Monday, December 02, 2019

Succession Issue: Best Left to PM and Anwar

A Kadir Jasin

بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيمِ

PREAMBLE: Views expressed herein are entirely mine. I am writing in my personal capacity as a blogger. It has nothing to do with whatever position I may hold.

Anwar in one of his regular meetings with the Prime Minister
FOR a 72-year old man who have had a busy and, possibly, challenging day, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was full of zest when he made a brief appearance at the 20th anniversary of Malaysiakini in Bangsar on November 23 last.

Then again that is the consummate public relations maestro known variously to friends and foes as Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, AI, Brother Anwar, Saudara Anwar and Pak Sheikh.

When I greeted him that evening, his first response was to point out to the similarity of the shirts we were wearing.

Anwar is a sartorially conscious person and an expert at disarming opponents but may not be as good as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in managing enemies.

I believe that is also the reason the two man "grudgingly" acknowledge each other’s strengths and weaknesses.

I am both lucky and unlucky knowing them somewhat closely for a long time – Dr Mahathir since 1964 and Anwar from 1982. But there has always been a price I have to pay.

As I have stated many times before, I first came across Dr Mahathir when he came to my village in Kedah to contest his first election in 1964. My late father was an Umno divisional leader then.

I met Anwar face-to-face in early 1982 when Dr Mahathir introduced him as “the newest Umno member” at the old Prime Minister’s Department in Jalan Datuk Onn, Kuala Lumpur.

Dr Mahathir and Anwar in those early days
Dr Mahathir was then into the first year as Prime Minister and was about to hold his maiden general elections. Anwar had just resigned as President of the Malaysian Muslim Youth Movement (ABIM) and I was then Associate Editor of the Business Times.

As a journalist at Bernama and later at the New Straits Times Press (NSTP), I did not hold a positive view of Anwar. When I joined the National News Agency as a cadet reporter in 1969, Anwar was rebel-rousing at the University of Malaya.

It was natural of us in the mainstream media to portray him as a sort of enemy-of-the-state for his political activities. This led to his arrest by the government of late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein in 1974 under the Internal Security Act (ISA) for his role in the Baling rubber smallholders protest. He was detained for 22 months.

So, at the press conference that followed, I asked him to prove his membership of Umno by citing his membership number. Every Umno member has a number.

Before he could answer, Dr Mahathir stepped in to say something to the effect that “like you” (referring to me), in Umno if the parents were members, the children too were considered members.

Anwar’s late father, Datuk Ibrahim Abdul Rahman, was a senior Umno leader in Penang who once held the post of Parliamentary Secretary.

Challenging 16 Years

Under Dr Mahathir’s tutelage and protection, Anwar rose quickly to become Umno Deputy President and Deputy Prime Minister in 1993 and his anointed successor. I described him as the crown prince of Umno.

For me personally, it was a “challenging” 16 years (1982-1998), partly because I did not always agree with Anwar’s way of doing things and his aggressive empire-building.

Still I believed that there should be a limit to demonising him in the media following his 1998 sacking from Umno and the government, and his subsequent imprisonment for abuse of power and sodomy. The latter conviction was overturned in 2004.

I thought he had suffered enough and, furthermore, he thrived on publicity. The more he was condemned in the media the more his supporters would rally around him.

A chance meeting at the Malaysiakini anniversary celebration
I wasn’t altogether wrong. Although the Barisan Nasional (BN) succeeded in retaining a two-third majority in the 1999 General Election, the opposition did well and Anwar’s Reformasi lived on.

That was principally the reason why I resigned as the Group Editor-in-Chief of the NSTP in 2000. I disagreed with the view that the media should continue to demonise him and actions be taken against his alleged supporters in the media.

Birth of Pakatan Harapan

Fast forward to the kleptocratic era of Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Abdul Razak – almost 20 years after Anwar’s sacking from Umno and the Cabinet - I mentioned to Dr Mahathir that the consensus among the oppositions on the upcoming General Election might not be achieved unless he and Anwar met face-to-face.

