Has a deal been struck?
The speculations are swirling.
Like a decent play, let’s list all the players in this stage production.
Anwar Ibrahim’s protege is Ahmad Zahid Zahidi. Anwar will officially assume the PKR presidency when the annual meeting rolls in November. Zahid has been Umno president since Johnny-Come-Lately Khairy Jamaluddin was defeated for the post in June.
Here are the pillars of Malay, Semenanjung Muslim, leadership:
Mahathir Mohamad: Pribumi (13 MPs)
Anwar Ibrahim: PKR (51 MPs but a sizeable not Malay, or from Semenanjung)
Zahid Hamidi: Umno (48 MPs, give or take with the self-declared independents,and minus Umno Sabah)
Mat Sabu: Amanah (11 MPs)
Hadi Awang: PAS (18 MPs)
Are there negotiations with team Anwar and Zahid Hamidi, because that would bring Umno within touching distance of a unity government, even without Pribumi, Amanah and even PAS?
Four months ago, Anwar was in jail, and Umno leaders were nationwide arguing in the lead up to the election day, the danger of the political maverick. How Anwar would destroy Malaysia.
Today, two ex-Umno ministers who remain sitting MPs with substantial influence have said they’d campaign for Anwar at the Port Dickson by-election.
Mind you, campaign for Anwar when the presumed opponent will be from Umno.
We are not the only ones confused by the madness. Even Umno insiders are.
Senior Umno leaders openly stating they will campaign for Anwar in Port Dickson to defeat their party’s candidate. This should be grounds for Zahid Hamidi to convene a disciplinary committee hearing to expel Nazri Aziz and Shahidan Kassim.
But the president is quiet, and it does not surprise anyone.
Are PKR and Umno threatening to build new bonds?
Anwar was chucked into prison by Mahathir, and Zahid into detention (Internal Security Act) for being an Umno youth chief who backed Anwar against Mahathir.
Would it not be poetic for two victims to lead their party to dethrone Mahathir.
A cynic told me that Anwar was fine with Mahathir being PM again because it gives him a chance finally to remove him from office.
The more pragmatic view is, while Mahathir has promised to leave office for Anwar, eventually, having a legislative majority over the sitting prime minister, would offer the PKR president leverage.
The boast of having more than 2/3s of Dewan Rakyat, as opposed to Mahathir who has only Pribumi’s 13 and DAP’s 48, is threatening.
It would appear conclusively, Anwar has the overwhelming Malay majority, while at the other end, an aged Mahathir remains in office at the mercy of Anwar. He can only call out to DAP, the Chinese party, for oxygen.
It would be oh too cruel!
In politics everything is fluid, but perhaps not as fluid as in here which is an academic’s wet dream.
Malaysia is taking the adage there are no permanent enemies in politics to new frontiers.
Primarily, the awkward question, is there a secret deal between the PKR and Umno leadership?
Anwar has denied this before, but he has denied many things before. So, watch this space.