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FANCIFUL ROAD: The parliamentary opposition leader is fast becoming a man of prolific contradictions
WHICH is which now for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim? That the election process is deeply flawed in favour of Barisan Nasional or that his Pakatan Rakyat alliance could win comfortably in the coming election?
Right now, the parliamentary opposition leader is conveniently professing one as well as the other and hence is fast becoming a man of prolific contradictions. Or simply as always, he is bent on getting the best of both sides.
His indictment of the Election Commission and recrimination of the electoral roll with its "biased" polling system is well known.
But at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Malaysia dinner talk in Kuala Lumpur last week, Anwar said he was absolutely certain of at least a 10-seat margin in Parliament between the federal opposition and the ruling BN, owing to significant inroads made in Umno's Johor bastion as well as BN's East Malaysian fortresses of Sabah and Sarawak.
He even hinted of a "surprise" in Sabah, which he claimed would change the entire political landscape of the state, where BN now holds 59 of 60 state seats.
"I'm absolutely certain that we will perform much better... enough to secure a simple, comfortable majority in Putrajaya," he was reported to have said.
The accusations against the EC aside, this kind of proclamation has now become a familiar refrain in Anwar's fanciful road to become prime minister, come what may.
OK, even if his alliance does succeed in securing the majority, what could be next because he will then have a lot on his hands to straighten out the contradictions about his "cabinet". Who will be his deputy, who will be his home minister? Let's hear it.
In the first place, his triumvirate alliance of Parti Keadilan Rakyat, Pas and DAP, despite calling on Malaysians to accept a two-party system, has failed to come up with a shadow cabinet even after four years since the last election.
A shadow cabinet is an integral part of a sound political system such as the Westminster style of government emulated by Malaysia.
As the name suggests, a shadow cabinet is a team of officials usually drawn up by the opposition to match up with ministers in the real cabinet.
It is like a man-to-man marking strategy in football or a beat system in newsroom operations -- education to education, agriculture to agriculture, foreign to foreign and so on.
But there seems to be an indubitable problem even till today in as far as Anwar's alliance is concerned.
The last time an attempt was made towards this was three years ago, with Anwar named as prime minister and finance minister 1 and PKR vice-president R. Sivarasa, DAP national adviser Lim Kit Siang and Sabah Progressive Party president Datuk Seri Yong Teck Lee as deputy prime ministers.
The authenticity of that list, which purportedly also had PKR deputy president Azmin Ali as second finance minister and PKR vice-president Tian Chua as information minister, was never established, probably for obvious reasons.
But subsequently, the alliance came up with another version -- not a shadow cabinet but a "shadow committee", possibly in an effort not to offend any quarter.
Even then, this committee with PKR's Sungai Petani member of parliament Datuk Johari Abdul, Pas vice-president Salahuddin Ayub and DAP chairman Karpal Singh as home ministers and Azmin, Pas central committee member Dzulkifli Ahmad and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng as finance ministers could never really take off.
Many other familiar names were left out.
Are the "Sabah faction", Mat Sabu, Tony Pua, Datuk Seri Chua Jui Meng and Rafizi Ramli going to be disappointed?
If they are, we know the other sweet refrain from Anwar -- "Let's get there first, and talk about positions later."
That's the best of both worlds again for the PKR leader.
While on the subject of forming the government, the assertion by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Shah Alam on Saturday about changes through evolution and revolution should stir everyone's interest.
Reforms, he said, could happen based on two elements -- revolution (abrupt change), or change through evolution in a systematic manner.
And with this, the Beatles' classic Revolution immediately came to mind. Let's ponder:
You say you want a revolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
You tell me that it's evolution
Well, you know
We all want to change the world
But when you talk about destruction
Don't you know that you can count me out.