There are things you can learn from soap operas. No matter how trite the script is, and how amazing over-acted the scenes are, just like a fender bender on the Federal Highway you cannot look away. Try as you may. We are all suckers for climax, or more importantly the promise of a climax.
This song and dance is going to go on for a while.
The first part was on the UMNO think.
The second, is politician think. Anwar is playing an imaginary play board with animated and thinking objects. This must be reminiscent of post-1911 revolution in China. You have the central characters, and you are fairly sure of their support, however the very turbulence which has created this equation can stir on to another equation. You are mathematically sure, but these numbers walk and talk.
The politicians in Malaysia are not straight forward about anything, even about themselves.
The Sabah story (1963-94) provides some insight to the psyche of local politicians and why they act the way they do. Sabah and Sarawak joining the Federation as monster sized states took different tracks.
Sabah has been a model state of uncertainty. But let me focus onto some key lessons from the observation of Sabah.
Mustapha Harun ran the State through the course of merging an Islamic Sabah with one of the Peninsula, and therefore making the Sabahans real Malaysians without any drawbacks. At one point it seemed he was willing to sacrifice all that was Sabah in order to be Malaysian.
However in time, he showed his equal commitment to Sabah’s autonomy, and resisted Federal plans to overwhelm Sabah locals.
Which set the scene for the ten year burst, when Parti Bersatu Sabah (PBS) amazingly took over power in 1985 and kept themselves in power for almost ten years despite having a hostile relationship with the Federal Government (which is also a case study for the 5 Pakatan Rakyat state governments- for another posting).
Many people talk about the crucial role a certain Anwar played in 1994 in removing PBS from power without winning the actual elections, however the powder keg which is Sabah has always been bellowing smoke and releasing steam, telling us if we only see the headlines we don’t understand Sabah.
Team UMNO did play the funny game in getting power in Sabah, yet it is more valid to remember, the politicians in the state have been up for persuasion for a long long time.
Which makes the old power shufflers cognisant, a change in power through the change of loyalty from presiding government will be at best a middle game move in a chess game likely to go the distance. Anwar dangling 30 plus MPs indicates nothing but that there are 30 plus MPs who are not in support of the current Badawi administration, but not necessarily completely behind any other administration.
I am not in Borneo, but I have a sneaky feeling, our brothers over there are not fretting as much over the political manoeuvering here in KL. They’ve been here so many times, in their own state political history to know that political loyalty is a passing myth.
End of part 2