Saturday, August 16, 2008
Arif Shah's Mission Impossible
It's going to be a mission impossible for Barisan Nasional candidate Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, who is standing against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Permatang Pauh. The third contender Hanafi Hamat from the so-called Angkatan Keadilan Insan Malaysia, said to be a splinter of PAS, is a non starter and essentially a spoiler if the votes are tight. But that is unlikely to happen. Anwar is almost certain to cruise through the polls. Even if Arif manages to trim down the majority, which is itself a great achievement, the gap is unlikely to be wide. Although Arif has put up a brave front, saying he can beat Anwar, that is not going to happen realistically. But the national exposure for Arif would certainly help him within Umno in the long run. Today, probably for the first time in any elections campaign, the opposition supporters outnumbered the Barisan Nasional, some said as many as 17 Pakatan Rakyat supporters to one BN supporter. There are plenty of reasons why Anwar is confident. Mohd Saiful Bukhari's decision to swear on the Quran that he was sodomised by Anwar is unlikely to have an impact on the by-election. But he has to sort out the security arrangements of the PKR. The continuing roughing up of reporters by these ruffians does not help the image of PKR, even though the leadership does not endorse the thuggish behaviour. All parties including PAS have their security staff but PKR has got the worst reputation. Instead of being defensive, claiming they are unsure whether these are PKR men, the party leaders should just enforce better discipline and organise these personnels more effectively.