Wednesday, February 11, 2009


In the aftermath of Najib's underhanded overthrow of the Pakatan state government in Perak, many debates have been raging as to whether Karpal Singh was justified in demanding that Anwar Ibrahim step down as leader of the Pakatan Rakyat. Anwar has hordes of vociferous detractors, all of whom claim to know things about Anwar the public doesn't - and yet they obstinately refuse to divulge what terrible secrets they're privy to that would instant disqualify Anwar Ibrahim as our next Prime Minister, if the information were made public.

Well, unless Chandra Muzaffar, Anas Zubedy, KTemoc, Ghani Ismail and other "anti-Anwaristas" come up with irrefutable evidence that Anwar Ibrahim has ordered out-of-favor mistresses to be cruelly murdered, or has billions stashed away in the Bank of Israel under Paul Wolfovitz's name, or is in truth a Singaporean covert operative assigned to oversee the systematic dismantling of Ketuanan Melayu and the NEP... I'm going to stick with Anwar as our first and most obvious option for PM for the following reasons:

1) He has the most experience in government (not just in politics); and while some might say that being the Sorcerer's Apprentice for 16 years is reason enough to disqualify anyone, I'd say his overt rebellion against the Evil Sorcerer has redeemed him in my eyes;

2) Anyone who has read the Tao Te Ching, The Bible, Bhagavad Gita, Rabindranath Tagore, Kahlil Gibran, the Complete Works of Shakespeare (5 times from cover to cover, I hear) and who can articulate a coherent thought on his feet is worth negotiating with;

3) Anwar has been consistent in voicing his concern for humble folk since his student days, except for a few years when he was rising up the ranks of Umno and he consciously groomed himself to become a self-confident global statesman by joining a riding club (at least he avoided golf, which would have revealed an utter lack of originality :-);

4) It's an asset to be able to communicate easily with the humblest as well as the most lofty segments of society - and Anwar has that gift firmly in his grasp;

5) Having been at the receiving end of Mahathir's gross abuse of repressive laws and misuse of the police force against all political threats, Anwar is unlikely to succumb to the temptation to be just another tinpot despot;

6) Anwar has fulfilled, in my book, all the identifying marks of a culture hero (pity not many have the required mythological understanding to perceive these criteria as significant and valid, but I personally live by these ancient codes and, just as an example: every mythic redeemer/messiah must undergo battle with his or her own deep unconscious, experience ego death and be resurrected on an elevated plane the way Gandalf the Grey fought the Balrog, died and was reborn as Gandalf the White);

7) Anwar's intelligence is not rigid but adaptable and flexible; the man isn't bound by dogmatic beliefs and principles (hence his being stupidly labeled a chameleon and manipulator - well, chameleons are NOT inherently "evil," just well adapted to survival!). His effortless charisma and oratorical prowess are a distinct advantage, so long as political leaders depend on speechifying to attract a following.

8) Anyone who has ever met Wan Azizah Wan Ismail or Nurul Izzah Anwar will understand why I say these two feisty women may ultimately be Anwar's greatest assets. When he was abducted by balaclava-clad police from his own house on 20 September 1998, beaten up by Police Inspector-General Rahim Noor, subjected to the ugliest mock trial in memory presided over by that despicable wormtongue Augustine Paul, and then thrown in prison for six years... his wife and daughter were thrust into the limelight and both blossomed into inspiring political warriors in their own right. I've said it before and I'll say it again: Anwar will forever be grateful for the support and strength of these women in his life - and because of that he will always have a healthy respect for the Sacred Feminine.


Zaid Ibrahim seems like a brilliant, affable person who doesn't need to be in politics but simply can't stay away and I certainly appreciate and admire what he has done by quitting Umno over his disapproval of Hamid Albar's misuse of the ISA. But that's about all I know of the man. Before I can endorse Zaid as PM material I shall have to track his actions a bit more. Anwar I have tracked since 2 Sept 1998 - and in my eyes Anwar Ibrahim's response to political calamity and crisis has been impeccable and impressive. Even while suffering the iniquity of wrongful imprisonment and a painful spinal disorder, Anwar kept a cool head, a forgiving heart, and maintained his dignity like a true king.

Nizar Jamaluddin is the man of the hour, having proved his mettle as Mentri Besar of Perak under duress. So obvious are the man's winning qualities, his being a PAS member seems totally irrelevant - although some may express a wee bit of anxiety that Nizar may prove a tad conservative in certain areas (for example, Nizar made a gaffe when he proposed that HIV-positive citizens be quarantined and received a fair bit of flak from NGOs and the public; however, to his credit, Nizar immediately apologized for not knowing enough about the issue and graciously withdrew his remarks).

Raja Petra Kamarudin has been nominated as potential PM by countless readers of Malaysia Today. Recently, there was even a suggestion that RPK inaugurate his own political party, independent of but aligned with Pakatan Rakyat. No doubt the man commands a massive following of admirers who appreciate his sticking his neck out for truth, justice and freedom. However, it appears to me that RPK is so accustomed to playing the role of maverick he would feel completely claustrophobic in public office, because he would no longer be free to express his feelings off-the-cuff as he is so good at doing. Personally, I feel RPK would be just the man to appoint as Special Adjudicator of the IPCMC, charged with the onerous task of cleaning up the PDRM. It would be a form of national service for him, from which he can be released after he's finished the job, which ought to take him no more than two years.