Saturday, August 9, 2008

‘Anwar is a…’

…snitch of the U.S., a sodomiser, a threat to Malay unity, an agent of the Chinese community, an opportunist, a self-centred and self-serving politician.’

We know that the above will be among the ingredients of the UMNO propaganda to discredit Anwar among the voters of Permatang Pauh in the coming days. Yes, we know there will be a recipe to sabotage Anwar’s campaign alright; one based not on the recent accomplishments of UMNO under the Badawi regime, but rather, it’ll be one driven by trying to shred Anwar’s reputation and credentials to pieces.

Well, how could the UMNO strategy to block Anwar from returning to parliament be based on anything else but a campaign of character assassination? As is typically and predictably the case when a political party begins to reach a point where its leadership becomes shallow and fraught with fundamental flaws, is directionless, without vision, without a constructive agenda, and lacking in public confidence, how else could it seek to retain its dominance? It sure cannot run on its dismal record. So, it tries to cling on to power by destroying its opponents through personal attacks and political persecution.

Why would we expect UMNO, in this instance, to run on its record? It would be tantamount to committing political suicide. The strategic approach would be to make your opponent the ‘bogeyman.’ And, yes, the best way to do that is through good, old-fashion scare tactics. Now we all know UMNO’s experience and reputation for deploying scare tactics. If there was a noble prize for such talent, UMNO’s credentials on this front would give Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe a good run for his money.

Is it any wonder that all we have seen is UMNO running away from its record and trying to throw up smoke-screens to further distract the public from its dismal performance on addressing the real issues that matter to the public? UMNO has to count on the fact that the voters of Permatang Pauh do not see through these phantom distractions and its smoke and mirrors. Given that the reputation of the regime is in tatters, it is hard to imagine them pulling off such a feat.

I realise Anwar is not a novice at Malaysian politics; he knows very well how ‘down and dirty’ it can get. Indeed, there may be no one else who has been victimised by such politics as he has. He knows full-well what UMNO is capable of. That is precisely why his most recent public remarks about toppling the Badawi regime seem especially revealing and noteworthy. I imagine, while he is not underestimating his foes and taking anything for granted, he’s got to be confident about the by-election. Which should lead us to think that despite all the character assassination that will go on, he and Badawi probably both recognise what the outcome in Permatang Pauh is likely to be?

Therefore, wouldn’t it be reasonable to extrapolate from this that Anwar understands fully that the real battle to stop him is going to happen not in Permatang Pauh, but in fact where Badawi and UMNO still have the most sway, influence, and control: the judiciary.

Anwar is a….

[Stay tuned.]

G. Krishnan