Friday, February 25, 2011

Anwar Ibrahim & The Way Forward

It takes a great courage for Dr Malcolm Puthucherry to write a soft criticism of Anwar Ibrahim's assertion that he does not need a shadow cabinet because Pakatan had set up parliamentary committees to mirror the ruling party's cabinet.

Malcolm wrote:

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s assertion that Pakatan Rakyat (PR) does not need a shadow cabinet is nothing less than an admission that the three-party pact he leads is very much less than the sum of its parts.

He added:

No, the real reason for not having a shadow cabinet which Anwar, ever the consummate political creature, refuses to tell the public is plain and simple: PR lacks the necessary cohesion and collective vision to come to an agreement between its member parties as to which ministerial portfolio ought to be entrusted to which party and the courage of conviction to announce it to the public. No amount of obfuscation by Anwar or any other PR leader can cover up that vulnerability of the pact.

Real proponents of a two-party system would have been able to view the issue in a broader perspective. It is sad to find the writer, Malcolm, being personally and viciously attacked by Anwar's hardcore supporters. By doing so, these supporters are missing an opportunity to urge Anwar himself to take a serious look at the gains and losses he has made since the last general election.

Malcolm's argument on the need of a shadow cabinet is legitimate and logical. It has been my fear that Pakatan coalition members may not have a post Putrajaya plan. What happens after winning the federal power? The ideological and policy differences may be easily diverted and avoided for the moment because these parties are bounded by a common aim to bring down the Barisan government.

It is impossible for us to be convinced that Pakatan is ready to govern if the Anwar-led Pakatan does not convey to us a comprehensive and detailed roadmap to governance.

It is illogical and desperate to suggest that any announcement now will render these shadow cabinet members to vicious attacks from Perkasa, Utusan and Umno. Any Pakatan politicians hope to be part of the next cabinet must be able to withstand any political onslaught. If they cannot take the heat now what make us think that they will be able to do so later?

The only Pakatan MP who is actively engaging the ruling government is MP Tony Pua. What have happened to the rest? Where's Pakatan alternative budget if there is a whole parliamentary committee mirroring the finance ministry? How can Pakatan reverse the fortune of PKFZ, Bakun dam and a host of other financially disastrous projects? I don't think these issues can be easily swept under the carpet.

I would like to go beyond the issue of shadow cabinet. I would like to urge Anwar to take a deep look at his own leadership of Pakatan and PKR.

He must address these issues if he is hoping to make bigger gains/inroads compared to 2008:

1) Organisational weakness within PKR and Pakatan. Surely Anwar cannot walk on a moral high ground for what had happened to the defections in Perak, Penang & Selangor. Anwar must answer to the political chaos of Sabah PKR which has badly affected the coalition's chance in the next state elections.

2) Anwar must initiate a sincere and honest audit of his own leadership. It has become rather meek and unconvincing to continue positioning the whole coalition's fate on Anwar's leadership alone. Anwar's own political star is waning. The coalition needs to offer something more and something new to complement Anwar's oratory ability and personal charm alone. Anwar needs to facilitate and groom a list of next line leaders who are capable to take over from him. No one is indispensable and Anwar has appeared weary and tired compared to the 1999 reformasi movement. Age is a contributing factor. Next is complacency in his own party ranks.

3) Anwar must seriously ask himself if he had contributed to the dispersion and disintegration of the opposition front. Anwar was also a contributor to the creation of UBF, Kita, MCLM and others. If he had not being distracted by the latest sodomy scandal, a lack of new ideas to organize his party better and possibly poor decision to back some wrong individuals in his party these new forces would have been created because there is no real reason for their existence or need.

4) Caught in the web of sodomy scandal 2, Anwar should have made some strategic decision to initiate a leadership transition in his party and the newly minted coalition. I am not saying that we should use the sodomy case to push down Anwar. But Anwar should know who the authority is up against. A way to divert the attention away from him which may slow down the progress of his party and the coalition to build on the 2008 gains is to divert the target and attention away from his leadership of PKR and Pakatan. New leaders should have been groomed to take over his reforms agenda and work on strengthening the party and coalition.

