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Friday, April 17, 2009

> Anwar - What's up?

One swallow does not a summer make. So Lim Guan Eng not getting the heads-up from Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim over the Penanti assemblyman's resignation today should not hint that Pakatan Rakyat has any internal differences or leaders who keep secrets from each other.

After all, the two parties and PAS agreed not to contest each other in Election 2008 to given the long-ruling Barisan Nasional coalition a run for the money despite half-hearted alliances made earlier in 1990 and 1999.

Against all odds, the now-christened Pakatan Rakyat scored a historic and unprecendented triumph by capturing four states and now 82 out of the 222 seats in the parliament. Five by-elections later and losing only one, Pakatan Rakyat is almost as firm a coalition as Barisan Nasional has been since 1974.

But the indecision over replacing Mohammad Fairus Khairuddin as Penang deputy chief minister I has taken a long time with all blame squarely in Anwar's court. Twice in a week, Lim has had to bear with stinging remarks about being Anwar's puppet when delaying the appointment  with just a choice of two PKR assemblymen.

Despite having the prerogative to name his deputy without referring to anyone, Lim has taken pains to get Anwar to decide the person knowing full well any of the two assemblymen will not take the post without the PKR de facto leader's nod. The DAP leader hinted as much yesterday when asking Anwar to confirm if he will force a by-election in Penanti to decide the replacement.

PKR's decision today to put in Fairus' letter resigning from the Penanti state seat gave Lim the answer. But Lim was away in Singapore and apparently was not informed earlier of Fairus' resignation letter.

Sources said Lim is also fulminating as the letter is apparently dated March 19, two days before Fairus wrote a letter to let go of his deputy chief minister I and state executive councillor positions to fight off corruption allegations.

And as late as last week, Anwar had also assured everyone that Fairus was to remain as Penanti assemblyman until the next general elections.

But today's events show that Anwar has kept his cards close to his chest, even from his own partners and allies in the Pakatan Rakyat. His actions will leave a sour taste in the alliance that is seeking to topple the Barisan Nasional government. For PKR is the fulcrum that has brought two disparate parties together - the secular DAP and the Islamist PAS - in Pakatan Rakyat.

It did the same in 1999 when the trio formed Barisan Alternatif but DAP left after disagreements over PAS' Islamic state concept. Today, all three have agreed to stick to one line of 'Ketuanan Rakyat' but such politicking to name a senior government official could cause a crack to an otherwise smooth partnership.

In delaying to name a deputy chief minister, both Lim and Anwar have been seen to indecisive. In not informing his allies first that Fairus has tendered his resignation from the state seat, Anwar is seen as secretive and suspicious.

No partnership needs such secrets. Not one that has been pushing for transparency in all aspects of governance in Malaysia.

After all, the Pakatan Rakyat government in Penang has put competency, accountability and transparency or CAT as its cornerstone of administration.

It should also be Anwar and PKR's mantra if they want Pakatan Rakyat to continue getting stronger as the days go by - The Malaysian Insider.