The de facto leader of the Opposition pact, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, is a man fond of making predictions. But he does not always get his numbers right.
In 2008 he made numerous public statements, speeches, threats and promises that by the magical date of September 16th he would have enough defectiions, cross-overs and joiners that Pakatan would have unseated Tun Abdullah Badawi and taken over Putrajaya.
Anwar promised, repeatedly. But it didn’t happen. He got his numbers wrong.
Now, a small item in The Borneo Post has caught our attention since Anwar has told a media conference at Kuching International airport (KIA) on his arrival there that the Opposition would win GE13 with 53 percent of the vote.
How did he do that? How do you figure out a hypothetical poll number for a GE13 that has yet to be called?
Is he a magician?
Is Anwar suddenly turning into a pollster?
No, he just sat down in the terminal of Kuching airport, seemed to very much enjoy giving a press conference, smiled and paused as he gingerly stirred his tea, over and over again, and then he announced the election result, right there and then.
Has he got some secret PKR poll that says he will win 53 percent of the vote? Because if he does, he should sack that fellow immediately. At the rate Pakatan is going right now, that looks to be a rather inflated and optimistic projection.
With the video footage of hand destures during Bersih 3.0 still a fresh memory and still the subject of controversy, Anwar is really quite bold to spit out numbers and polling percentages for GE13. It brings back memories of the September 16th numbers he used to toss around, of how precisely many MPs would cross the aisle and join him and when.
But Anwar’s Kuching moment did not seem as credible as Merdeka Center. The truth is that Anwar’s opponent, the incumbent prime minister, is becoming far more popular with the rakyat, and is looking far more like the real reformer of the two.
But Anwar was not discouraged in Kuching. He stepped off the plane and gave it his best shot. “Now,” he said, “is the defining moment in Pakatan’s history.” Big words for the man who has not yet named a Shadow Cabinet or released an agreed manifesto, a man who cannot get PAS and DAP to agree on hudud, economic policy, seat allocations or anything else.
“We started at 35 per cent, then 48 per cent and 50 per cent; now we have 53 per cent,” Anwar claimed, throwing numbers around Kuching’s airport like confetti.
He said Pakatan would finalise its list of candidates in one or two weeks’ time. The Borneo Post noted, however, that many seats, including in Sarawak, have not been decided on yet.
Anwar, who has faced internal conflict over seats before, appealed to opposition partners PKR, DAP and PAS to work together at all costs and not issue conflicting statements.
Still trying to get his coalition partners to fall into line but able anyway to make a prediction that they will win 53 percent of the vote. This all sounds as credible as the promise about September 16th.