The US made it clear it viewed the latest sodomy charge against Anwar as a sham charge similar to the first one back in 1998. And you respond by grumbling about people linking Najib to the Altantuya murder and about how you turned down a bribe?
THE CORRIDORS OF POWER
On Thursday (May 14), at a joint press conference after meeting with United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington DC, Anifah was asked about the fresh sodomy charge against Anwar, which State Department had earlier said was politically motivated.
“He said that he will form the government on September 16 and he had changed the dates many times. And he was trying to entice members of parliament (to defect),” said Anifah, who is the brother of Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman.
“And I was personally offered to jump into the opposition and offered a very lucrative position – it’s like a deputy prime minister (in the Pakatan government). And this is not known to the world at large.”
Anifah defends Najib on Altantuya
At the press conference, Anifah also defended his boss, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who was accused of being linked to the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibauu.
“And insofar as Anwar Ibrahim is concerned – we know him very, very well. Most of the things (allegations) are untrue; for example, like the involvement of our honourable prime minister and the murder of a Mongolian citizen. And he has repeatedly said before the elections that he will provide evidence and yet, until today, he has not given anything.”
Expressing shock over Anifah’s allegations, Anwar chided the minister for faring poorly in his international debut as foreign minister, which he said reflected his inexperience and immaturity.
“I have spoken to Anifah only once on the phone and that’s it…,” said Anwar after a meet-the-people session in his Permatang Pauh parliamentary constituency.
“I never offered the DPM post to him for him to defect. The issue indeed was never raised. He was never qualified for such a position anyway. Perhaps it was his dream to become deputy prime minister.”
He suggested that the minister was perhaps overawed and overwhelmed by the occasion. “After all, being a new minister before an international audience for the first time, he was probably prompted to impress his new political master,” chided Anwar, confirming that he would soon be filing a civil suit against Anifah for defamation.
“As the matter would be in court, I prefer not to comment further on the issue,” he said, adding that Anifah was seeking to tarnish his image abroad.
Sabah has 25 parliament seats, Sarawak another 31. Out of a total of 222 parliament seats, this gives Sabah and Sarawak about 30% of the total. In the last general election, Sabah and Sarawak lost only one seat each to the opposition. This means Sabah and Sarawak are Barisan Nasional strongholds and without these two states Umno would never be able to form the federal government.
According to the agreement, Sabah and Sarawak must comprise of not less than 25% of the total number of parliament seats. Therefore, every time they increase the number of seats in Peninsular Malaysia, they must also do so correspondingly in Sabah and Sarawak. This puts these two East Malaysian states in a very advantageous position where they can demand a lot and get away with it -- and whoever so wishes to form the federal government just can’t ignore Sabah and Sarawak.
However, Musa Aman, the Chief Minister and head of Umno Sabah, does not have the support of all the 25 Umno divisions. At best he has the support of only seven with 18 opposed to him. This is quite normal for Sabah though where infighting is always fierce considering that East Malaysian politics is politics of the warlords. And there are certainly many warlords in Sabah.
It is said the poorest Sabah warlord is worth only RM200 million. If that is all you are worth then nobody talks about you because wealth in Sabah is measures in terms of billions -- half a billion, one billion and so on. To be worth only RM200 million means you are in the small boys club and not yet worthy to sit with the real man.
Is it any wonder that when they are not visiting their constituency once or twice a year these warlords would be throwing their money away in Australian casinos plus those in other parts of the world? Of course, they make up for this by going to Mekah at least once a year so that they can cleanse their gambling sins and be ‘reborn’ to repeat the routine all over again.
Musa was at the crossroads of his political career in the run-up to the last general election. There was talk that since he could not get the support of the majority of the 25 Sabah divisions he would most likely be dropped. But the problem with this was, while he may command the support of only seven of the 25 divisions, this was also the same for the others as well. No one commanded majority support. And even though Musa may command the support of only seven divisions, neither can any of the other warlords better this.
