Anwar bowing out refocuses eyes on Najib as BN's albatross

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COMMENT | With a flair for the adroit political manoeuver that seems to have deserted him in recent years, Anwar Ibrahim has withdrawn as nominee for Pakatan Harapan's PM-designate role, clearing the way for the coalition to choose Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the position.

Coming as it does in the wake of the US Department of Justice's (DOJ) filings in court on how and where billions from state investment fund 1MDB have gone, Anwar's move helps to ensure public attention is fastened where it properly ought to be: on the shenanigans surrounding the debt-riddled sovereign wealth fund.

Otherwise, continuing disagreement in Harapan over who among its leading lights must be the coalition's first among equals will distract public attention from Prime Minister Najib Razak's increasingly unsustainable explanations of the 1MDB issue.

Resolving Harapan's leadership issue is vital for the projection of opposition cohesion vis-a-vis a ruling BN coalition as yet unperturbed by what the 1MDB issue says of its willingness to continue supporting Najib as its standard bearer.

'As yet unperturbed' would be the operative phrase here, as even an ostrich-like readiness to bury one's head in the sand and ignore what the latest revelations in the 1MDB saga say about the credibility of the Najib government, would be akin to a spectacle by the masses in Pyongyang that periodically display their affection and support for North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

The BN is not yet a facsimile of the Worker's Party of DPR Korea; it would be, if it persists in its support of the Najib administration's stonewalling of the truth on 1MDB.

To Anwar’s credit

What as an issue began as a thorn in the flesh has metastasised into a dagger in the heart. Harapan can be hopeful of the first stirrings of tumult from within the BN fold....

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