Anwar went to bed Wednesday thinking the rakyat had bought his flimsy case for delaying the Selangor elections

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Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim went to bed Wednesday thinking the rakyat had bought his flimsy case for delaying the Selangor elections, but on Thursday he came up against Umno Youth Chief Khairy Jamaluddin, who point-blank called his bluff.

Khairy says Anwar’s sneaky manoeuvre is designed only to allow PKR to keep its one and only asset should it lose GE13, saying: “if they lose in the general election, they will ask the voters in Selangor to give them another chance.”

This is a timely slap in the face for Anwar, who is eager not to look desperate as his coalition’s electoral prospects crumble in the face of a resurgent BN, its promises fulfilled and the long term reform agendas that are now bearing fruit.

Anwar knows Pakatan is drowning in a sea of half-baked populist ideas that betray its lack of any long-term vision for the nation. As a result, all the Pakatan parties are focusing on clinging onto their states but, as Khairy has also observed, even in this strategy the disunity of Pakatan Rakyat is laid bare.

Seizing on the inconsistencies, Khairy cited the reason Anwar gave for the delay in Selangor – the allegation that the electoral roll has yet to be cleaned up. Yet Kelantan is going ahead with a simultaneous poll. Does this mean the roll is somehow good enough for one Pakatan state but not good enough for another?

“This once again shows that they (the Pakatan parties) are far from united. This is basic stuff and yet there is no agreement. This will be disastrous in government,” he said.

And he also said Anwar’s attempted deception has exposed another case of Pakatan hypocrisy. It has ceaselessly attacked Najib for creating uncertainty over the election date but now Anwar has done exactly the same thing. When will the Selangor poll be held, Anwar? Everyone would like to know so they can plan ahead.

Khairy is quite right to take Anwar to task over these Selangor shenanigans for two reasons. Firstly, voters need to know just how fragile is the confidence of Anwar, and indeed the whole of Pakatan Rakyat, as the election nears.

Rather than rise to the challenge of Najib’s BN and work even harder to articulate an alternate vision for Malaysia, they are instead retreating to their bunker. What we are seeing is Pakatan at its most nervous and most inward looking. It is obsessed only with survival, unable to stand tall, and looking nothing at all like an alternative Government.

The second reason Khairy is right to speak out is more practical. A separate state poll will cost around RM30 million to hold and this is a scandalous waste of money. The amount might be a pittance compared to the billions Khairy has revealed Pakatan’s promises will cost, but none-the-less it shows up their frivolous tendencies.

Imagine if it was BN that was doing what Anwar is now proposing. DAP’s Tony Pua would be calling a press conference to indignantly denounce the ruling coalition for the very same offence.

Anwar must now feel like he has been caught out in a pincer move, with Khairy and Saifuddin the unlikely duo to have held him to account. – The Choice