Much have been said about a Wikileaks sponsored debate (or interview, forum, questionnaires or whatever) between Malaysia de-facto opposition leader and PM wannabe Anwar Ibrahim and infamous blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin (popularly known as RPK). RPK instantly triggered “excitement” when he called Anwar a “chicken” for refusing to appear together in the debate. Fresh from his previous attacks on Anwar, RPK was in turn called the running dog of PM Najib.
RPK is a loose cannon and whoever “owns” him would possess a great WMD (weapon of mass destruction). RPK himself admitted that he doesn’t need any supporters, in reference to tons of criticisms aimed at him after he changed sides to be with the powerful and wealthy, as he was not a politician hence not running for office. Indirectly he also admitted he only concerns about “supports” that can bring food to the table and whatever that can satisfy his family’s other needs. Of course he’s now still in UK otherwise it would be too obvious that he’s been bought over.
Interestingly, after RPK’s first round of attack at Anwar, PM Najib and his deputy Muhyiddin immediately shared the platform and sensationalized the “Anwar Chicken” joke, which of course, picked up and further spin by government-controlled media. To rub salt in the wound, Anwar being a chicken was magnified with his decision to pullback from attending the India Today Conclave forum because of controversial writer Salman Rushdie’s presence.
But was Anwar really a coward who trembles at the sight of RPK hence the accusation by the latter that the PM wannabe was such a chicken as to avoid a debate or an interview with the fugitive blogger who is currently staying comfortably in United Kingdom? And why can’t Anwar engage the controversial Salman Rushdie directly but backing away thus giving an impression that he’s actually a coward who does not practice what he said?
The answers are quite simple though. It’s all about the coming general election which is expected to be called in May or June this year. Tactically it was a good decision by Anwar to prevent any unnecessary attacks, with Najib administration-controlled media ready to spin any story, which could be used to further influence the illiterate rural voters. Anwar has everything to lose but nothing to gain from the forum or debate. RPK is a political blogger while Anwar is a politician. RPK does not need any vote from the people to bring food to the table while Anwar needs every single vote from the people to bring down the current corrupt regime.
If Anwar’s recent comment about Israel’s Jewish state was of any indicator, Anwar would be a real idiot for engaging Salman Rushdie. So it was an absolutely correct decision to avoid the controversial Salman Rushdie, at least for now, as the rural and important ethnic-Malay votes would determine if Anwar-led Pakatan Rakyat would reduce to ashes or otherwise. A simple spin and twist of fact about what Anwar would say about Islam is enough to swing the communities’ votes. And Anwar and his advisers are too clever to fall for it, considering the sensitivity of such issues during such time.
But would Anwar dare to accept both challenges if we can turn the time back to the year 2009 or 2010 or even 2013 (after the coming general election)? Guess we’ll never know as we do not have the time machine. Nevertheless it was amusing to see how desperate RPK was in provoking Anwar by calling him chicken in the first round of the match already. Everybody knows RPK has an axe to grind but nobody thought he would be so desperate to help UMNO to score some points although all factors point to another round of win for UMNO-led government in the next general election.
In actual fact, Mahathir is in a Catch-22 situation. Mahathir badly needs Najib administration to win but the former premier can’t afford to have a hung government. But at the same time he can’t afford to have Najib winning the next general election with a smiling two-third majority. Hence RPK’s job to tilt Anwar’s led Pakatan Rakyat coalition strength slightly by shaking some feathers off the chicken. And do we have to talk about how RPK has been trying his best to destabilise Pakatan-led Selangor government with massive corruption accusations?
Actually it was rather funny how RPK can smell corruptions in Pakatan-led Selangor government when the super effective Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) can’t. Going by the logic of how MACC managed to “sniff” corruption in the region of (only) thousands of ringgit which led to the death of Teoh Beng Hock but not the millions of ringgit in corruption as alleged by RPK, one wonders if MACC has switch sides to the opposition instead.
On the other hand, former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin was tasked with reverse psychology warfare by luring voters into thinking that the current government is only safe in three states namely Pahang, Johore and Malacca. The Cowgate scandal has cost UMNO tons of votes and it was so serious that the impact is beyond calculation thus the damage control as directed by Mahathir. It was hope that the right dose of formula would produce the right result to get Najib Razak kicked out from UMNO and subsequently Muhyiddin and Mahathir’s son could take turns for the throne.
PM Najib has almost given hope on getting back the prestigious two-third majorities. But there’s another way to maintain his throne and that’s to recapture the most developed state – Selangor. Najib would be seen as a hero if he can wrest back the state even though if he could only scratch the surface for a slightly better result than the 2008’s. However Mahathir is not prepare to see that hence the multiple leakages such as the latest minutes of a Felda meeting chaired by Najib which contained instruction to ensure Felda wins the case in a lawsuits against it, in an apparent government interference in judiciary.
So it was all about exchanging punches below the belt not only between the government and opposition but also within UMNO-led government itself. But Najib spoke and laughed too soon about Anwar being a chicken because now WikiLeaks in a press release via Twitter dated March 21, have formally invited PM Najib Razak to a debate with Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and blogger RPK either together, or in isolation. So far Anwar has accepted the challenge while RPK said he will debate with both but only on the subject of Islam.
The debate between Anwar and Najib has been much anticipated but to have RPK for a threesome in such a debate sounds rather funny. Despite what many predicted, I think Najib will accept the debate since RPK would be there to back him up. Of course RPK would fire a few friendly shots on Najib as not to make it too obvious but most importantly the former’s presence is vital to counter-attack Anwar should the prime minister started to weep and needs assistance. Nevertheless the debate is still very sketchy as RPK has set the condition to only debate about Islam but would moderator Julian Assange and Anwar satisfy with the topic?
And why should we talk about Islam only when the bigger problem is about good governance, transparency, accountability, human rights and whatnot? This debate should be primarily between Anwar and Najib and as the leader and potential leader of the country, both should be ready to discuss about anything, from religion to financial matters. Will Najib chicken out instead with excuses that he has better things to attend to than to debate with a bisexual Anwar and sex molester Assange (*grin*)? Or he needs all the questions to be compiled beforehand so that his advisers can prepare the answers prior to the debate? Surely 600 million listeners would be an opportunity too good to be missed, no?
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