Just Another Day On Sept 16

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It is Sept 17 today and the Barisan National-led government still rules despite the Sept 16 deadline given by the Pakatan Rakyat leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

While Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his deputy Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak can heave a sigh of relief, but are BN's woes far from over?

Since Anwar first 'prophesised' the date in April, political observers and the media have been pre-occupied with the deadline for Pakatan to take over the country's leadership.

It is obvious that Anwar had successfully used Sept 16 as a psychological point that clearly overwhelmed ordinary citizens and caused concern among BN circles. But what emerged has been a lot of hot air by Anwar.

A good number of people were confident that Anwar's rise to power was inexorable by Sept 16 and it would be doomsday for BN, a coalition that has been ruling the nation for more than half a century. News portals and bloggers were also confident of BN's downfall on the specified date.

How disappointing it was to the many legions of Anwar's supporters and fans that the magic did not happen.

Out of 222 seats in Parliament, BN won 140 seats in the March 8 while Pakatan consisting of PAS, PKR, DAP and other smaller parties won the rest of the seats. Since then, Pakatan has been snapping at BN that it would get enough MPs to cross over. That did not take place.

There has been speculation that Anwar would bank on MPs from Sabah and Sarawak to tilt the balance in favour of Pakatan but even this failed to materialise amidst claims that the BN leadership had neglected development in the two East Malaysian states.

Only Sabah Progressive Party, with two MPs, has decided to abandon the BN ship Wednesday.

In the run-up to the Sept 16 deadline BN, which was wilting somewhat under constant barrage of pronouncements by Anwar especially after he had won the Permatang Pauh by-election on Aug 26, made some farcical moves.

This was especially so when the BN Backbenchers Club whisked away 49 MPs on a agricultural study trip to Taiwan, a territory which has no diplomatic relations with Malaysia, where the move was seen by many as an attempt to firewall the advances of Pakatan.

Or was it to allow the MPs to see the big picture in agriculture and who could then be relied upon to stimulate the rural economy or rachet up the agricultural sector?

Even though Anwar had his chance to reveal who he had courted or willing to be on his side on Sept 16, he still failed to produce the list of "leapfroggers" and is indulging in mind games.

Granted that there are several prickly issues within BN following its dismal showing in the 2008 general election, it is not that Abdullah and his deputy, Najib, are not doing anything to mend fences and shore up confidence.

The country, whose stamina has been sapped by too much politicking even after the election posters had been carted away and burnt, needs to re-energised.

There are a lot of issues to be tackled, especially in terms of the rakyat's aspirations in many areas like race relations, education, employment opportunities and advancements, and economic prosperity.

It has been daunting for BN over the last six months but the country's leadership has managed to provide a steady hand to prevent the country to go into a free-fall.

In fact, Abdullah has already initiated the power transition by switching portfolios with Najib, with the former taking on defence and the latter finance.

And going by what Najib said in his just-launched blogsite, there is still a glimmer of hope for Malaysians in the 21st century and beyond.

More confidence-building measures are in the pipeline besides the wide-ranging economic boosters in the recent 2009 Budget and everyone should not be too pre-occupied with politics.

And so Sept 16, 2008 came and went, only to mark the 45th year of the founding of of Malaysia. For those who are old enough to remember, it was "another day", just like the title of the first record that Paul McCartney released in 1970 after The Beatles broke up.