Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Najib serves the country; Anwar serves himself
Anwar Ibrahim has, once again, put his personal interests above those of the nation. In a brazen attempt to seize the top job in Selangor, Anwar has effectively forced one of his own to resign and imposed a costly by-election on the country, at a time when budgets are tight.
By running for the Kajang state seat, Anwar is making a move to be the next mentri besar. After all, somebody has to resolve the cat fight between Azmin Ali and Abdul Khalid Ibrahim.
But Anwar appears mostly keen to take over Selangor in order to provide him with a wealthy platform from which to run for office again in the 14th general election (so much for his plans to retire from politics if he lost GE13). And so he is busy knifing friends, allies and the public coffers in the back to get the prize he has coveted his whole life - the keys to Putrajaya.
Even PKR’s allies have condemned the move. Bersih chairperson Ambiga said: “Money has to be spent and that is why people are not happy. They don’t understand it”. PAS is unhappy about Anwar, too, and have suggested they may not support him in becoming the Selangor mentri besar: “There is no agreement or consensus for after the by-election. We are waiting for word from the PAS national leadership, but PAS has not agreed to who will be the next mentri besar yet.”
Anwar’s power play could cost taxpayers over RM4 million and this is happening at the same time as the opposition has criticised the government for price increases, and led protests against subsidy reform. If you are Anwar Ibrahim it seems you can have your cake and eat it. Incredibly, Anwar says he will recycle past campaign materials so as to save money for the by-election. If only people could be fooled that easily.
The contrast between Anwar’s behaviour and that of the prime minister could not be starker. Najib Abdul Razak has put Malaysia’s long-term interests first by taking politically unpopular measures to get the country’s financial house in order. Subsidy cuts and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) have hurt the prime minister, dampening his popularity.
But the measures, as any independent economist will tell you, are crucial to ensure Malaysia and therefore the rakyat’s long-term financial stability and economic growth. While the PM puts country and people first, Anwar prioritises only his own ambition.
HUAN CHENG GUAN is president of the Centre for Political Awareness Malaysia (CPAM).