I wanted to write something about this topic earlier but decided to be patient a bit. Patience pays. Its rewarded by having additional material to work on. The topic I wanted to write about was of that ‘historic handshake’ between Anwar and Mahathir.
Then Mahathir did another astonishing thing- he met up with the YDP Agong and presented to the Agong, the document containing the signatures of 1.4 million people. People signed and many more who did not but support, the Declaration that in order to save Malaysia, Najib must be removed as PM.
Dr Mahathir as well as Malaysians know the Agong and the Malay rulers cannot do anything to dismiss Najib. But they are handed over a moral imperative to do something and the country will be watching, on whose side will the Malay rulers be.
We will comment on that in a later article, hopefully.
When Dr Mahathir went to court, he did that to lend support to an action brought on by Anwar to secure a court declaration that the NSC law ought to be rescinded. They shared the same convictions. They met and they shook hands. Today, they have issued a joint declaration. It was signed by Dr Mahathir and Anwar Ibrahim.
That episode in court, provided many people with the stuff to create many narratives. The PKR people were naturally euphoric and read into the handshake, a harbinger of many good things in the future. Many people, of differing political temperaments, welcomed the event. Some say it brings closure to the animosity or bad blood between the two. After all Mahathir was the person who dismissed Anwar from being DPM and later the court found Anwar guilty on the charge corruption. Anwar was imprisoned for many years. Many saw the jail time as excessive. Many more believed, Anwar got caught out by trumped up charges.
That making peace with one another will form the basis for the unification of all political forces that are seeing a common objective- that of removing Najib.
Everyone agrees that the engine to remove Najib must be a united front of the opposition. That idea must override everything else. The handshake could provide the basis to unite DAP, PKR, Amanah, Bersatu and others.
Well that is fine. But here is the thing. If we want a united front, there must be no preconditions such as insisting Dr Mahathir apologise to Anwar. Indeed, one of Anwar’s daughter set this condition as basis for further talks. And someone said that any formal pact between PKR and others must be done by Anwar’s leave.
These conditions setting, is a little disturbing. Why do we insist on a formal apology? And why put up a requirement that in order to start anything, it must be done by Anwar’s leave too?
Having said that, we are not taking away anything from Anwar’s family. No one can really understand and empathise fully with the suffering and ignominy the family had to endure for 18 years. The children deprived of a father, the wife denied the comforting embrace of a husband. Anwar could have been PM earlier.
But let us not turn this into a personal issue. And not treat the struggle of opposition parties as all about Anwar. It is about the removal of a dishonest leader and his thieving government. Najib is stealing the future from us. He is the barbarian who walks into the village taking our wives and children away.
Let us not get distracted from believing that what people want most now, even if they have not already realised it, is the formation of an honest government by way of a united front of the opposition parties. An honest government needs honest people to run it.
If we can read into the handshake so many positive things, why can’t we apply the same positive approval on Mahathir’s conduct? Here is a 91 year old former PM who made a physical appearance in court to give support to Anwar and shook hands. That conduct itself is an expression of supreme apology already. We can’t do a Shylock and demand the pound of flesh and blood at the same time.
When and if Anwar becomes PM, jail Dr Mahathir for all we care. Or tie the old man up the tree and free the fire ants on him.
Those things will be considered trivial compared to the overriding objective of ridding Najib and his thieving, corrupt and dishonest government.