I spoke to some media people who called up to enquire about the Anwar verdict and the possibility of an early election.
On the surface,PM can now claim that he is indeed committed to reform agenda, and that Anwar verdict showed that he has been truthful to his cause. With that he can move to canvass for more middle ground votes, which have deserted BN in 308, and likely to do so again in the next General election.
Even the former Bar Council chairperson Ambiga was quoted to say that it is a better result for BN.
With this, many expect PM to call for an early election, especially when the government is in the process of giving out cash handouts and BN expects that this would generate an atmosphere of feeling good which may translate to a certain amount of goodwill towards BN.
However, in my opinion, the Anwar verdict may not have gone down well with the right wing hard core in the Big Brother, and this may be a big factor to consider if PM wants to call for election. Many of these right-wingers would have blamed PM for not exerting influence (or did he?) to get a verdict that would have sent AI to jail, thus making sure that AI would be disqualified from the next GE. To the right wingers, Anwar as a martyr does not arise, since they can count on Perkasa and other right wing organisation to secure the more conservative bloc of rural votes. With the wily Old Horse behind them, we cannot discount the power of these right wingers.
Looking at the big picture and the lingering anger of the people from the cowgate affairs, PM has to be seen to take some punitive action against some of those involved in cowgate affairs in order to try to pacify the people. The cowgirl will have to go, and if the cowgirl has to go, he has to gauge the response of the wanita which is actually the most effective campaign force working on the ground.
With March only 2 months away, and these factors to consider, PM is still having a hard time finding a good time to call an election. Anyway, I would now put my bet on the latter part of this year, perhaps June.
The actual date will actually hinge on the response of the people towards this ‘not guilty’ verdict. The next 2-3 weeks will be crucial to see whether the verdict works to the advantage of BN or PR. BN will probably depend on their special people to give them feedback about the sentiments on the ground. If the conditions are favourable, then even an early poll in march cannot be completely ruled out.
I personally welcome the not guilty verdict, and I too view favourably the peaceful handling of the rally outside the high court. Indeed there are signs of changes. Even the most archaic police force is changing. this is a good sign. But whether the whole reform agenda is real and whether it can be pushed through, it is still too early to say.
At this juncture, I am still committed to advocate a true 2 party system, and let the other side rule for once.
After all, one swallow does not make a summer.
(For those who may not know about the story behind the title of this post: Once upon a time, in a winter (in a very cold country), a person saw a swallow flying outside his house. Since swallows can be sighted only in spring, that person thought that this must be a sign that spring was near. So he sold all his winter clothings. The mnext day, the weather suddenly turned cold, and he was frozen to death.)
Hope we will not be like this person.