Nurul Izzah is the victim of dubious play

ben_arfa_broken.jpgNigel de Jong did something terrible during Man City’s last game against Newcastle: within the first 3 minutes of the game, he scythed down Hatem Ben Arfa, breaking his leg in two places. In sport, that’s what dirty players do — they disable their opponent’s best player with whatever means necessary early on in the game.

Seems that this principle holds true in politics as well, in a place where we least expect it.

PKR is all about transparency, accountability and the rule of law. Chest thumping believers of the democratic process. See? We changed our constitution to allow for direct elections in our party! We are walking the talk.

What a farce it has all become. The protracted character assassination of Zaid Ibrahim; well, he isn’t a tooth fairy but it did seem to me that the greater the threat he presented, the harder the PKR-influenced machinima came down on him. The mess that was the division elections at certain strategic locations; allegations of electoral impropriety, phantom votes, tampered ballot boxes. And now, if RPK is to be believed, the dismissal of Nurul Izzah from the race just as we were about to start in earnest.

I wouldn’t blame you if all the things i’d described was something we’d expect to see from an UMNO election, or even our nation’s general elections past present and future. But this is all coming from our champion of a “better Malaysia” — PKR. The political home of the de facto leader of the Opposition of Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim. What a freaking mess. Surely, the watching public expected better.

It’s easy to say PM Najib is a “talk a lot, do nothing” leader. Well, i say, put the shoe on the other foot, and all we hear is deafening silence from Anwar Ibrahim as well. Anwar is a great statesman, able to go toe-to-toe with the great thinkers of the world. But his influence upon his own party seems so subtle, we may be forgiven to think that it doesn’t exist at all. 

Back to Nurul Izzah. I care for this young woman, she has some amazing qualities, and that’s why i come to her defence.

RPK reported that she received two additional nominations on Monday, after the “deadline” for nominations had lapsed. The problem here is that it seems no one knew that Sunday was the deadline. No memo, no circular, certainly nothing was heard in the Press or around the blogs. That smells suspiciously fishy, almost as though the goalposts have been moved. 

The fact that she did receive the necessary nominations albeit late according to the PKR EC, reveals that the divisions had intention to put her up as their candidate; if they were cognizant of the mystery deadline, you would think that they would have declared their nominations earlier. If they had decided to remain silent all along, then why bother saying anything on Monday, knowing that the deadline had already passed?

No, it’s obvious that the divisions that nominated her on Monday thought they had more time to do so, considering there was no information available to counter that belief. Perhaps they were as surprised as everybody else to see their nominations rejected.

Who is to say what may have happened if Nurul stood for deputy president election. Maybe she wouldn’t have won. But were people in the upper echelons of the party afraid that she would have diluted the votes enough to cause a stir and ripple? Even a close defeat would send shockwaves through the party, especially to those who feel that she isn’t “senior” enough to hold positions at the top of the party’s pyramid. A close defeat today, a landslide victory next time?

And what if she won? She rides a popular wave of support that she has wholeheartedly earned. The people of her constituency love her for a reason. The greater public respect her for her courage and critical mind. Even opposing leaders fear engaging her directly. That alone should be able testimony of her growing influence and ability. 

What, indeed, would have happened if she had won. Her father wants Azmin to be deputy. She put her division’s nomination behind Zaid Ibrahim, and when it became increasingly obvious that his candidacy was doomed, she threw her hat in the ring. There is subtle friction here, between father and daughter. Differences in perspectives perhaps. A foil to Anwar Ibrahim in the form of an observant and courageous Nurul Izzah may have been exactly what PKR needed to freshen up before the next General Election.

Democracy died a little bit in Parliament the other day. I can’t help but feel that it died a little bit more today.

Edit 14/10: Seems that there was a notice about the closing date for nominations for 10 October. Its strange that this date was not more widely known, even by the various division HQs. 

Edit 14/10: PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution Ismail confirmed today that Nurul Izzah Anwar has qualified to stand for the deputy presidency after the party’s political bureau accepted a late submission by the Semporna division.

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