From the person in the street to the learned analyst and local and foreign media, we were inundated by emotional outbursts, ranging from shock to disdain, over the months-long rumoured pardon for a convict.
This almost became a reality on 30 January.
Even though Najib Razak has not been awarded any real pardon, halving his sentence and reducing his fine has similar implications for the country.
Will the current government’s purring condescension, warnings to shut up and calls to “respect the powers of the Constitution” bring real closure to the criticisms? Or will the unease continue to fester?
Political analyst Bridget Welsh describes the reduced prison time and ‘discounted’ fine for the convicted Najib – who still faces several more trials in court – as “a poison pill Malaysians will have to swallow”.
This move appears to have nudged out values like fair, just and effective governance from the Madani (civil and compassionate) mantra coined by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim. These values seem to have fallen by the wayside, secondary to turbulent power struggles.
Perhaps it is time for us now to gaze at the crystal ball to see what the future holds. If speculation is not a sin, then here are some guesses.
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Will Anwar be able to survive politically in the medium term? Will there now be a renewed rush to get the ‘numbers’ for a vote of no confidence in Parliament? Will this lead to an early general election?
Ah, then there is this faint glow in the crystal ball suggesting that the pathway has been cleared for Umno to return to power, reinvented with a revived leadership to include the MCA and the MIC.
In another section of the crystal ball sits the prediction that ethnic Malay votes – known to be split right down the middle – will now also be joined by disillusioned ethnic minorities.
Are we in for another season of a ‘no two-thirds majority’ government? Who or what is the hidden hand that is moving and shaking Malaysia? That is anyone’s guess.
Is there a plot (or political strategy) behind these latest developments? Have we reached another major national crossroads?
We wait and watch.