I have often cut and pasted Dato' Mohd Ariff Sabri's (Sakmongkol AK47) blogposts here and regard him as a sound voice in the UMNO wilderness. However, to me his post entitled, "BN for Permatang Pasir" just did not sound like him. I was wondering why and bombarded his comments space with my own "cakap kosong" as follows:
Dear Dato’ Sak,
I do follow your blog and find you an intelligent person with the ability to present your views clearly and effectively most times. After reading this post I asked myself why I detect a feeling that you yourself may not be too convinced by what you wrote and perhaps did so as an obligatory gesture. It appeared to me you are playing to a particular gallery (UMNO loyalists perhaps) when your heart of hearts tells you a BN defeat in Permatang Pasir is a foregone conclusion. I may be wrong as I based my impression on gut feel and my opinion that your argument is uncharacteristically fallacious.
I am no Anwarista or a card carrying member of any party and your “open letter” to the voters of Permatang Pasir does give too much credit to Anwar and too little recognition to prevailing popular opinion. While you appear to be “addressing” Malay voters by stating the obvious that it is between UMNO and PAS, you are subtly trying to convince the non-Malays to vote for development aren’t you? Please permit me to present my two sen by paraphrasing you (your own words in italics red):
I have criticised some of the things that UMNO has done. I have not spared its top leadership from criticisms either. That doesn't mean that I support what PKR and PR do. (Your point is taken). I will now tell you why the people of Permatang Pasir must now vote for UMNO and BN. Especially the 15,000 Malays and 5000 non Malays. (Why “especially” Malays and Non-Malays when you could easily have said say, 8,000 female and 7,000 male voters, if you did not intend to address the non-Malays in the first place. The 15,000 and 5,000 proportion coincidentally reflects the nation’s overall demographics. Obviously the non-Malay votes will hold sway if Malay voters are split down the middle assuming UMNO can dangerously drive home its oxymoronic yet ominous “Ketuanan Melayu” and “Melayu under siege” twin messages.
This election is between UMNO and PAS (Obviously). PAS is but a pawn in the bigger scheme of things which is the salvation of Anwar Ibrahim (That is being presumptuous but I suppose you can be right; it is only about Anwar only because Permatang Pasir happens to be in his parliamentary constituency and the previous ADUN happened to die in office) and legitimacy of DAP in Penang (how can legitimacy be an issue when DAP’s 19 seats alone is already more than BN’s 9; PKR’s 9 and PAS’ 1 aside). PAS and DAP will be trying hard to convince the people that UMNO is here in Permatang Pasir as part of the bigger plan to persecute Anwar and PKR. (the persecution by prosecution and demonization (traitor?) of Anwar is ongoing and an accepted fact that needs no convincing. Persecute PKR? It is DAP that needs not convince anyone that it’s its reps and supporters who appear being persecuted) Indeed, the issues that will be raised by the soon to be formalised coalition of opposition will be centred on this: - that the PR opposes the persecution of the people by UMNO. It therefore claims it speaks for the people. (Again presumptuous; the formalization could well be to reduce dependence or emphasis on any one individual or personality whether it be Tok Guru, Anwar or Kit Siang. Or it could be to formalize a common agenda but certainly it is not “centred” on the issues you postulated).
Accordingly PR will exploit the issues which the current administration is tackling- issues concerning judiciary, issues related to law enforcement, economic injustice, racial harmony and so forth. (Now you are talking. These issues need no convincing and as mentioned earlier you gave too little recognition to prevailing popular opinion. The people can see for themselves that your mentioned issues are getting worse under the current administration while the administrator continues to pontificate about his 1Malaysia – the “cakap tak serupa bikin” reality makes a mockery of the people).
Nothing is further from the truth. (Is it really?) The real issue however is your interest- the people of Permatang Pasir. (This is the main thrust of UMNO election strategy; to continue telling Malays it is the sole custodian of Malay welfare while assuaging the non-Malays with bread and circuses or blatant bully talk. What will it be this time? Another bridge perhaps or cold hard duit raya?) Pakatan Rakyat raises their issues as a diversionary strategy to conceal the startling FACT that it is utterly incapable of looking after the people's interests. (Instead of pulling up its own socks, the BN reveals its own impotency and plain lack of capability by trying to show out the ineffectiveness and weaknesses of PR; this by-election result risks showing that the BN strategy has backfired and that the people can accept the fact that without Federal cooperation, State governments are hampered. Then it would be when BN should be afraid, be very afraid because matters that can be issues are running out. Currently, the race horse is being flogged; pun intended)
Don't allow your future be held ransom by Anwar Ibrahim.
