Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Khairy challenges Anwar on Sept 16 deadline

Khairy challenges Anwar on Sept 16 deadline
17 June, 2008

(The Malaysian Insider) - Form the next government by Sept 16 or resign as advisor to Parti Keadilan Rakyat the next day. That is the challenge Khairy Jamaluddin has thrown at Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The Umno Youth deputy chief noted that the de facto Opposition leader had been telling Malaysians for some time that the crossover of Barisan Nasional MPs to Pakatan Rakyat was imminent. This week, Anwar predicted that several MPs from the Malaysian Chinese Association would quit the Barisan Nasional and join the DAP-PKR-PAS coalition.

The former deputy prime minister has promised to force the collapse of the BN government and form the next government by Sept 16. Khairy said in his blog: “The question I have for Datuk Seri Anwar looking as how he is confident of setting up a government by Sept 16 is this: what will happen if he fails?

“I challenge Datuk Seri Anwar to resign as the advisor of Parti Keadilan Rakyat if the Barisan Nasional is still the government on Sept 17. This is because he would have failed to meet his promise to his supporters.

“If he feels that more than 30 BN are in his hands, I don’t think my dare will be a problem for him. If he fails, he should not only step down but also face up to the fact that his credibility with the public would have been destroyed.”

Anwar is unlikely to respond to Khairy’s challenge, given the different status both of them enjoy in Malaysia. He is the de facto head of Pakatan Rakyat, the prime minister-in-waiting in the eyes of many while Khairy is a junior politician in the ruling party.

The BN won 140 of the 222 seats in Parliament.

The jury is still out among Pakatan Rakyat politicians on whether Anwar has the numbers and can force the collapse of the Abdullah administration by Sept 16.

His strong supporters in PAS, PKR and DAP are convinced by his powers of persuasion and say that he already has more than 30 BN MPs ready to leave the ruling coalition. The only problem: the overwhelming majority of them are non-Malays.

Anwar is worried that this influx of non-Malays elected representatives into Pakatan Rakyat will upset Parti Islam SeMalaysia and some PKR politicians. Worse yet, it could spook a Malay community already wondering whether their political power has been weakened in the new Malaysia.

To ensure that his coalition politicians are comfortable with the cross over scenario, he is trying to convince Umno MPs to join the Opposition.

Other allies say that he could have pushed for a crossover anytime but wants Malaysians, especially those in the security forces, to get used to the idea of the BN government being replaced in this manner.

But the cynics in Pakatan Rakyat and they include several DAP veterans do not believe that Anwar has the numbers to force the collapse of the government.

The cynics are enjoying seeing BN politicians sweat and off-balance every time a yarn is spun about an impending crossover by a ruling coalition party or politician. But in their view, talk of snaring more than 30 BN MPs is just good psychological warfare by Anwar.

The strategy creates a sense of crisis around Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his government while at the same time forcing those inside and outside Malaysia to consider him as a panacea to uncertain times in the country.

But what if nothing happens on September. Won’t Anwar lose his credibility with the Malaysian public? If the BN government is still in power on Sept 17, Anwar will blame the police and other government agencies for using threats and violence to block the entry of BN MPs to Pakatan Rakyat.

And then he will move on to another phase of destabilising the BN government.

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