Raggie Jessy Rithaudeen
Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim is getting conscious of the fact that he is the only chieftain of a Pakatan Harapan party who doesn’t hold a government post. From Amanah’s Mohamad Sabu to the DAP’s Lim Guan Eng, everyone seems to be in charge of a critical portfolio that impacts heavily on the federal administration. These leaders have ample opportunities to cut serious deals with Members of Parlaiment. But Anwar only has his wife to count on, and she isn’t doing a good job in boosting the trust of the MPs in him.
But she’s the deputy premier
Everyone knows Datin Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail isn’t capable of making decisions. This was pointed out by people in the Selangor palace during Langkah Kajang when Anwar and Lim Kit Siang tried to pitch her name for the role of Menteri Besar. Ever since being appointed deputy premier, all she’s done is focus on social issues that is best left to special-task forces she herself can chair. She seems incapable of participating in critical decision making processes that pertain the economy and (or) national security.
Why do you think repoters here are forced to refer to Mahathir on domestic issues even when he’s abroad?
But she supported Mahathir on Zakir Naik, didn’t she?
Some call it a tacit approval, others prefer to use the term “by default.” Whichever the term, her inability to make “on the spot” decisions is the albatross around Anwar’s neck. When Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad took Zakir to task, she agreed that the preacher needed to be put in his place by saying absolutely nothing. When Mahathir later reiterated that Zakir would never be deported, it was more or less the same story.
So you see, it makes no difference if she is in the Federal Cabinet or if she isn’t. That is probably why Lim Kit Siang wanted her to replace Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as Selangor Menteri Besar in 2014. He probably knew that she was not that bright a person and someone he could twirl around his little finger. And because Anwar was destined to go to jail, controlling her would have been that much easier as the DAP could easily corner her into making quick decisions without giving her time to seek feedback from Sungai Buloh.
Is she that naive?
Remember when the Selangor state government seized land from two developers in Ijok? To recap, a group of Ijok settlers undertook in the nineties to consign some parcels of land to the Government of Selangor (GoS) by means of legal authority. In return, the GoS undertook to grant a Joint-Venture (JV) effort between LBCN Development Sdn Bhd and Mujur Zaman Sdn Bhd rights to develop that land. As part of an agreement, the settlers were promised a house each and some cash in hand by the JV company in return for the right to develop the land (hereinafter referred to as “the disputed land”).
However, the JV company hit a snag not long after and was forced to abandon the development project. Dato’ Seri Khairuddin Abu Hassan had beneficial ownerships in both LBCN and Maju Zaman. When Khalid took over as Menteri Besar, he found that the firms had taken bank loans to launch housing projects by mortgaging the disputed land although it didn’t belong to them. When he got his people to track down the owners of LBCN and Maju Zaman, he found that they had changed companies.
As a result, Khalid invoked his power as head of government to confiscate the disputed land, thereby forestalling plans by the banks to auction the land in the nick of time.The move allowed the state government to recompense the true owners of the land based on valuations conducted by an independent audit firm. This upset Khairuddin terribly. His proxies in LBCN and Maju Zaman felt they had been short-changed and pressured him to meet Khalid. But Khairuddin knew that Khalid would not want to meet him as he was the man responsible for ’50 Dalil Kenapa Anwar Tidak Boleh Jadi PM’ (hereinafter referred to as “the Sodomy book”).
What does this have to do with Wan Azizah?
First and foremost, let me point out to you that the reason Khairuddin believed Khalid would not want to meet him is because the latter was known to be a loyalist. Khairuddin knew Khalid would never betray Anwar as he was in power because of Anwar. Thinking that Wan Azizah would also not want to meet him on account of the Sodomy book, Khairuddin got his men in LBCN to meet her instead and told them to persuade her to discuss terms with Khalid.
Do you know what happened?
A very stupid and gullible Wan Azizah obliged and headed straight for Khalid’s office without realising that the person she was going to do the talking for, Khairuddin, was the man behind the Sodomy book. It was the book that contributed to Anwar’s sacking in 1998 and his subsequent jailing by Mahathir. Khalid’s PA, Faekah Husin, was nice enough to point this out and advised Wan Azizah not to be so gullible. Despite this, Anwar went ahead and fixed Khalid up without feeling any remorse about it.