I said, in all those years that he and Anwar were a team, most things were directly decided and done between the two of them. At least that was my impression in dealing with them in those 16 years.

By the same token, it’s best to leave the issue of the handover of power to the two of them. Interference could jeopardise the agreed transition.

And if Anwar had learned anything from the past, I believe he should rein in his impatient supporters.

After some hesitation and difficulty, they met in the courtroom of the Kuala Lumpur Court Complex on 10 February 2017 where Anwar was attending a defamation trial against Utusan Malaysia and TV3.

They had an earlier meeting also at the Kuala Lumpur High Court when Dr Mahathir turned up to give support to Anwar in his challenge against the National Security Council Act.

Dr Mahathir accompanied by Prof Dr Razali (2nd from left). He was former Abim President
That 2017 meeting sealed the understanding that culminated in the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) joining the Pakatan Harapan (PH). Other meetings followed which saw Dr Mahathir being appointed PH Chairman.

At the PH Convention on January 7, 2018 in Shah Alam, Dr Mahathir was announced the candidate for Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as the Deputy Prime Minister and that a royal pardon would be sought for Anwar as soon as the PH formed the government.

All the above had been fulfilled leaving only the transfer of power to Anwar for which no date was stated in the January 7 declaration.

This was confirmed as recently as on July 13 by the Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) Secretary-General, Datuk Saifuddin Nasution Ismail, who is a staunch supporter of Anwar but had worked closely with Dr Mahathir during the critical days of consensus building.

With the Dr Mahathir finally deciding to reshuffle the Cabinet following the shock defeat at the Tanjong Piai Parliamentary by-election on November 16, it’s timely to examine Anwar’s role.

The Cabinet reshuffle is sorely needed not only because the PH ratings are falling but also because several ministers are clearly not performing.

The Prime Minister could bring Anwar into the Cabinet as a special function minister although the latter had said, jokingly, that he wasn’t applying for a Cabinet job.

This was response to Dr Mahathir’s statement that he wasn’t sure if Anwar would be joining the Cabinet.

We could do well to reduce politicking and concentrate on running the country.



Mohd. Shah said...

I wish and really hope for a smooth transition of power, InsyaAllah.

Silent Majority said...

Maybe DSAI can replace AA as the Economic Minister. Malaysians are tired with never ending political games, we want obvious economic improvements, better living standard and higher purchasing power.

Manora Pokok Sena said...

Dato Kadiq, very sorry , I do not see him as a capable leader to take over from Che Det. I do not wish to elobarate the reasons. I oppine.

herman adnan said...

Pada January 2018, kedua dua belah pihak telah pun mencapai kata sepakat.

Titik Persamaan adalah Turning Point

P/s: Kalau nak kira Perbezaan, memang lah brouhaha... Raikan nya Namun pegang pada Titik Persamaan

Anees Khan said...

Salam DAKJ,

Let us pray that this beautiful country will always be lead by a good moral leader, who shall not only be a role model to us but also a person who has the blessing from Allah SWT.

This country does not belongs to TDM for him to choose our next PM. His choice always... not right.

Why not this time make the majority of rakyat choose so that TDM will never be blame again.

Law and justice said...

surely PM and Anwar are sufficiently mature to discuss and work out what's best for Malaysia in the succession.
You see so many fingers wanting to dip in the pie to give their half cents worth of advice, criticism and extreme views. PH was born with many sacrifices, hopes and compromises. It is still the best approach, brains over brawn, so leave it to these two gentlemen.

