honest you make lousy choices when it comes to political expediencies.

    I too am suspicious of Anwar – but even more worried about Octo’s predilections and cronified Kakistoceacy. Not that Brader Anwar doesn’t have his share of cronies and lil Napoleans. It’s a matter of balance. Bad, worse or worst. A matter of degrees.

    I do not see Malaysia moving forwards, backwards or anywhere. It’s stagnant – with education, economy and social services at standstill. We need a charismatic leader – to goad and compel a more inclusive and progressive vision for this benighted country.

    The present Cabinet is not just ‘of Curiosities’ – like the previous one – but of Stuttering Idiots. You have Tokongs day-in day-out whacking the Kleptos – yet can’t make a policy without Gostaning (reversing) within 24 hrs. Example being Kula the Cook and his boss Tancho Man. In fact many Penangites are so fedup of the ex-CM meddling with the present state gomen, they told him to stay in Putrajaya in perpetuity. A Trillion ringgit debt? Bull testicles..

    The Federalism, that was so insistent under BN is now much worse and the States are more rather than less directly ruled by the Center.

    So i would rather have a not Obsessed by Automobile Archaic Leader – who’s way, way archaic even though he’s experienced. C’mon – what does actuarial science tell us about Nonagenarians?

    Does anyone have a better choice than Anwar? Puhleez.. la not Kak Wan or his daughter la. Have you really met them and picked their brains? Muhyi maybe – but he won’t be interested due to health problems. Mukhriz? Too Raw. Uncle Kit then? No experience ruling, only know how to oppose – like the fruit of his loins..
    CLF, I accept your observation re my political expediencies. At my age, I am still making mistakes and hopefully I am learning.

    I remember Dr. Mahathir telling me decades ago to get real and put Karl Popper aside and come to down to the ground when it comes to politics into the world of Hobbes and Machiavelli. You are the second realist to say so. I am trapped in my own paradigm. Thanks, pal. –Din Merican

  4. Since Bob Teoh is a faith-based writer, I would just reiterate I found peace in Niebuhr and Tillich.

    Tun Dr is 92. Malaysia is a democratic nation.
    It is time for the next generation of leaders to emerge.
    If not now, when? If not PD move, how?

    It is also of the rakyat’s interest to see that our political representatives compete. All of this working is just to prevent a bloody leadership transition in Karl Popper’s words.

  5. Today Anwar challenge folks deemed ultra liberal. I am just curious what is deemed ultra liberal. Against child marriage? Against religious school raping kids? Against education department encourage Muslim killing in order to defend Islam? I am sorry I had it with Anwar I don’t care if he is Islamic scholar cause I am sick and tired of of conservative Islam preach their intolerance Islam. I doubt Anwar is going to be tolerate moderates like me. He will use whatever he needs to be in power. Now Anwar doesn’t sound like a reformer more like UMNO 2.0.

  6. Anwar accusing of netcitizens pitting him against Mahathir in his statement yesterday. I believe the doing is his own out of his stupid moves soon he was released from the prison on Agong’s pardon. PD can decide in any direction but there is no guarantee that he would be the next PM. Time and tide will tell who will replace Tun but it is most unlikely the PD tide would bring any positive effect based on his behaviour and arrogance day by day.

    His buddies like Rafizi, Sani, Johari, William and others who ‘bodek’ him may propose but remember > MAN PROPOSES BUT GOD DISPOSES! Nothing is so sure in life, even our own lives but looking at Anwar, he is already building castles in the air thinking that he would live longer than Tun. I hope to live to see the drama.

    • Maybe you gotta many axes to grind with Anwar, Somu.
      I don’t doubt your angst, conviction and revulsion, although i can’t really empathize with you. Anwar is a political creature. All of us are – but some are more capable than others in navigating the Go-To-Jail Card.

      Rest assured Anwar will succeed Octo – whose resurgence is at best limited to his frailty and cognitive dissonance. Azmin and coterie ain’t no match for Brader Anwar when it comes to mucking about. I have watched them since the early 90’s.

      So Anwar will be PM, says the Tokongs, if not God.

      And i feel sorry for folks who wish ill on others just because of asinine parochialism.

  7. Faith-based writer should not dabble in politics. Leave religion out of politics, and politics out of religion.
    I will allow anyone with an opinion or point of view to do so as I respect the individual as sovereign .–Din Merican.

    • I actually agree with The. But, yet, the secular love Niebuhr.
      Bush’s NeoCons love him.
      Obama loves him.

      Perhaps, Niebuhrism is a uniquely American outlook that could keep this vast insanity sane.

      I do find peace thru Niebuhr. I still can’t see any second caste would want to support either Tun Dr or DSAI. Neither of them cares little for the second caste. But, struggling through the realization that all men are flawed, why not realize the pragmatic need for the political elite to run harder for their votes (this later piece is from Tillich). If I were a PD second caste voter, I would ask DSAI straight in the face, just put the report from Reid Commission out there.
      That is just being honest with oneself. Tun Dr can do that first if he cares for the second caste. The caste above second can figure out what to do themselves. If the caste above second has a problem with a second caste being genuinely honest, so be it. This caste above second probably just has a problem.

  8. ‘ An ethical question mark hangs over Anwar’s Port Dickson Move ‘.

    As leader of the Opposition then, he was politically persecuted. He must be made PM after TDM.

    Only as PM, he can be tested to lead his team.

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