Despite all the speculation and the on going turmoil in UMNO, the road to the PM's office still ha a number of obstacles for Anwar Ibrahim. The biggest obstacle is that public perception of him is quite divided.
There are those who say Anwar is no different and will be no different from the UMNO boys of today - after all he was a master at the game as he rose up the ranks in UMNO.
Then there are those who say prison does change a man and they quote Ghandi and Mandela as examples… Unfortunately in the case of GHANDI and Mandela, prison did not change them but further strengthened their resolve to see independence, liberation and for Mandela the abolishment of apartheid.
In my view, prison has only strengthened Anwar Ibrahim's resolve. Resolve about what? Resolve to proof that Tun Mahathir was a despot perpetrating cronyism and nepotism. Whilst I think Anwar has got good leadership qualities, I don't think he will use those qualities for the benefit of the nation but for the benefit of installing his view or concept of how UMNO and BN should be run.
There is just too much "sandiwara" or posturing going on to make the him a trustable and believable candidate, not withstanding that he is an astute and respected politicians. I think Anwar's prime and only concern is about himself becoming PM and he will use what ever means it takes to achieve that objective, but it does mean that to achieve that he will have to be the president of UMNO.
Just like Mahathir, for Anwar the ends do truly justify the means.
The political and ideological concessions that DAP and PAS will have to make in order to fit into a unified PKR platform are simply too big. The fact that we are not seeing any public discussion of how this loose "PKR coalition" is going to come together under a single party symbol is telling enough. Right now the binding factor between PKR, DAP, and PAS is the common goal of weakening Barisan's hold - which they have done very well.
But the party lines are still drawn with strong racial undertones… and if PKR's promise is for a unified Bangsa Malaysia - the the three parties really need to be talking about it now, in public. What does Bangsa Malaysia mean in terms of a national agenda and what is the policy framework for it. It is easy for Anwar to criticise about what is currently wrong with the government and it is easy for him to paint a picture of what an ideal future can look like, but the challenge will be in the details and for that - we have heard nothing.
At the state level, PAS with Kelantan and Kedah under its belt will seek to consolidate its position, likewise DAP with Penang and Perak while PKR really only has Selangor and the most Parliament seats held by the opposition.
So with this level of wins - the "oppoition" is far better off collaborating with each other rather than fighting as they all have a common enemy - namely BN.
Should this balance of power change in that either DAP or PAS becomes significantly strong relative to the other at the next elections, think we will see a lot more flexing of muscles and thats where the real ideological conflicts will arise.
Right now, I give high marks to the respective MB's for demonstrating that the "opposition" controlled stated can function and are functioning better that when they were under BN. And if the "opposition" is serious about working under a single flag then they are going to have to demonstrate it in the states first. Right now the mood is toleration, simply because it is needed to show solidarity. However, to step the relation up a few more notches will require compromises and this will be hard to do.
For PKR to really unify - Anwar will have to step down - together with Lim Kit Siang, Karpal Singh, and Nik Aziz and allow the next generation to take over and push the agenda. For now the old guards have done enought to get us to where we need to be. Unlike UMNO, the PKR coalition, in order to succeed, must show an ability for the old to give way to the young in order for constant renewal to take place.
So, Anwar, thank you for getting us this far. You may not become PM but the outcome of this election is more than what any PM has done for the country.. but now its time for you to find a new face to lead the PKR coalition….