In a nutshell, Musa may not be the best, but he is certainly not the worse. No one really commands majority support and replacing Musa would only mean you are replacing one problem for probably an even bigger problem.
But Musa was not going to take any chances. He knew he was living on borrowed time and Sabah’s performance in the 8 March 2008 general election would decide his fate. If he can keep the opposition out, then he would be guaranteed another term. But if the opposition makes inroads, then it would be good-bye Musa. His best bet then would be to keep close links with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and serve him in whatever way necessary, through the son-in-law and the Fourth Floor team of course.
However, what would happen if Abdullah Badawi gets ousted and Najib takes over? Well, then Plan B comes into play. And plan B would involve his brother Anifah. Anifah, therefore, has to stay close to Najib so that he would be the bridge Musa builds to Putrajaya in the event Abdullah Badawi is sent into retirement.
When Rosmah throws a private birthday party for Najib where only close friends are invited, Anifah is on the guest list, the only Sabah warlord to receive an invitation. Anifah’s links with Najib therefore extends beyond politics. It is on a very personal level.
But how would Musa explain to Abdullah the reason why his brother is a personal friend and buddy of Najib? Is Musa hedging his bets? If Abdullah stays on then he is okay. If Najib takes over he is still okay, through his brother. This appears like Musa is trying to get the best of both worlds.
To cover their tracks, they got to make it appear like Anifah is the prodigal member of the family. He is a loose cannon. He is what every family dreads, the black sheep of the family. In fact, Anifah is beyond control and would probably even go join the opposition if pushed too far.
This ‘may join the opposition’ story also works in Anifah’s favour. Anwar Ibrahim has said that if Pakatan Rakyat forms the federal government then there may be two or even three Deputy Prime Ministers. Maybe DPM1 would be Malay, DPM2 non-Malay rotated between the Chinese and Indians, and DPM3 would be someone from East Malaysia, rotated between Sabah and Sarawak.
Yes, that is a good plan and something the non-Malays and East Malaysians have been asking for a long time now. Ah, but that is not all. Do you know that Anwar has offered the post of DPM3 to Anifah?
Yes, that was the story relayed to Najib. Therefore, when Najib takes over, he had better offer Anifah an important Cabinet position. Not just Deputy Minister of Welfare or something totally useless. Anwar has offered him the post of DPM. Surely Najib can match that with something worthwhile, even if it is not the post of DPM?
That was the Aman family spin. So now Anifah has to announce to the world that he turned down a lucrative offer of the post of DPM for a lesser post of Foreign Minister. That was the story he told Najib to be able to get this senior cabinet position. So he has to maintain this story for the sake of consistency.
Honestly though, would Anifah really make a suitable DPM? Look at how he talks in his meeting with the United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. He really put his foot in his mouth on this one. A Malaysian Foreign Minister meets the US Secretary of State and he talks about Najib and Altantuya? And he reveals to the Americans that Anwar tried to bribe him with the post of DPM? Hello, either he is more stupid than we thought or he is trying to ruin Najib in the international scene.
Those are not the things you talk about when you meet foreign governments. The US made it clear it viewed the latest sodomy charge against Anwar as a sham charge similar to the first one back in 1998. And you respond by grumbling about people linking Najib to the Altantuya murder and about how you turned down a bribe?
Sheesh, talk about a huge political blunder. The US already thinks that Najib is linked somehow to the murder. In fact, not only the US, but also all the foreign missions in Malaysia as well. Just speak to any Ambassador and they will tell you that they believe Najib’s hands are not clean and that Altantuya’s murder leads to Putrajaya.
There is nothing Anifah can say that will convince them otherwise. And the US did not ask Anifah whether it is true that Najib is guilty. They asked about what they thought was a sham sodomy charge that will soon lead to a sham sodomy trial. And Anifah responds by talking about Najib and Altantuya and the bribe he turned down instead.