Will the real Anwar Ibrahim please stand up?
Like many rational Malaysians, I am concerned about the future of the country. The re- emergence of Anwar Ibrahim in Malaysia's political scene has resulted in a dynamic shift in politics.
The fusion of his established charisma, intriguing persona and current events have contributed to this dynamic shift.
However, what concerns me is his brand of politics, relying on the message of ‘hope’ for Malaysians. Hope is abstract and is infinite. Anwar is likened to a painter drawing on an empty canvass where the only limitation is his imagination.
‘Hope’ can be anything he wants it to be. Anwar has his ears close to the ground. Through his extensive network, he understands the sentiments on the ground and he uses this as colours for the empty canvass.
But as a rational Malaysian, the concern is that his painting of Malaysia's future is based on what will get him in power and not on substantive policy on a sustainable basis. Does he really believe in what he is saying? Can we believe what he is saying? Can Anwar change Malaysia?
Many think he is the leader that will bring forth the hope and aspirations of all Malaysians. I think not. If we look at Anwar's track record as a leader, his time in Umno was tainted with claims of cronyism and corruption. He was known to be a man in a hurry, ousting Umno stalwart Ghafar Baba mercilessly.
Maybe some would argue that his time in confinement has given him a different perspective of life. Somehow, his few years away warrants his ‘knighthood’ as South East Asia's Nelson Mandela.
Because of his 'suffering', he now has the moral authority to be the messenger of hope for Malaysian politics. However, I would argue that the best proxy to judge his current leadership post-Umno is his management of his party PKR today.
The party, reflects the leader. After March 8 swept the nation, Anwar's PKR has fell short of voter's expectations. The Selangor government fiasco(s), the recent Perak ‘sex and money’ scandal all indicate that the message of hope somehow got lost in translation.
Zulkifli Nordin's recent actions prove that there is trouble brewing in the multiracial party. What is Azmin Ali stand? Saifuddin Nasution’s? Even worse, Anwar Ibrahim’s?
The differences runs deep in PKR and it indicates that there is no strong strand of belief that is holding them together.
Another clear indication of Anwar's true brand of leadership is the behaviour of Anwar's hardcore supporters. Reports of gangsterism involving local and international media, reports of disruptive behaviour towards women, all this reflects on the real leadership stand of Anwar Ibrahim.
As rational Malaysians, we must judge Anwar on real and tangible events and not merely as the harbinger of hope. Not all of us are rats of Hamelin that will follow his mesmerising tune into our graves.
The question that rational Malaysians must ask therefore is, will the real Anwar Ibrahim, please stand up? Decide once and for all is your motto ‘A New Dawn For Malaysia’ or ‘Lawan Tetap Lawan’ ?