That One Seat And That Tamil Dance of Anwar Ibrahim


That One Seat and That Tamil Dance of Anwar Ibrahim

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is hogging the news these days as he searches for that one seat to make his dream of becoming the PM come true as soon as possible.

All PKR MPs are holding on to their seats more than ever, literally at the edge of their seats. This is because the main topic in the coffee shops in the past few days has been which seat will be vacated to make way for pending PKR President Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to be an MP and soon assume the post of Prime Minister and replace Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Anwar has announced that he will be back in Parliament by October and he seems to be an adamant man. This is despite him making a U-turn from his speech immediately after his release at Padang Timur that he is in no hurry to join the government. Then, he said that he will be travelling and traversing the globe for the next two years, as his wife Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail was already the Deputy Prime Minister.

It started with rumours that Selayang MP William Leong will vacate his seat for Anwar. Leong denied and said he will vacate if asked to but he is not giving unless asked, a confusing line which is now being repeated by all PKR MPs when approached by the media.

No one can be seen to say an outright "No" to Anwar, for that would mean disloyalty - a big no-no in Malaysian party politics. However, his own wife Wan Azizah and daughter Nurul Izzah have been brazen enough to say so openly. 

They have said that they would not give their seats in Pandan or Permatang Pauh for the husband and father, and this seemed to have forced Anwar to look elsewhere. 

The main one who has been poking all the PKR MPs to give up their seats for Anwar has been PKR Vice President Rafizi Ramli, who has called those who are not willing to do so as disloyal to the party chief. 

Kapar MP and PKR Federal Territory leader Datuk Abdullah Sani from Rafizi's camp has gone as far as to label PKR Deputy President Azmin Ali as a traitor for not offering his Gombak seat, perhaps forgetting that he now holds the strongest ministerial portfolio - and perhaps the strings to the economy - in the country.

Azmin has decided to flick off Rafizi and his followers by stating that these are mere "toddlers" during reformasi who do not know what loyalty is about and that he has his scars to show.

Otherwise, Azmin has decided to turn his back on Rafizi, who has continued to rally on the fact that the former has plans to ensure than Anwar does not become the next Prime Minister.

After William Leong, it was Batu MP P Prabakaran, the youngest MP who was rumoured to have been asked to hand over his seat to Anwar. Praba's camp threw a fit, stating that he was an independent who joined the party after winning with a big majority and it was not right for Anwar to do so to oust a first timer MP.

Also, some PKR MPs have questioned why Anwar was picking on the non-Malay seats as the number of non-Malays are already minimal in Dewan Rakyat. 

Last week, sources within PKR stated that the list of possible soon-to-be vacant seats have been narrowed down to three - Sungai Petani, Alor Setar and Port Dickson.

However, Anwar's strategists do not seem to be in a straight line. While Rafizi said that the seat has been finalised and will be announced this week, his fellow VP and party man Tian Chua questioned why he was not in the know. He tweeted whether PKR is now a secret society where decisions are made by only a select top few.

Just a couple of days after that, PKR secretary general Saifuddin Nasution said it will be announced on Wednesday (tomorrow) and that it will not be a northern seat, surprising those PKR MPs in the north. One confided that he has never been more relieved with Saifuddin's announcement.

Thus all fingers pointed at the Port Dickson seat in Negeri Sembilan which is currently held by Datuk Danyal Balagopal Abdullah. Danyal, 68, is a former navy man from Perak and was also the Chief De Mission of Asian Games in 2014.

To muddle it further, PAS made the announcement that they were preparing for a possible by-election in Pandan, bringing the whole show to a round of musical chairs. One Pakatan Harapan leader asked, "Does this "divine" party know something that others don't?"

There is also much talk that those who stated that if they gave up their seats, they must get something in return for such a sacrifice. It was said that the bargaining was for the Chief Minister posts of Kedah and other government posts should Anwar become the PM, but Anwar was not able to promise. Furthermore, Mahathir, who Anwar intends to replace has had his popularity rising ever since he took on the PM mantle for the second time. 

One Anwarista in the government said that many Anwaristas after the change in the government are now more Mahathirist.

Former Kajang MP Lee Chin Cheh did not miss this opportunity to state that whoever vacates the seat for Anwar, as he had once done in what was seen as the failed Kajang Move, he or she should be compensated duly.

An MP who vacates his or her seat with undue reason will be barred from taking part in any elections for five years.

Lee is now an officer with Minister of Housing and Local Government Zuraida Kamaruddin. Zuraida, the PKR women's wing chief, unfortunately happens to be in Azmin's camp, and was one of the main ones who opposed the Kajang Move.

(In the Kajang Move, Anwar was supposed to contest and win the seat and later replace the then Selangor MB Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, but he was sentenced to prison and Anwar's wife had to contest and in the end Azmin was chosen to replace Khalid.)

Inside PKR, the main question is why must others who fought hard during the past General Election vacate for Anwar, when he has two family members who should do so easily.

A senior PKR member said, "The wife and daughter came into politics to fill in for Anwar. Now that Anwar is already free and going back into active politics, they should step down, especially the daughter as she holds no government post."

However, this musical chair session is not as easy as it seems, for it is a long Tamil song. And just like the MGR song that Anwar danced and rocked to in the Seri Setia by-election recently, it looks like it is going to take a little bit of limbo on the part of Anwar and his camp to cajole someone to get off their seat, so that he can well be on his way to be the next PM.