Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Anwar’s Swan Song: Unworthy Yet Predictable
Even London's Financial Times, which only two weeks ago echoed Anwar's comments about "sham democracy" made no mention of any wrong-doing in the wake of BN's victory, reporting instead on how investors "cheered the election victory" sending markets up by more than seven percent in early trading.
This leaves Anwar stranded and exposes his now infamous tweet, made before the first seats had been declared Sunday night, for what it was: a desperate attempt at tainting the outcome in advance.
"PR has won. We urge UMNO and the EC to not attempt to hijack the results," he tweeted.
Sadly, that tweet sums up Anwar in less than 140 characters. His political career was one of self-absorption, of victimhood, and of making excuses. We must now use the past tense to describe Anwar's public life given that he has long promised us he will bow out and become a teacher, possibly in Australia.
If that proves to be the case then what a sad end to his career it is. As recently as January 2012, when Anwar stood on the steps of the court that had cleared him of Sodomy II charges, his future was one of renewal and possibility. He had the attention of everyone and could have used this moment to recast himself as a leader of positive energy and vision.
Instead, Anwar was diminished in stature, flailing when it came to the day-to-day internal politics of Pakatan Rakyat, of which his inability to supress the "Hadi for PM" push is a prime example. He never properly articulated the Malaysia he wanted to see under his leadership, instead getting bogged down with the Malaysia he didn't want under BN. The glass always seemed to be half full.
And he just couldn't get past the idea that everyone was out to get him, an idea that reached its logical conclusion with his bizarre victory tweet as the vote counting got underway.
Anwar will be remembered as a controversial politician but not a statesman. If he had used his early Monday press conference to graciously concede defeat and congratulate Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak he would have won new friends on the way out the door.
As it is, we are left with bitterness and his last ditch attempt to taint our democracy. It's an unworthy swan song for Anwar but one that is utterly consistent with the man we now know.