Tuesday, January 28, 2014


There is a new development on the Malaysian political scene. PKR and Umno are holding unofficial talks regarding coming to the conference table to explore issues of common and national interest. The two news items below confirm this but what I want to talk about today is the following part of those news reports:
In response, Anwar said: “I must commend Zahid Hamidi as this is the first positive response of any senior Umno leader to reach a national consensus”. Anwar said that PKR party secretary-general, Datuk Saifuddin Nasution, has been instructed to explore the issue and take the proposal forward.
So now we are beginning to understand what Anwar Ibrahim’s ‘national consensus’ press conference at 3.00pm yesterday was all about. It was to prepare Malaysians for the planned PKR-Umno peace talks.

The two men who have been tasked with the job of paving the way for PKR and Umno to meet are Saifuddin Nasution and Zahid Hamidi. Saifuddin used to work under Zahid back in the former’s Umno days and they have remained friends ever since even though Saifuddin crossed over to the other side while Zahid chose to remain in Umno.
We must remember that Zahid was the man who was instrumental in the attempt to bring down Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad back in 1997 by exposing the wrongdoings of the Prime Minister regarding the awarding of contracts to his (Dr Mahathir’s) friends, family members and cronies.
That move, however, backfired when Dr Mahathir also revealed the list of contracts that Anwar, too, had awarded to his friends, family members and cronies. Hence it ended in a checkmate with no winner and both coming out looking bad.
Further to that, Zahid was also amongst those who were detained without trial together with Anwar in September 1998. Eventually, all the others left Umno to join Anwar’s new party, Parti Keadilan Nasional (some joined PAS), while Zahid remained in Umno, a decision that puzzled most people (unless this was Anwar’s plan to keep some of his people in Umno).
Anwar’s most brilliant move ever was probably in appointing Zahid as Najib Tun Razak’s political secretary in 1986 when Najib was still just the Umno Youth Leader. In that way Anwar could keep track of what Najib was up to and ensure that there would be no surprises.
Anyway, Saifuddin and Zahid both spent Christmas in London recently where they met to hammer out the details of PKR and Umno meeting at a ‘table talk’. Anwar, who confirmed that this was the plan, denied, however, that this is the first step to some sort of ‘unity government’ between PKR and Umno.
It is no doubt too early to talk about a unity government. They first have to meet and see whether an engagement is even possible before discussing a marriage. But if the unity government does happen, then all credit must be given to Saifuddin and Zahid who have been working very hard over the last month to pave the way for such a probability.
Kudos to Saifuddin and Zahid. Maybe some sanity can now be restored to Malaysian politics.
But would this mean the death of the ABU Movement? And what is Dr Mahathir going to do to Najib if this engagement and eventual marriage does happen? Or is Najib going to tell the Old Man to go jump?
Anwar: Zahid’s response to national consensus positive
(The Star) – Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim described as positive Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi’s response to national consensus on critical issues facing the nation.
Anwar said on Monday that this was the first positive response from a senior Umno leader to his call for a consensus between Barisan Nasional and Pakatan on such issues.
He said that PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution would be responding to Dr Ahmad Zaid, who had stated that Umno and Barisan Nasional leaders should take up Anwar’s call for a national consensus to address issues affecting religious and harmony in the country.
Dr Ahmad Zahid had described Anwar’s offer of ‘olive branch’ as a proactive move and should be considered.
Anwar dismissed talk that his call for consensus was an indication of a unity government.
“No, no relevance to unity government. I spelt out the issues. We need a consensus of fundamental issues that concern the nation; race, religion, corruption and economy,” he told reporters at Kuala Lumpur High Court here.
When asked about a unity government, Saifuddin just laughed off the suggestion.
“I meet Zahid and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal (Umno vice-presidents) all the time.
“They are all my friends and we remain friends until now. There’s no problem,” he said after attending Anwar’s court case.
Anwar: Bi-partisan dialogue not precursor to unity government
(fz.com) – The suggested bi-partisan talks between Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan Nasional (BN) is not an indication that a unity government may be formed, stressed Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“There is no relevance to a unity government,” Anwar said when asked to comment if this was a goal of the bi-partisan talks he once again suggested in his  special address to all Malaysians that he delivered at a dialogue with students in Bandar Sunway yesterday.
The Permatang Pauh MP added that he had specifically outlined the issues which will be needed to be discussed – concerning race, religion, corruption and the nation’s economy.
“We need a consensus of fundamental issues that concern the nation,” he said.
The PKR Supremo also commended Defence Minister and UMNO Vice President Datuk Seri Zahid Hamidi for his willingness to have bipartisan dialogues.
Zahid, a long acquaintance of Anwar, this morning reportedly said that the proposal should be taken into consideration by BN and Umno. He however added that it was up to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to make the final call on the matter.
In response, Anwar said: “I must commend Zahid Hamidi as this is the first positive response of any senior Umno leader to reach a national consensus”.
Anwar said that PKR party secretary-general, Datuk Saifuddin Nasution, has been instructed to explore the issue and take the proposal forward.
Anwar was speaking to reporters after testifying in his defamation suit against blogger Papagomo.
Saifuddin, who was also present in court, was asked by reporters outside the courtroom, to comment if it was true that he had met with Zahid even before the latest proposal for talks.
Saifuddin said that he constantly meets Zahid and also other Umno Vice-Presidents (VP) Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal and Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein as they are friends.
“Zahid, Hisham and Shafie are my friends who I meet all the time – in the past, now and in the future,” he said. He however denied that they had discussed unity talks in their meetings.

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