Pak Lah Moves Into Place

“He [Anwar] is a threat to our economy and maybe even our [national] security. I will not indicate to you what I plan to do, but what I will do, will be in the interest of the country.” (read MalaysianInsider here).

Last week, it was Tan Hoon Cheng, Teresa Kok and Raja Petra Kamaruddin a.k.a. RPK arrested under ISA for racial incitement.

This week? Is the ISA to be used to silence the PM’s and Government’s critics? Who determines a person to be a threat to national security? Who does the PM answer to in such times? It does not appear that the PM is answerable to the people of Malaysia as much as he is to Umno.

Pak Lah’s statement is a veiled threat to Anwar that he is not beyond his reach, that Anwar is not beyond the ISA dragnet.  Pak Lah to Anwar, your move now.

As PM of Malaysia, he wields absolute power as he so wishes, especially with the ISA. There is no question about it. The only question is on how he uses it in accordance with the spirit of the law.

But do you use it to silence your opponents when you can’t out talk or out flank them? Can the PM play judge at the same time on who he wishes to be locked up? It is the general consensus of all Malaysians that there shouldn’t be anyone who has that absolute power with no accountability.

Last week’s arrests can be viewed as a show of strength to remind all opposing forces that Pak Lah can flex his ISA muscles anytime on anyone he so wishes, even clearly innocent Malaysians as we saw arrested. Is that the Pak Lah, the PM of all Malaysians, the one that over 90% of Malaysians voted for in 2004?

Today, Pak Lah swapped with Najib to be the Defence Minister. Pak Lah now has absolute defence and security powers, including the troop deployment if needed when he feels is necessary to do so. That means Pak Lah now is almost demi God in Malaysia. And looking at the way the ISA is used, Pak Lah is telling everybody to watch out and fear him. Don’t count him out just yet.

Is this in preparation of tomorrow’s Umno Supreme Council meeting, the Divisional meetings and the Umno elections? Or is he consolidating his powers in light of Anwar’s push for a peaceful transition to takeover from him? Will anyone who stands against him, whether from outside or inside of Umno, be dunked with an ISA arrest? Where is Mahathir‘s hand in all these manouvers? Will this thwart Muhyiddin‘s and Razaleigh‘s plan of challenging Pak Lah?

Setting up Najib as Finance Minister may appear to show that the transition plan is in motion. Or is it? Is Najib capable to move from negotiating submarine deals to deciding on overall Government spending? Can Najib revive the economy? How will all the baggage from various allegations affect him? Can Najib come up with a better Budget than Pak Lah? Can he trim the national deficits, lower fuel prices and control the rise of inflation? Is he being set up or is this position really leveraging his strengths?

Pak Lah’s move today is in response to Anwar’s September 16 chess move to check him. Anwar asked for a meeting to discuss a peaceful transition on yesterday. Today, Pak Lah says don’t “play play” with him. He has ultimate control over defence matters, meaning anything that’s related to national security is under his control. Don’t fool around with Pak Lah now!

This is the message today. September 17. What does tomorrow bring?

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