A comic strip by cartoonist Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque, or Zunar, sees Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim shouting different slogans through time.
In 1974, it was demonstrasi (demonstrate); in 1986, it was “democracy”; then in 1998, it was reformasi (reform); and, in 2004, it was “wait and see”.
“Wait and see”, might still apply today for Anwar, who hopes that via the Kajang by-election, he will be able to fulfil the dream of becoming the country’s next premier.
It is after all, PKR’s motto “From Kajang to Putrajaya”, and part of the “Kajang Move” is to see the opposition leader replacing Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim as menteri besar.
Anwar becoming the Menteri Besar will fit in snugly with plans to use the PKR-led state as a model on how Pakatan Rakyat will run the country should it win the next general election.
Naturally, Anwar’s political rivals are quick to criticise the idea although it does not mean that the former deputy prime minister’s allies are supportive either.
Earlier last month, PAS Youth — the youth wing of the Islamist party which is part of the loose opposition coalition — openly stated it did not want Anwar to replace Khalid.
In admitting that views in the party were split on the issue, Selangor PAS secretary Mohd Khairuddin Othman explained that most of its members were comfortable with Khalid.
The Selangor MB, he said, was performing well and attributed the increased number of seats PR gained in the last general election to Khalid.
Khairuddin added the people of Selangor preferred locals as a menteri besar and were “fussy about outsiders”.
A recent poll by University of Malaya Centre of Elections and Democracy had revealed that 59% of Kajang voters wanted Anwar to replace Khalid, but that did not reflect what the people of Selangor wanted.
Anwar, he pointed out, is a national figure.
“I don’t think he should come down to the state,” Khairuddin told The Rakyat Post.
Political analyst Dr Sivamurugan Pandian shares that sentiment, stressing that Anwar should focus on the national level.
With PR having 44 seats in the state compared with Barisan Nasional’s 12, Sivamurugan said there was no reason for Anwar to replace Khalid, who he said, had been performing well.
“If Anwar was thinking about a road map to Putrajaya, he should have thought about it before the general election.”
For entrepreneur Syed Khaled Al Asrar, Anwar’s previous stint in the government has not convinced him that the former finance minister is suited as a menteri besar.
Policies Anwar implemented when he was a Cabinet member, he argued, were former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ideas.
“There are better people than Anwar to lead the state.”
Graphic artist Isma Zari points out that Anwar comes with a lot of baggage and is “scandal hit”.
The Permatang Pauh MP has the appeal of his acquittal on sodomy charges hanging over his head.
Former Umno and PKR politician and Kajang by-election candidate Datuk Zaid Ibrahim claims the process has been engineered so that Anwar can use his position as menteri besar to shield himself, if found guilty.
Isma said he did not see any of Anwar’s contributions when he was a minister and, therefore, would not know what he would bring to the table.
“Anyone but Anwar,” he said.