Thursday, August 28, 2008

Anwar’s Landslide Victory and what is next?

The Permatang Pauh (PP) by-election on 26th August took place in the midst of Malaysian Christians’ 40-day fast. And Anwar Ibrahim wins by a landslide majority of 15,671 votes was not by chance. God has a hand in it. Anwar, the PKR adviser, secured 31,195 votes, against Arif Shah’s (UMNO, Barisan Nasional) and Hanafi Hamat’s (Individual) 15,524 and 92 votes respectively. Anwar’s wife, Wan Aziza, whose majority was 13,388 votes last term, had earlier vacated her seat on 31st July for her husband. The move was to pave way for PR to capture power from BN on 16th September.

On 28th, Anwar was sworn in as MP of PP as well as the Opposition Leader of Pakatan Rakyat (PR). Malays voters in PP constituency made up of 65%. The result showed that most of the Malays supported Anwar’s call for transform.

Could Anwar make it to the Prime Minister’s office in Putrajaya on schedule? He is running out of time. The sodomy case against him begins on 10th September. And the case will likely be transferred to the High Court. Would the High Court judge order his detention? Besides, Syed Hamid, the Minister of Home Ministry tabled the DNA bill on 18th Aug for the first reading. And he hurriedly tabled for the second reading on 26th, the day when most of the PR MPs were away in PP helping in the by-election. When the third reading is tabled soon and the bill passed, the police will have the right to collect DNA samples from any criminal suspects without prior approval from the court.

Why the need for the government to do it in such a hurry? If the accused of Saiful (“the victim” of sodomy) was not Anwar but somebody else, would Syed Hamid treat the case as urgent or not? Thus the BN government’s denial that the move had nothing to do with politics was unconvincing. Therefore, Anwar’s future is clouded by uncertainties. Adding to that, PAS, a component party of PR, had earlier explored the possibility of pulling out from the coalition should the number of non-Muslim MPs dominate the Muslim ones!

As I looked back the past few months since the 8th March General Election, Anwar had in fact made a mistake by not standing for a by-election much earlier than 26th August. He was a free man by 17th April after being prohibited from election for five years. The proverb says “Beat the iron while it is hot.” Anwar should have ridden on the wind of change when many voters were asking for reform. PKR had been claiming that at least 30 MPs from BN would defect to join PR. Anwar should have understood that he had to first prove his strength by becoming a MP. If he had made it to become a MP earlier, he would have a stronger bargain power. The long delay had allowed the enemy to prowl on him.

On 18th June, Sabah’s SAPP made a stand that they have lost confidence in Abdullah Badawi, the PM of Malaysia. Yong Teck Lee, the president of SAPP, claimed that Sabah should negotiate for her rights with the Federal government while the window of opportunity was still opened wide. But with Anwar’s sodomy case setting in, the window of opportunity for him to take over the government was about to close.

But with Anwar’s landslide victory in the by-election, it has prevented the window from being shut. Now Anwar needs to exert a greater strength to force the window to open wide again! He has to beat against time. Would he be able to make it before he is put to jail? Should he miss his targeted date of 16th September, he should do it by not later than October. In October, both MCA and Gerakan, the two partners of BN, would hold a General Meeting. These two parties have indicated the intention of pulling out from BN. And PR stands a chance in pulling them into the coalition.

UMNO, for the past 51 years, had been arrogant, and subsequently its component parties were hard to push their voices through. Thus BN was run on a one-party show. Orders from UMNO had to be taken without query. UMNO has been playing with race cards. They repeated it again during the PP campaign. UMNO lost the by-election was a proof that even the Malays abhorred such a game! It showed that UMNO had never learnt from the lesson of 8th March. It was no surprise to see that none in the top leadership feel a disaster in UMNO is looming large. They were unrepentant! They did not feel anything wrong when the leadership under their regime all these years had eroded the judiciary, the royal police force, the media, and so on. Racial and religious harmony was undermined. The country needs a leader who is a visionary capable of bringing about a thorough and immediate reform. Does Anwar fit into the description?

Is Anwar God’s choice for Malaysia as a Prime Minister? Christians, continue to come before the throne of grace. Let us pray in the Spirit to push through the force of darkness. As God had used many prophets prophesying over Malaysia that a wind of change will take place this year, let us trust that God is in control of everything. The righteous and just God will bring about healing in our land. And a new wave of Gospel Revival will roar onto our shores.

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