The Anwar, Pakatan dilemma

The Anwar, Pakatan dilemma

The 'incorrigible optimist' faces his biggest hurdles in the coming weeks, but one thing seems to be certain - the formidable threat his coalition is to Barisan appears to be waning.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is facing the most difficult time ahead, perhaps the toughest in his entire four-decade political career.

He came close to achieving his ambition to unseat Barisan Nasional and become Prime Minister. But his horse, the Pakatan Rakyat, just did not have enough stamina to beat the ruling coalition to the finishing line.

It fell short of the required 112 seats in parliament.

With 88 seats under Pakatan, Anwar, however, has achieved what no one before him had managed to - deny the long ruling Barisan its two-thirds majority in Parliament.

But now, that sterling achievement is beginning to unravel its ugly side on two fronts, and both impact Anwar directly.

The first is a recalcitrant PAS that is refusing to toe the Opposition Leader's or rather the DAP's line. The second and more immediate concern is the Feb 10 verdict of his long delayed Sodomy 2 trial.

PAS is having a mind of its own and its antics - from not supporting PKR president Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail as Mentri Besar of Selangor last August to virtually boycotting Pakatan presidential council meetings and opposing elections for local councils - are increasingly becoming an unbearable pain.

"The situation has come to a parting of ways between us and PAS," said a DAP Member of Parliament, who declined to be named.

"The tipping point is boiling to a climax. But the spark that will light the fiery mixture is still missing," he said.

Anwar, who is famous for brokering compromises, has failed, thus far, to work his charm on PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang.

He has not been able to persuade the cleric to even attend the presidential council meetings and the DAP has vowed not to attend unless the PAS president does.

Only some Pakatan MPs have been actively raising issues, in and outside Parliament. The coalition itself appears dead in the water.

Pakatan supporters are beginning to wonder whether the coalition is a "one-term wonder" as DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang put it.

The six-million-dollar question is whether it will survive intact and be able to face its arch-rival at the next general election.

The other pressing issue is that the Federal Court is set to deliver its verdict on Anwar's trial in less than two weeks from now.

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