by Lim Chee Wei
An obituary is something that is not easy to write. One never knows what to say as consoling those that have lost a loved one is nearly always an exercise in futility. The violence and chaos that rained down on thousands of bused-in opposition members led by PKR deputy president Azmin Ali yesterday was the final nail in the coffin of the political life his mentor, Anwar Ibrahim.
I am not a fortune-teller but the writing is clearly on the wall. This is the beginning of the end of the political career of Anwar Ibrahim which has spanned more than 40 years.
Full democracy in Malaysia is dependent on the setting up of a sustainable and viable two-party system. People who saw Anwar lose control and sending his storm troopers in to destroy everything in their way are beginning to believe that for democracy to face the Barisan Nasional, Anwar has got to go.
The sheer desperation and willingness to cause the BN political damage at any costs, even causing damage and injury, shows that Anwar knows this general election is his last chance. It is the final salvo of one of the most divisive figures in Malaysia’s political history. Anwar will be 65 this year and waiting for the 14th election will see him just a shade under 70.
It is sad to see an otherwise intelligent man blind to the fact that he will never be prime minister. The destructiveness he unleashed on Kuala Lumpur this weekend is the final act of desperation of a man hoping in vain that he has still got one final act to play. What he does not realise is that his audience has left and moved on to something, or someone, that far more closely resembles an ideal leadership with which they want to spend time and watch.
Bersih co-chairman S Ambiga herself conceded that the police acted after the political segments of the rally intimidated and attacked the police. In her own attempt to salvage what has become an irreparable situation of chaos and violence, she naively asks the government to think about why some people would act so extremely.
The men who smashed the cars were not motivated by a desire for electoral reform. Rather, they acted because Anwar allegedly incited them to do it. Anwar knew that if they rained chaos on the streets, the police would be forced to act. Only then would his friends in the foreign media be able to dedicate many minutes of coverage to chaos in yet another Muslim majority country.
Ambiga has to take some of the responsibility despite her attempts to ask the crowd to disperse before the trouble started. She herself repeatedly asked PAS and PKR to shore up her numbers in the event that ordinary non-partisan Malaysians did not show up. It is as clear as day that Bersih has been entirely taken over by the opposition. This could have been avoided if Ambiga never started on that slippery slope of sharing the Bersih stage with Anwar in particular.
I am a Chinese and the first trait of my people is pragmatism, which is why we felt that there needed to be a much stronger opposition in 2008 given the wanton corruption and abuses of the BN then. But Pakatan would do well not to take my pragmatism for granted. Chaos and desperation are not pragmatic. For the first time since 2008, Anwar does not seem like a pragmatic choice for Prime minister.
Democratic progress is not about upturning cars on the streets and vigilante rowdies running riot in our cities. Democratic progress is the setting up of a true two-party system. Pakatan needs a real leader who believes in the ideals of democracy and has never practiced otherwise. With this, I hereby write the beginning of the end of Anwar Ibrahim’s political career on April 28, 2012.