Unspun was in one of those business networking functions last night and linking up for the pasta last night when he fell into talking with the Ambassador’s Wife. She and hubby had been posted to Malaysia before and we got discussing the politics of Malaysia and the conversation wandered to Anwar Ibrahim, or what was happening to him.
She felt it was terrible what the government was doing to Anwar (why is he being called DSAI these days by the Malaysians? What’s wrong with Anwar?) and added the inference: “Well, they have to get him for something before he throws them out.” She was, of course, referring to the Malaysian Government’s charge of sodomy against Anwar, a charge that is largely perceived to be trumped up.
This set Unspun wondering. She was, IMHO, quite right in her infrence about government motivation but was she right about Anwar’s capacity to throw the rascals out?
Contrary to the Ambassador’s Wife, Unspun thinks that Anwar is the government’s imaginary Frankenstein’s monster and that if left to his own devices Anwar would get nowhere fast. Martyred by a largely hated government is the best thing to happen to Anwar since Mahathir conscripted him into Umno.
Anwar’s party won many votes in the recent elections, not because people were enamored of Anwar but because Malaysians were disgusted with the Barisan Nasional, Badawi’s lack of leadership and the all too visible son-in-law and his cronies.
After that Anwar began to seem like a likely Prime Minister, again because of the continued political fumblings of Badawi and a lack of leadership among the elite in Umno. The likely successor Najib was so tied up with the Mongolian model murder case that he could not project any leadership qualities, if he has them.
Combine this with the economic turmoil sweeping the world and Malaysia that has resulted in skyrocketing fuel and food prices and you have a recipe for disaster. Nature abhors a vacuum. People in economic and political hardship doubly abhors a leadership vacuum.
So Anwar is the only personality to turn to in Malaysia at the moment. And this is why the Umno-wallahs fear him. Not because he is strong and great but because they themselves are weak and haplessly helpless. This being the case they have tried to destroy their biggest threat using the arsenal available to the politically infirm: a sodomy charge.
If the Umno wallahs have any brains at all they would try benign neglect of Anwar and leave him to unravel in the spotlight of him unfettered freedom. That might prove more effective in fighthing Anwar than what they are doing now.
Anwar, after all does not have the popular support of many thinking Malaysians, especially those who remember his chameleon like switches that his track record attests to.