The member of parliament of Permatang Pauh of which Permatang Pasir is part of, is Anwar Ibrahim. Anwar Ibrahim is facing a host of problems. He may wail here, there and everywhere accusing the whole world of turning its back on him, in the end he will have to answer the charges in court. Those charges are proffered against him in his personal capacity. What he has done and does so cunningly is to make it appear that his personal problems are also that of the people. We have nothing to do with what he does behind locked doors. (Here I think you are trying to take a very public by-election private. Anwar’s baggage is well known and to many, the accusations levied at him largely remain conjecture. At the moment, Anwar’s baggage cannot be conceivably heavier than Najib’s own heavy baggage load of missing links and such, and the worry for BN is that Najib has already been tried and convicted in the court (albeit a kangaroo one) of public opinion and awaiting execution).
What has that trickery led to? It has led to stagnation. (Really? Even if so, perhaps the people are willing to bite the bullet for three years or so; or more importantly, do you honestly think very much can and will be done to make Permatang Pasir a booming enclave in a “stagnant” Permatang Pauh in three years?) The world in Permatang Pauh and Permatang Pasir come to a halt on account of Anwar Ibrahim. We must recognise this situation as it truly is- the future of the people in Permatang Pasir and Permatang Pauh are held at ransom. This is tyranny disguised behind a list of accusations against the ruling government. Anwar Ibrahim is as much a tyrant as those he accuses of by manipulating his personal problems to incarcerate the minds of the people in Permatang Pauh and Permatang Pasir. (Dato’ Sak can you actually hear your own rhetoric? I am sure you have also heard it said, “…it is not that the people love Anwar more; what used to be less love for Barisan has turned to pure hate”)
Hence Anwar Ibrahim insists his problems are the result of a grand conspiracy between the government, the judiciary, the law enforcers and indeed the whole world. He has accused the ruling government of not playing fair while he himself does not know what is fair to the people anymore. He must do so to stay relevant. Justice exists in so far as Anwar Ibrahim is acquitted from all charges. (Correct! Correct! Correct!)
He can't forever lead us on a wild goose chase, disputing everything in sight even before they appear before the courts. The whole story about a conspiracy that has never died down since 1998 is always stirred up to divert attention. (Same old, same old, Dato’ Sak. I can agree that Anwar has spewed his share of bull and after all, he is cut of the same UMNO cloth. However, most voters now do not even think of Anwar because PR is making the right noise and moves by attracting enough intelligentsia into its fold. It would be a major blow to BN if the next by-election is in Gua Musang when differentiation dawns that Mahathir’s UMNO Baru is not the beloved UMNO Lama)
We don't know what the outcome of his on coming trial is. (Don’t we really?) Let us not place the future of Permatang Pasir on the outcome of Anwar's trial. (Along the same tack, most people expect Anwar to be convicted but Dato’ Sak, you may be right in a perverse way; the future of Permatang Pauh will rest on that outcome) To do so would be to hold the future of Permatang Pasir at ransom. Why should the future of Permatang Pasir be made to depend on Anwar Ibrahim's leading us on to believe he is a victim of a grand conspiracy? (With due respect sir, it does not)
I am always ready to give him the benefit of doubt as far as all the accusations of sexual preferences are concerned. (I think most people would too but then, they would much prefer a competent and professional PDRM, AG and last but not least, an independent Judiciary) But the future and the welfare of the people in Pernatang Pasir and Permatang Pauh shouldn't be held ransom by his personal problem. (Repetition does not make a point right)
This is the fundamental reason why the voters in Permatang Pasir must now vote for UMNO candidate. (Dato’ I must reiterate all this does not sound to me like the usual astute Sakmongkol AK47 analysis at all)
Just think about these things. (My opinion is probably wrong but as you said Dato’…just think about these things)
Lastly, how does one vote a candidate into a position of trust when even his own peers have convicted him of betrayal of trust?