By this time (6pm) tomorrow, Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak will be the nation's sixth Prime Minister, something that I have been looking forward to for a long time.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim however dreads the idea of Najib becoming the Premier. The reason is simple. Anwar is afraid that 2004 will repeat itself.
In 2004, Barisan Nasional was given a landslide victory by the rakyat. Malaysians gave overwhelming support to Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi because they were, to a certain extent, upset with former Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad over the handling of Anwar's sodomy issue. Many people did not believe the allegation at that time. It was not Dr Mahathir's fault though. Anwar's case was then badly handled by the police and the prosecution.
So in the 1999 general election, a year after Anwar was sacked from all his Government and Umno posts, those who simply refused to believe that there was "another side" to Anwar voted for the Opposition. BN narrowly obtained two-thirds majority.
In 2004, soon after Dr Mahathir handed the baton to Abdullah, the voters who previously voted for the Opposition gave Abdullah and the BN the biggest ever win in the country's history. These voters were angry, for a short while, with BN.
But shortly after Abdullah took over, his policies or the lack of them, disappointed the people. Abdullah's administration practised cronyism and nepotism of the highest degree. Children and in-laws were favoured over others. Close associates like Kalimullah Maseerul Hassan, Patrick (Badawi) Lim got everything they wanted. Abdullah was like a ginny in an Aladdin lamp. Each time, they rubbed him a little, their wishes will come true. It was that easy!
Kalimullah was obssessed with Abdullah. He behaved like a teenager in love. When he took over as Group Editor-in-Chief of NSTP, he wanted everyone to love Abdullah like he did. He had no qualms of sacking those who didn't. Many left before they were axed. He brought in people whom he knew would never say "NO" to him. One of them was Brenden Pereira.
Kalimullah ran the paper with an iron fist. His hatchet man Pereira will even tell off reporters who spoke loudly on the phone. The atmosphere of a newsroom which is supposed to be lively, soon became like a Government Department in Singapore. People began to whisper to one another. He created zombies. I remember how, when I was still at the NST, we used to crack jokes across the floor. Everyone used to laugh at those jokes, Yani and Rokk being the loudest.
During Kalimullah's era, all political articles must give credit to Abdullah. No mention of Tun Mahathir, no mention of Anwar Ibrahim. They should not even be mentioned in passing. He re-wrote commentaries and columns to give credit to Abdullah, although it was other people's efforts. The reputation of some writers were badly affected because of Kalimullah's doings. When BN won by-elections which were normally spearheaded by Najib, Kalimullah would never acknowledge that it was Najib's efforts. It was always Abdullah. But when BN lost, it would be Najib's fault. Kalimullah steered the NST into ruins.
Soon after Abdullah took over most people became convinced that Dr Mahathir was right about Anwar. Needless to say, Dr Mahathir was once again vindicated.
Abdullah paid a heavy price for his cronyism and nepotism as well as the flip-flop policies. As a result Barisan Nasional lost its two-third majority in the 2008 general election, the worst ever in the history of the coalition. Political pressure soon mounted and Abdullah was forced to call it quits. When Abdullah retires tomorrow, he would become the shortest serving Prime Minister in Malaysia's history.
My point is this. Most Malaysians still want BN to rule. Whenever they vote for the Opposition, they do so only to vent their anger at BN. They don't stay angry for long. Now that Abdullah has decided to retire, these voters will soon return to BN.
I am sure the people will give Najib overwhelming support just like they gave Abdullah in 2004. This is what Anwar fears most.
Hence, Anwar's letter today to DYMM Yang di-Pertuan Agong urging him to postpone the appointment of Najib until an Independent Commission clears Najib of involvement in the Altantuya murder.
Why is there a need for an Independent Commission when the police have repeatedly said there was nothing to link Najib to the case?
In fact, Najib had even sworn by the Quran, that he had never met Altantuya. As a Muslim, Anwar knows that no Muslim would lie on the Quran. For the record, Anwar had never sworn by the Quran to deny all those things that he has been accused of doing.
P.s. If you receive an sms saying that the Yang di-Pertuan Agong has refused to appoint Najib as the Prime Minister, don't believe it as it is a maliscious lie.