Is it time for Anwar Ibrahim to retire gracefully from politics? Without him, can Pakatan take on Umno in the next GE?
A few months to make or break a political party, a few months to resurrect or put to pasture an ageing political icon’s career, a few months to perpetuate a family political dynasty.
That is how long Anwar Ibrahim has to secure his political legacy before his party elections in the coming months.
If he does not succeed in what he wants to do within these few months then all that he has done to kick-start a once surging political ascent to be Prime Minister of Malaysia will come to naught.
All bets are off! All that Anwar has promised to do, will do and should have done can now be thrown to the wind.
In politics what matters is the present and your place in it and in the end, for politicians, political power is the ultimate aphrodisiac, the opium of their life that puts to rest any other considerations for morality and nobleness of spirit that will distract.
So hush all you soothsayers who dare to say that Anwar’s past are fast catching up with him. All you “Anwar no matter what” brigade can chill and be still.
No one, not Umno, not factions within PKR will have any say in the matter of his coming or going and neither will this writer.
Only Anwar knows what Anwar wants. What fascinates us is that his presence or absence will have cause and effects on issues that affects PKR, Pakatan Rakyat, Barisan Nasional, our nation and last but not least, you and me.
And to his credit Anwar knows this and is not beyond shamelessly orchestrating this universe that revolves around him to perform to his advantage.
This he has done in the past, he will do in the future and he is doing now to the exclusion of party, national and any other interests but his own.
From the time he first came into our consciousness with his arrest under the ISA for leading student protests against rural poverty and hunger in Baling for which he was incarcerated for 20 months in Kamunting, Anwar has been his own judge, jury and executioner responsible for every situation he has found himself.
He decided to join Umno and then choose to be DPM no matter what he had to do, and he did much. He also decided that the time had come for him to leave Umno and the timing was his alone – Mahathir merely delivered the coup de grace.
Mahathir pulled the trigger after Anwar had sentenced himself to political death within Umno by his own hands.
Mahathir could not do anything else but that. In between Anwar did what he had to do to achieve the goals he had set for himself.
Fast forward to today.
To stay or to leave?
Anwar stands poised to make his next move. Only one constant occupies his mind and everything else is a variable.
He is now asking himself what would be the best thing he could do for himself. To stay or leave politics?
Should Azmin Ali or Nurul Izzah lead PKR? Will PKR survive his departure? Will Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and Nurul still have relevance within PKR and Pakatan if he leaves? Does Pakatan need Anwar to hold it together?
All this and more will be put on hold while Anwar debates with himself on what he wants to do. Once he decides, PKR and Pakatan will make the necessary adjustments to proceed with or without Anwar.
Without Anwar in PKR, the void will be filled by Azmin and his cohorts – already chaffing at the bit for having to wait so long while Nurul Izzah grows stronger with every passing day.
If she tries hard enough, Nurul Izzah can possibly work with Azmin but she cannot eliminate Azmin.
Mathematically Azmin has got all the numbers and bases covered to ensure that he, not anybody else, will fill the void left by Anwar’s departure from PKR.
If Anwar stays, then the status quo remains but it will be to the detriment of Pakatan Rakyat.
I say detriment because already we see Pakatan losing most of what it had gained in the 13th general election to Umno. All the political capital and goodwill from the 51% support of the rakyat is fast dissipating as Umno regains its sense of direction lost in the close in fighting before, during and immediately after the 13th general election.
You and I know where Umno is headed and for sure it is not away from Putrajaya. Pakatan must regroup and refocus against a resurgent Umno.
Against an Umno that has seen the worse that Anwar and Pakatan can throw at them and survived. To win against Umno, Pakatan , as they are now, has got zilch! Naught! No chance in hell!
With Anwar around, Pakatan cannot refocus or regroup to face Umno in any election now or in five years time.
So any which way you look at it, stay or go, Anwar loses. If he stays he deprives Pakatan out of the ability to go head to head with Umno in the next GE.
If he goes, Nurul and Azizah will go and PKR becomes another Umno, albeit within Pakatan ranks.
So tell me friends, what would you do if you were in Anwar’s situation? Join Umno?
CT Ali is a reformist who believes in Pakatan Rakyat’s ideologies. He is a FMT columnist.