There seems to be a deep state in the PSD. The policy of NO MAXIMUM PAY to civil servants pay which was established during the former government's time is an outright disgrace and a big blot to the new govt efforts to right wrongs done.
Where can anyone find such a nefarious scheme in any other govt or country, it's hidden in daylight in Malaysia!
One can assume any civil servant can earn even much much higher than the PM, and on retirement his or her pension will be just as rewarding! Is this just and fair to civil servants who retired before this crooked scheme was hatched and who are receiving negligible pensions?
The PM, PMO, PSD, and the Finance Minister must review and immediately correct this anomaly. On the one hand civil servants posts are frozen, on the other, civil servants' pay are going skyhigh, there is no limit, no maximum to their income and pensions !!!!!!
Just simply re-establish the maximum pay levels and there will be a huge (mammoth) savings to the PH govt, and this savings can be used to reduce the govt's debt, and free up allocations to the deserving ministries.

CGL said...

This is a great piece. Yes too much politicking is what could potentially bring down PH. When there are ambiguities, politics flourish. Tun needs to be very clear in his narratives about the timing of succession. He also needs to appoint DSAI as a Special Function Minister-cum-PM8 as you suggested to squash the politicians and cronies who are overly ambitious, selfish and only interested in keeping their greedy empires instead of performing in economic matters and related national affairs.

Abitpusher said...

Kalau Tun M serah jawatan PM kepada DSAI, habis la parti PPBM jadi tak bernilai. Dah la parti paling sedikit kerusi. Maknanya DSAI janganlah berharap. Buat la Langkah Putrajaya lepas ni macam Langkah Kajang dulu. Akhirnya grass will suffer. Huhu.

wansee c said...

After he has had enough of Tun, with a pair of hidden hands incessantly poking from the sides, bashing on the head, shooting at the back and bombing all over Tun, now he has no qualms to request a smooth power transition? Tell me, what kind of coalition partner is this? A total craze for the throne has gotten his nerves on edge. Well, signals emit, he is meant and so ready to claim the #1 seat, but not any other 'anchovy' post. So, your suggestion is utterly out of question.

In retrospect, those numbers game attempts and other turmoils he had created and even to this day, he continues to get a thrill out of it. He just enjoys doing so as to hog the limelight and to be at the centre stage. What else he has yet tried? Has he learnt from the past? Most people doubt. It must be absolutely in his nature to be thick-skinned and confrontational. With a character like this, what makes you think that Tun should include him into his cabinet? Does he ever have what it takes to be a cabinet member? Let alone to be a Premier. Just take a peek at his own party. Many can't wait to witness the upcoming extravaganza. What a havoc and what a shame!

It was very unfortunate of you to have a 'clash' of dressed alike with this so-called 'do-no-wrong' very person. Did you have a nightmare on that particular night? Anyway, good to tell you that you looked so much smarter, purer and sincere than a fake like him which makes my skin crawls. I wonder, if you ever regret to have backed him back then? I bet, you do. Right?

myDesignWorld said...

Aslmkm, Datuk

I believe Kementerian Penerangan hasn't done its job well. the kementerian should be led by someone familiar with mass comm, social or political science, not a lawyer. The last three by elections are truly a let down and evidence that someone doesn't know his job functions.

OKJ said...

Salam Dato’ Kadir

Berita ringkas

1. Tentang abu Chin Peng saya malas nak komenlah sebab rasanya Dato’ dah tahu macam mana terkilannya orang Melayu bila Dato’ kata itu isu kecil. Kesian saya tengok waris-waris askar kita yg ayahnya mati ditembak komunis, jadi buta, lumpuh, putus kaki, putus tangan, tiba-tiba Dato’ kata isu ni nyamuk je. Ikut Dato’ la.

2. Cuma saya nak betulkan fakta bolasepak Dato’. Dato’ kata orang kita kurang ilmu tapi Dato’ sendiri salah beri maklumat terkini. EPL masih unggullah Dato’. Tahun lepas je Liverpool FC jadi juara Eropah mengalahkan Spurrs, satu lagi kelab Inggeris. Utk masuk final, Liverpool sendiri kalahkan Barcelona yg ada Messi. Biasanya bila jadi juara Eropah akan jadi juara kelab-kelab sedunialah. Dah macam mana Dato’ kata orang Melayu kurang pengetahuan tapi pengetahuan Dato’ sendiri pun salah.

3. Zaman sekarang ini, ilmu tu bukannya datang dari baca buku je. Tapi dari tengok TV, news online, ebooks, ejournals, discovery channel, audio books, potcasts, history channel, email, wasap, facebook, twitter, website dan berbagai-bagai sumber lagi. Cuma kita kena tahu menilai yg mana sahih yg mana propaganda macam abu Ching Peng tu.

4. Akhir sekali, saya pun tak tahu kenapa dari dulu sampai sekarang Dato’ sekali lagi nak pertahankan Anwar. Sekurang-kurangnya Tun Mahathir bersikap jujur terhadap siapa Anwar sebenarnya. Dato’ asyik pusing-pusing sampai sekarang. Terbaru ada lagi dakwaan terhadap Anwar oleh bekas pembantunya sendiri lagi. Azmin pun mempertahankan Anwar sedangkan kes dia sendiri masih tak selesai. Dato’ suruh jelah Anwar dan Azmin bersumpah laknat yg mereka tidak melakutan perkara tersebut dan itu semua fitnah je. Bukannya susah sangat pun “jika tak buat la”. Itu pun Dato’ tak boleh fikir ke.

5. Akhir kata, betul rakyat Malaysia tolong Tun Mahathir utk menjatuhkan Najib tapi tak ada pulak kata benarkan Anwar jadi PM. Itu perasan Dato’, Mat Sabu, orang PKR, DAP dan PH je. Apalah Dato’ ni, 2 benda berbeza pun tak tahu, Dato’ kata Dato’ macam-macam tahu macam professor serba tahu. Tapi ini pun tak tahu. Sekian TQ.

Unknown said...

Sorang dah nyanyuk, dengan kabinetnye rata rata underperforming n banyak merapu sana sini.. sorang lagi dgn perangai tak senonoh tak habis habis dari muda sampai ke tua tapi melayu bodoh dan buta masih sokong dia .. BN lg lah haram jadah busuk sebusuk Busuknya.. Taik babi lagi wangi dari BN sampah ni
Aku tak tau la nak sokong sapa utk jadi next pm kali ni.. Azmin.. Hmmmm mmg out la sbb perangai azmin pun lebih kurang mcm perangai
ex mentor dia yg x abis meroyan nak jadi pm.. Klu kat us atau china perangai perangai mcm babi mcm ni dah lama kena tembak ngan polis. Takpun gantung diri ..pakatan harapan.. Aku rasa menyesal vote korang lahh

TJ33A said...

The fact that this government has lost it's way is plain to see. A learned historian friend of mine told me to look at the French revolution for parallels as to what is happening now. Virtue-signalling, over reacting, infighting and general paralysis being the order of the day. The optics are not good.In their favour though, I guess that running this country is not an easy task at all so I hope that the Rakyat are somewhat patient and give them time to find a strong way forward.

About Me

My photo
I was born in 1947 in Kedah. I came from a rice farming family. I have been a journalist since 1969. I am the Editor-in-Chief of magazine publishing company, Berita Publishing Sdn Bhd. I was Group Editor NST Sdn Bhd and Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP Bhd between 1988 and 2000. I write fortnightly column “Other Thots” in the Malaysian Business magazine, Kunta Kinte Original in Berita Harian and A Kadir Jasin Bercerita in Dewan Masyarakat. Books: Biar Putih Tulang (1998), Other Thots – Opinions & Observations 1992-2001 (2001), The Wings of an Eagle (2003), Mencari Dugalia Huso (2006), Damned That Thots (2006), Blogger (2006), PRU 2008-Rakyat Sahut Cabaran (2008), Komedi & Tragedi-Latest in Contemporary Malaysian Politics (2009) and Membangun Bangsa dengan Pena (2009).