It is still not too late for Anwar to rethink his own political strategy and positioning.

Meanwhile, I hope pro-Anwar supporters would react more kindly to criticism. By doing what they did to Malcolm is not going to set Pakatan supporters apart from the Barisan's.


Anonymous said...

You are really right. Every time there is a constructive comment, it is shot down not just by supporters but PKR leaders as well. The worse part is they like to compare with BN which is not acceptable to me as we want a standard of its own for PKR.

Anonymous said...

PR do not have the time to handle all these issues created by BN.Even if PR come up with sure nap shot solutions, do you think, they will appreciate??? They will just sweep under carpet when PR start to mention it, let alone come up with suggestion. Vote PR in first than you judge them - give them 10 years to show results. As long as the first year you see they are in the right direction (no results yet but direction is correct) I am happy already cause what happened to this beautiful country of ours is can not be any worst already.

Bloggers should help PR and not to cast doubts at every opportunity.


bangsa sepet said...

Well said.

joeawk said...

Your call to Annwar to evaluate himself, I have no complaint.

As for a shadow cabinet, it would seem appropriate too but under present circumstances in Malaysia, consider the gutter politics that has been played out everyday mainly by UMNO/BN, I just want to get rid of UMNO/BN.

Some 50 years of apartheid ala UMNO, corruption and mismanagement under the BN is way too long and too much.

Just imagine listening to PM talking about 1Malaysia and seeing everything happening otherwise and listening to the blatant lies of the DPM just make me want to rid UMNO ever so fast.

No, forget about a shadow cabinet when we know that any shadow cabinet would not be able to function in our political climate. It simply is uncalled for under present circumstances.

Anonymous said...

This blogger is NOT a politician, Anwar is............. that is the difference.

A politician needs to ponder over a host of issues. A blogger needs only a key board.
Leading a coalition is not as easy as it is made out to be by non-politicians.

Anonymous said...

Way, if no shadow cabinet, then you very educated people would dump PR la. In other words, You very highly educated people soul prefer UMNO to remain la...... Well maybe ur wish will be fulfilled la, with people like you. Btw very educated people, who ran Mubarak out, it's d people of Egypt. There was no one person, but there were unity......

Anonymous said...

How will PR shape up? We do not know. All my friends and I know is that BN must go because it is too dirty and too broken down for repairs. We hope PR will be form a government representative of the Rakyat's rightful aspirations and rights. How long will it take? Doesn't matter so long as it tries and tries. No less than our country is at stake. All we pray for are decent people with integrity to be in government. Who cares about a shadow government at this stage? Just focus on the big picture - BN MUST GO. Only then can all the tainted institutions be revived.

Anonymous said...

What Anwar had said were true. If Pakatan draws up shadow cabinet now, it will become new bullets for BN to undermine and attack Pakatan in the runs up to 13th GE. Anwar is a smart person in politics and did not buy into BN stupid mentality. What the rakyat must do now is to bring down BN government first and then the real cabinet will automatically formed. See what happened in UK, Did they planned in the first place that the Conservative and Liberal Democrat to form a shadow cabinet? And in the end the Tories Gordon Brown fell unexpectedly. Hope Najib will get the same fate as Mr Gordon.

Anonymous said...

It would be idealto replace the BN when it has not been managing the wealth of this country in a prudent manner for more then 50years. Politics aside,I believe our children would love to live in a free society where rules and laws are just, equitable and all races living harmoniously and happily. Malaysia is a unique country.Let not a group of self righteous politicians enrich themselves and their cohorts at the expense of the rakyat.

PR or BN, the people only want those with honest leaders wo have the rakyat in hearts. Unfortunately, these category are rare and hard to come by.More so in a multi racial country.

If PR could not convince the people that they have a better team of "good people" to run this country, I believe most would prefer to retain the present one for a simple reason; it is better to deal with the devil you know than the one you don't. At lease, we know how to deal with them with the evolving political scenario.

DSAI, you understand that, I know.

Sam said...

