Saturday, April 24, 2010

Is Hulu Selangor Anwar's Graveyard?

As a casualty, Party Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) would be in intensive care on this last day of the campaign for Hulu Selangor (24 April), meaning Zaid Ibrahim, even if he was defensible in the rogue politics that’s gripped this yawn into a sudden wake-up, would still be a cadaver when the results are announced tomorrow night.

But it is Anwar Ibrahim, the immense and overwhelmingly important political ego who lost his chance to throttle Najib Tun Razak for the run to the sun who is mangled, beyond any compare in the history of Malaysia.

Hulu Selangor was Anwar’s harvest. Now it is his graveyard. He does what he likes and he’s clearly lost his appeal.

Distanced even by his personal physician, Dr.Halili, after a shocking fall from grace that is shrinking the PKR into the smallest component of the Pakatan in parliament, Anwar should have known better than to grab at straws to clobber Najib who has made it to the top and is doing better by the day.

What did he expect to gain by using APCO as a bogey to spin Najib’s One Malayia into a by-product of One Israel? That is really hard to say.

Other than effecting echoes of the street-gangs that follow him in his campaign trail, Anwar’s Israelite bogey is limp, especially against the accusation that he has been Paul Wolfowitz’s boy and Wolfowitz was an architect of the Iraq War people here condemn as grand homicide and connect it to the Zionists and to Israel.

When the bogey is repeated day and night in Hulu Selangor while PKR members leave the party, it is Anwar who tumbles. Along with him falls Yusuf al-Qaradhawi whose name he now employs like it is his fervent prayer that the religious scholar will pop out from somewhere to tell us that he (Anwar) had never been a sinner.

Truth is, Anwar had left his flock of followers in ABIM and his supporters in the society by a sudden twist in his game-play when he joined Umno to become a Deputy Minister in 1981.

Many of those he played out before are still alive and have not forgotten the egophiliac, a factor that could have been a reason for why the Pas members, who had come in force on April 17 (nomination day) had then stayed out of the campaign until April 23.

It is apparent the Pas president, Abdul Hadi Awang, had left it to Nik Aziz Nik Mat, the party’s spiritual leader, to decide. Nik Aziz returned home from Mecca on April 22 and he decided the party should join the Pakatan’s campaign, which happened on April 23 two days before polling.

The rot is stacked on Anwar in Hulu Selangor where once he had been the favored choice for national leadership. The candidate of his choice, Zaid Ibrahim, had been merely a victim of an extraordinary circumstance he had not been clear about.

It's Selangor MB, Khalid Ibrahim, who has kept the PKR remaining alive in the state. He gave the lower income groups free water, he gave people who stayed on Temporary Occupation Licence (TOL) land for 15 years or more leasehold grants and he has recently relieved those who bought houses or shops in stalled township or housing projects from paying quit-rent.

These go a long way to win over voters. But it is generally known Anwar and his former secretary, Azmin Ali, want Khalid out.

DAP legend, Lim Kit Siang, had said Pakatan would need 85 percent of the Chinese votes in Hulu Selangor to secure Zaid. But the Chinese, who are 26 percent of the voters in the constituency, had retained Kuala Kubu Bharu for the MCA in 2008 and would not want to lose that edge in the arithmetic of communal power-sharing.

The number of Malay voters has been increasing more than the increases in Chinese and Indian voters in Hulu Selangor.

Politically it is the Pas that has the greater potential in the constituency, the numbers of its members having risen from less that 1,000 in 2008 to reach about 7,300 today.

The sum total of that weighs heavily against Zaid. He will lose tomorrow (25 April), by what appears on my screen as probably between 800 and 1,000 votes, with less than 10 hours left for campaigning.

But while Zaid can still give it another try in a different constituency, Anwar may have to kiss himself goodbye and once again become a cause celebre should he fail in court to undo the knot Saiful Bukhari has tied him in. Saiful was another one of his aides.

It’s sad. The truth, taken without a dash of fiction, is sadder still.

But in the night of April 24, at the Kuala Kubu Bharu stadium where the Pas spiritual leader talked, PAKATAN troopers came in a force of 60,000 mainly from Selangor and Perak. Most bathed in the illuminations of the stadium lights as they listened intently to the old man of Kelantan, Nik Aziz Nik Mat, telling them the Devil is Umno and if they wish for a better life in Islamic garb they should vote Zaid Ibrahim.

Anwar arrived late and as he spoke thousands began to walk out of the stadium, a few saying aloud they have to get out of the little town pronto or it would take them the rest of the night to get to the highway. Bon voyage! ---a. ghani ismail, 24 April, 2010


Result of the by-election of Sunday, April 25 2010: Barisan Nasional won the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat by a majority of 1,725. Its candidate, P. Kamalanathan from the MIC, polled 24,997 votes to defeat PKR’s Datuk Zaid Ibrahim, who garnered 23,272 votes. A total of 48,935 people or 75.87% of the eligible voters cast their ballots.

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