Why did Anwar fix Khalid up?
Anwar is the sort of person who is likely to fix anyone up as long as it serves his premiership ambitions. He knew that Khairuddin would end up gaining if LBCN and Mujur Zaman were allowed to sell the disputed land but didn’t seem mind as he was probably more concerned with making money out of the deal to bankroll a “Putrajaya march.” For the scheme to work, he needed to remove Khalid so that Wan Azizah could take over and bless the deal.
It wasn’t long after that Tommy Thomas conspired with an official from Bank Islam to leak secrets having to do with Khalid’s personal bank accounts. Thomas, who was then the bank’s legal counsel, handed the secrets to Ambiga who in turn handed them over to Saifuddin Nasution and Anwar. The secrets were tweaked before being inserted into a 91-page dossier that was so dense with hearsay, Saifuddin was very careful to distribute it only among PKR leaders.
But, as with all other Anwar manoeuvres, the dossier got leaked and was soon found littered all over the internet. Seeing the damage it caused, Anwar quickly began putting pressure on Khalid and got his men to do the same. One thing led to another before Khalid told Sultan Sharaffuddin that he agreed to leave. That opened the door for Anwar and Lim Kit Siang to decide who best to replace Khalid as Menteri Besar.
However, the minute the duo pitched Wan Azizah’s name, things hit a snag. Not only was PAS upset at not being consulted, its president, Dato’ Seri Haji Abdul Hadi Awang, objected by pointing out that Selangor needed a strong and capable administrator to run a tight ship. When asked to elaborate, he said:
“There is a series of criteria needed for one to be eligible as a leader.
“For example, among the skills (Wan Azizah) must possess is the ability to face (detractors) and answer hard questions in Parliament and the state assembly.
“If you can’t hold your own in a debate with opposition members in the (Selangor) state assembly, how can you lead (in a vastly larger role)?”
And that was the beginning to the end of Pakatan Rakyat?
Hadi’s point was loosely shared by Sultan Sharaffuddin himself. Everyone knew how weak Wan Azizah was as her years in Penang proved that she lacked the mettle to lead government. It was also established that she ran PKR by proxy and that the person who called the shots was Anwar. Hadi and Sultan Sharaffuddin feared that the DAP would control Selangor if Wan Azizah were appointed Menteri Besar. A team of legal experts confided in the ruler that the chances of Anwar winning the Sodomy II appeal was so slim that he was as good as gone.
And that’s how Azmin benefited from Ijok?
When Azmin took over, he allowed LBCN and Mujur Zaman to sell the disputed land to a third party for RM1.18 billion. Actually, Azmin was only doing what Anwar had originally set out to do, which, according to a source, was to sell the land and use a bulk of the proceeds to bankroll a “Putrajaya March.” However, Azmin compensated the land’s original owners by paying them RM421 million and channelled the remaining RM759 million instead through some proxy and nominee concerns.
Why did Azmin do that?
Before leaving for prison, Anwar left nothing behind for his men and wanted Azmin to launch a Free Anwar Campaign. Azmin refused to use proceeds from the Ijok sale to do that and preferred to compensate Anwar’s men who had been using their own funds to run party programs. These men are eternally grateful to Azmin and have since decided to support his cause come hell or high water. Those who were half hearted about abandoning Anwar made up their minds the minute Anwar hinted that Azmin needed to resign due to his alleged involvement in a sex scandal.
What about rumours that Khalid agreed to join Anwar’s ‘cabinet’?
Anwar knows that Azmin is in control of PKR. He knows that his biggest problem is no longer money but the trust deficit he’s facing. The majority of MPs agree that if he can betray Khalid and Azmin, he can do the same to anyone. It is for this reason, above all, that Anwar is trying to boost his image by getting people to think that he has repented and wants to make amends.
So the rumour is a lie?
Well, actually, it’s a cry for help.
You see, everyone knows that when someone in PKR denies something, it’s probably the truth. Anwar’s men spread rumours that Khalid agreed to be in his Cabinet. It was a trap. If Khalid had denied the rumour, it would have triggered doubts in the minds of MPs who would then be told that the denial was deliberate as the agreement was never meant to be made public. It was yet another ploy to convince MPs that not only is Anwar a changed man, even Khalid can see how strong he is.
To be continued…