"...shadow cabinet now, it will become new bullets for BN..."
"...PR do not have the time..."
"...I just want to get rid of UMNO/BN.."

No matter how well PR portrays itself and its roadmaps, the die-hards on the other side will not be convinced. Similarly, no matter how many times PR bungles, its own die-hards will never give up on it. So all the hurrays and the brickbats are not going to change anything in terms of support swing.

The target (for both sides) are really the fence-sitters (some not even registered yet).

My worry is,if PR is unwilling or unable to take every bull (let loose by BN) by its horns NOW, how is it going to convince the fence-sitters of its future potential?
For sure, BN will gleefully sabotage, chip away at the chinks in PR's armor, even pre-empt some of PR's 100-day goodies (like toll reduction, teachers' pay hike etc). But that's politics, and BN IS the incumbent. Why bawl about a stacked deck and BN's money politics, when PR's MPs are ever willing to take the bait, as in Perak?

The number one concern of the fence-sitters is, HOW will a future PR govt tackle the BN opposition monster, when they dare not even put up a shadow cabinet now, for fear that BN will sabotage and drag PR into a fatiguing house-to-house (or maybe triger in-house) battles? By locking the whole lot of them under ISA? Even then, how do they propose to deal with the likes of Hassan Ali who enjoy pulling the rug from under PR while hiding under its skirts? How will they reconstruct a hostile police force under the shadow of an apathetic army? When they walk into Putrajaya, are they expecting an Egyptian or Libyan reception? These are the immediate concerns of the fence-sitters - the ones who will actually decide the future govt.

So if fence-sitters decide to tick for BN, it's not out of love and respect for BN, but a resignation to the status quo, for lack of convincing PROOF of something better.

Is PR, as per its current contruction, up to it?

Anonymous said...

I feel that all so-called reasons against the setting up of a shadow cabinet are merely eyewash.

There is a strong possibility that the BN can be toppled, so it makes very good sense for PR to set up a Government-in-waiting.

I am sure there is no problem in the component parties getting together to work out a pact on who the shadow cabinet ministers should be.

And if they are deserving of our support, the component parties would not make unreasonable demands. They should know who among them are capable enough to be shadow ministers.

I feel the real reason, based on PKR politics, is that Anwar Ibrahim wants Azmin Ali to take a very important portfolio, but the other component parties are unable to accept that. So therefore, no shadow cabinet.

It is said that Azmin is Anwar's blue-eyed boy, but from my contacts, it appears that Azmin is much,much more than a blue-eyed boy.

So I guess the strategy is to hope for the BN to be toppled, and the component parties forced to accept Azmin in a very senior position on the threat that PKR will let the new Government collapse, if Anwar's demands are not made.

Anonymous said...

Not need to show off a shadow cabinet just because Najib has taunted Anwar to do so! PR must have their EVEREADY cabinet in place, though. There is NO need to show it off in public. Every right-thinking anti-BN voter's top priority is to vote OUT the CORRUPT regime! Why should PR let its rival/enemy know their strategy? Play smart, PR! Anwar, delegate the "shadow" cabinet to the PR partner-leaders who do not have excess baggages to carry to put that bullet-proof cabinet in place, if it hasn't been set up. Let your better half (the PKR President) stand in your place...after all, it was Wan Azizah who initiated PKR, right? She did a great neat job, until greed also showed up to engulf and swallow all those HODOH kataks into oblivion! Learn a precious lesson from all the errors, please! Failure is the mother of success! NEVER SAY DIE!

Anonymous said...

As for the FENCE SITTERS - the easy way is to tell them what happen to North Africa and Middle East. The Lybians are so fedup of their leader, they are willing to fight against his Niger army with stones and whatever means. Col Gaffadi has been sucking up so much money and corrupt the system and if the people do not stand up, what will their children say if their parents did NOTHING for them? In Malaysian context, thepayback time is during all elections. The people revolt even THOUGH there is NO ONE NEXT IN LINE TO TAKE OVER THE RUNNING of the country how much more of a team or shadow cabinet. They are just wanting to change the system.

This Dr is very academic and having goodlife with good connections to the top. What about those that are less fortunate?