Subjudice or not, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim should know best that politics is nearly about perception. Wikileaks suggested that Anwar had walked into a trap.
The cable that dealt with Anwar’s sodomy case was dated November 2008 and said: “The Australians said that Singapore’s intelligences services and [Singaporean elder statesman] Lee Kuan Yew have told ONA in their exchanges that opposition leader Anwar ‘did indeed commit the acts for which he is currently indicted’.”
ONA stands for Australia’s Office of National Assessments.
The document also stated the Singaporeans told ONA they made this assessment on the basis of "technical intelligence”, which was likely to relate to intercepted communications, the newspaper said.
“ONA assessed, and their Singapore counterparts concurred, ‘it was a set-up job and he probably knew that, but walked into it anyway’,” the cable states.
Similarly, Najib had been accused of playing a part in the political conspiracy to set up Anwar and destroy his political career.
Najib's own controversy with the sensational murder of a Mongolian model, Altantuya Shaaribu, may turn out to be a heavy political baggage for him. French investigation on the submarines' kickback is still ongoing. It may disclose more than what the Wikileaks did.
Anwar's lawyers were quick to dismiss the expose by Wikileaks and claimed that it may be subjudice to carry the stories. Understandably, the stories on Anwar will do more to damage his leadership at a point when Pakatan is still wobbling and recovering from the internal conflicts of PKR.
PKR leaders should know that perception is key in politics. Moreover, they had tried to link Najib to the Altantuya gruesome murder with the intention of destroying his leadership integrity.
These controversies will not do both leaders any good. At this point in time, there is no indication that Najib is going to allow the Altantuya controversy to affect his leadership. His political baggage together with other controversies will be exploited thoroughly by the opposition in the next GE.
Anwar will face the same baptism of fire in the next GE. It has come to a time for Anwar to reflect on the survival and success rate of Pakatan in the next GE. He has been a target and will continue to become a prime target. This newly minted coalition especially PKR cannot be stuck in an individual quagmire for too long. To be successful and feature prominently in the Malaysian political landscape, PKR needs to grow beyond Anwar.
As long as the party feels that Anwar is the only capable PM material, it is likely that the party will follow Anwar's downfall if his opponents succeeded in tarnishing Anwar and his credibility.
Anwar should seriously consider taking a role of an advisor and rise above his desire to become the next PM. His party should focus on moulding and promoting other younger leaders, especially those with less baggage, to be prepared to accept the leadership mantle should Pakatan wins federal power.
If Anwar is unable to lose his marksmen, he may bring the whole coalition down with him. The next battle is going to be massive, crucial and survival threatening for Pakatan. It should shed as much baggage as it could in order to be more nimble, efficient and focused.
What Anwar has achieved is already history making. His next move will determine if his legacy will be embedded in a historic event which may change the shape and face of Malaysian politics permanently.
The next battle is a battle to select a lesser devil. Next, we will talk about good governance and visionary leadership. There is still a long way for Malaysia.
We need to get rid of institutional racism, corruption and abuse of power first before we can talk about sustainable development.