Anwar's 2nd Wind & The Dictatorship Within UMNO

Is Anwar really bluffing, or is there at least some truth to his bravado? After 16 September he seemed to have had egg on his face. Then there was the 23 September story, Tian Chua's big mouth, & Anwar's declaration that deadlines don't matter. Neither did SAPP join the Pakatan Rakyat preferring to stand as independents. It all seemed like he was finished, but for 3 main developments in the last few days.

1. Badawi's refusal to call Anwar's bluff. This really perplexes me. Why not accede to Anwar's request for an extraordinary parliamentary sitting & destroy Anwar once and for all? The fact that he did not is not for me, proof that he is fed up with Anwar's sandiwara and that he is getting on with the job of governing. Instead it shows to me that he is not 100% sure (though pretty sure probably) that Anwar was talking out of his rear. Why wait till 13 October? Is it so he can launch a counter-attack? If so, then we have to consider the possibility that Anwar's not bluffing, and Badawi feels he needs time to ameliorate the threat.

2. Following on form that, the suspension of UMNO election's in order to pass the throne to Najib only shows that he is trying to nullify instability in UMNO. Nevertheless, all he is doing is increasing instability in UMNO. It looks like he has given up on holding on to power, & by handing it over to Najib can at least strike some back-door deals to keep his and his family's dirty laundry out of the public eye. This may make the anti-Najib, anti-Badawi camps within UMNO more likely to leave should they feel they cannot take over power since the election is postponed. This makes the likelihood of a power transfer more, and not less likely. The winds of change in favour of free speech has taken root across the nation, including within UMNO. Gagging the expression of free speech will only alienate significant chunks of UMNO members.

3. UPKO's ramblings suggest to me that Sabah's BN parties are beginning to make the move leading up to October 13. Whatever the realpolitik of SAPP's decision, it was clearly very popular with the people of Sabah. Given PBS' emasculation and SAPP's popularity, UPKO can either try and claim the support of the KDM people or lose them to SAPP. BN Sabah is hotly divided, which can be seen by Shafie Apdal's role in urging Badawi to go and maintain some stability within UMNO (but which I argue is actually counter-productive to UMNO's stability).

There has been false dawns, but October 13 must be the end of it all. If Anwar cannot get it done then, he must apologise, and Pakatan Rakyat must get back to governing their states, strengthening their 'coalition' & be a responsible opposition. While I still maintain that the political and economic uncertainty is largely due to a lack of governance at the federal level, clearly the opposition has played a role in it as well. Ultimately what we need is functioning governments, federal and state though clearly it is more important federally. Both parties need to start doing that, and soon.

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