Sunday, 13 May 2018

Anwar flexing his muscle!

I'm giving space below to my old schoolmate, Leslie Lee Kim Guan, to give his analysis and opinion on Rafizi Ramli's public outburst yesterday after the Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, had appointed Lim Guan Eng, Mohammed Sabu and Muhyiddin Yassin to head the Finance, Defence and Home Affairs Ministries, respectively.

Anwar flexing his muscle!

In our Malaysian politics sometimes there is more than meets the eyes.

In my earlier prediction,  the absence of Azizah during the press conference on the three Cabinet posts by Tun Dr Mahathir may be attributable to her unhappiness that PKR was unfairly accorded. This is understandably so.

I strongly believe that Rafizi was doing his boss' bidding because of some of the reasons I stated earlier which to me have justification.

I recall in 2008 after Selangor fell to Pakatan Rakyat that Anwar appointed his brother to be the Economic Adviser to the Selangor government.

I personally did not agree with this move by Anwar then as it was not merit-based for the people's interest but nepotism rearing its ugly head and DEFINITELY contradictory to Reformasi. OTOH after hearing and having personally met Nurul Izzah, notwithstanding she is Anwar's daughter, I am impressed by her capability, competence and sincerity to serve our nation, and I believe given time in Ministerial experience she will make a good Prime Minister for our country and its people in the same way Lee Hsien Loong has done for Singapore.

Fast forward to the current situation, I felt that Rafizi Ramli is personally not interested in the position because he believed in a good, capable and efficient government of the people, by the people and for the people with effective checks and balance. This was said during his campaign. He is still relatively young but intelligent and capable, and he realised there is a dire role that he can play to transform the country for the better. He opted for the uphill difficult obstructive challenge of Reformasi instead of an easy path through UMNO. This speaks volumes of his unquestioned character.

However if his party or the Pakatan Harapan government appoints him in any ministry including Finance, I think he will do a good job. As for our new Finance Miniaster, Lim Guan Eng, I believe that he will be discharging in time to prove himself as the best Finance Minister just like what he has done for the people of Penang as Chief Minister.

Washing dirty linen in public is another issue altogether. In any case what PKR wanted is consensus or agreement by PKR in any major decision by the current Pakatan Harapan government or by Mahathir since PKR now has the largest number of MPs followed by DAP closely behind.

From this outburst PKR indirectly is serving notice to Mahathir not to bulldoze his way like what he did as Prime Minister during his previous 22 years when UMNO was the majority partner. UMNO practically got its way in all decisions taken with all the other coalition minority partners including MCA and Gerakan without consensus. Thus no checks and balance, no discussion nor consultation or deliberations and was the main contributary cause for the demise of MCA, Gerakan and MIC.

In fact, in Barisan Nasional's final phase, practically almost all government policies were decided by the UMNO Supreme Council and not the BN Supreme Council nor by the Cabinet. The BN Supreme Council and the Cabinet were mere rubber stamps. The unchecked power and arrogance of UMNO led to its abuse and mismanagement, corruption, etc etc. UMNO was the main cause of the BN's failure in GE14.

Anwar is now telling Mahathir that although he is PM, the big brother is now PKR and therefore PKR will not agree to unequal/unfair distribution of Cabinet posts. This is precisely what Mahathir did  during his previous administration to his minority partners in BN.

I believe Mahathir will similarly do it this way if this GE14 resulted in Bersatu having a majority number in MPs.

Mahathir realising his 12 MPs are too small in number hence this may explain why he is keen to accept crossovers especially from his good friend Taib's PBB and indirectly reduce the percentage of PKR's. Politics is a numbers game.

I noted that Mahathir recently constantly emphasised that PH's four-party partnership is an equal partnership although obviously with 12 MPs viz-a-viz PKR's 47 and DAP's 42 his number and percentage is lesser. I guess he had conveniently forgotten his different tune whilst he chaired BN.

What TM wanted is equal distribution of all Cabinet posts to all four parties. If I were to be in his shoe I will do the same. However statistically it is two for Bersatu (PM and Home) whereas ONLY one each for the rest. Understandably, PKR is unhappy because the party has only the Deputy Prime Minister post without a ministry.

The outburst by PKR, whilst is not reflecting good signs of PH solidarity to the public, may now result in Mahathir to get Anwar's and DAP's agreements in major future PH's decision, for example, in the composition of the rest of the Cabinet positions. Further, Anwar is supposedly going to take over the helm in two years' time.

Mahathir has to adjust that his premiership this round can no longer be autocratic like before in BN's time. It is limited to two years as agreed and he has to obtain consensus from all and particularly from big brothers PKR and DAP.

In any new partnership/relationship the honeymoon period (getting rid of Najib) is over and the jostling for position and power is now just beginning. This may explain why the Press had to wait three to five hours yesterday whilst possible serious haggling was taking place on the other side of the wall.

There will be more haggling coming up in Round Two (in one week's time) for the balance of seven ministries out of the initial 10, and in Round Three (in the next two to three weeks) for the balance of 15 ministries. The time frame for forming the entire Cabinet is now longer than originally scheduled!

One thing for sure which is good for the country is that despite this internal bickering, Mahathir cannot be autocratic like before in the current PH government. He is determined to rectify all the wrongs in government and our institutions, and DEFINITELY those acts that were inflicted upon him personally.

PH must not deviate from the main focus about correcting the ills and reforming our new Malaysia for the benefit of the people and country in a better tomorrow.

Most importantly the PH government should reflect on itself to the public as a viable, cohesive, harmonious, competent, responsible, accountable and united coalition party and not a party of  marriage of convenience, and be honourable and fair to each other internally in its relationship amongst itself, thereby guiding andharvesting the fruits for the people as per its manifesto. The promise to deliver has to be carried out including the two years for PM tenureship.

Should PH be one single multi-racial and multi-religious united party for the future of Malaysia and for Bangsa Malaysia in the foreseeable future? Can PH achieve what Dato Oon Jaafar failed?

With our natural and human resources, can Malaysia be as developed as Singapore in the coming decade or two from now under PH?

Is Anwar prudent to flex his muscle yesterday (DAP, Ananah has to be thankful or otherwise) or should he wait till two years later when he assumes the PM's chair? Time will tell as politics is not a static game.

Leslie Lee

No comments: