Saturday, March 15, 2008

Anwar's game plan strikes fear in Umno

"r r"
____________ _________ _________ ____

30something - that's all the MPs Anwar Ibrahim needs
to be the probable Prime Minister
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KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 - If there is one name that has pushed Barisan
Nasional leaders out of their comfort zone and caused confusion and anxiety,
it is Anwar Ibrahim.

When he said on Tuesday that the Opposition should be referred to as the
government-in- waiting, he was not referring to five years down the road. He
was referring to the next few weeks or months.

He knows that if he manages to convince 30 Members of Parliament to cross
over, the government of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi will fall.

Since the PKR-DAP-PAS alliance that he cobbled together won big on March 8,
taking 52% of the popular vote in Peninsular Malaysia and snaring 82 of the
222 seats in parliament, Anwar has become the most mentioned name in Umno

Along the corridors of powers and in Umno circles, there is a belief that
the former deputy prime minister will not rest and settle for second-best,
not with the momentum of being a reformer on his side.

He knows that the troops of the BN war machine are demoralised and its
leaders still reeling from the psychological scars of Election 2008. He will
go for the kill, rattling the coalition's cage, creating the impression of
an inevitable wave that some fickle-minded BN MPs will be tempted to abandon
the BN ship and join the Opposition.

An Umno division chief from Pahang, who requested anonymity because of the
sensitive nature of the information, said: "The talk on the ground is which
MPs Anwar is going to approach to join PKR. Everyone says that Sabah and
Sarawak MPs are being targeted. But I think everyone except the PM and DPM
are targets.''

Datuk Mukhriz Mahathir, in a letter asking Abdullah to resign, noted that a
move has been made to woo BN representatives to join the Opposition. The fea
r of crossovers is palpable.

Among the senior leaders of BN, the question being asked is this: who can
take on Anwar?

Increasingly the view is that no one individual is strong enough to
withstand the momentum of the former deputy prime minister. Abdullah is like
a general who has been badly wounded in battle. He needs time to recuperate
from the deep wounds he suffered - time which he may not have.
If Abdullah steps down and Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak takes over, the latter
will be vulnerable to a personal and potentially costly onslaught by Anwar.

During the election campaign, Najib was assailed by Anwar over the murder of
the Mongolian model and over a few defence deals. Expect the ferociousness
of the attacks to multiply if Najib becomes Number 1 now.

Even the return of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad could be counterproductive.

The Malaysian public believes that Anwar was wronged by Mahathir. This was
evident during the election when attempts to paint the former DPM as a
charlatan, racist and chameleon failed miserably.

So who can stop Anwar?

Professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, a political commentator, says that only a
united Umno and BN can hold the line against the Anwar-led Opposition.

"Anwar is pressing BN at 20 different points. Only if they are strong and
united can they survive. But can they stay united?'' he wondered.

The next few weeks will be important. If the new Cabinet catches the
imagination of Malaysians, the morale of the ground troops will improve and
it will boost the confidence of BN's leaders.

Otherwise, the grumbling against Abdullah will grow into a crescendo and it
may embolden Dr Mahathir or Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah to step forward to "save
the party'' - a situation which could lead to a party split like in 1987.

Such a scenario will be heaven-sent for Anwar.

Umno politicians believe that any upheaval in Umno or BN will convince the
weak-hearted that it may be prudent to cross the Parliament floor.

Within the higher reaches of Umno, the strategy appears to be to rally
around Abdullah, go down to the ground and get the troops ready for war. But
for Umno and BN to prevail over Anwar, they will need a few conditions to be

1) Abdullah must be able to hush his band of critics in Umno.

2) Abdullah must be able to inspire the troops on the ground.

3) Abdullah must be a strong leader and reform his party and the country.

4) Anwar and the Opposition need to commit a few major mistakes.

5) For the public to fall out of love quickly with the reform-minded

Probable Source: Malaysiakini

Daripada Abu Umarah iaitu al-Bara' bin 'Azib radhiallahu anhuma, katanya: "Kita semua diperintah oleh Rasulullah s.a.w. untuk melakukan tujuh perkara, iaitu meninjau orang sakit, mengikuti janazah, menentasymitkan orang yang bersin, menolong orang yang lemah, membantu orang yang teraniaya, meratakan salam dan melaksanakan sumpah."

(Muttafaq 'alaih)

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