Dennis Ignatius: Have we reached a turning point?

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Turning point in how the people view Anwar’s government.

The PM is surely being disingenuous. By now, we don’t need lessons from him about the role and functions of the Pardons Board. We all know that the King has the authority and that decisions by the Pardons Board are final.

The issue here is why did the government opt to hide the addendum from the public for so many weeks? And why is the PM still reluctant to either confirm or deny the existence of the addendum? How is it that both the deputy PM and the trade minister claim to have seen the addendum but not the PM? If the PM still doesn’t know, it just means that he has lost control of his own government or that he’s not being straight with the public.

The PM can’t say he doesn’t want to be involved because like it or not the government is involved. After all, his AG and his Minister for Federal Territories sit on the Pardons Board. What position did they take? Did they support the pardon for Najib or not? In any case, if the addendum does exist, it is the government that must enforce it; non-involvement is not an option.

At the end of the day, we are left with the distinct impression that the government has behaved dishonestly and deviously. The PM himself has not been transparent and honest with the people. The impression we are left with is that for political reasons he quietly supported a deal for Najib and is now hiding behind the Pardons Board to escape the consequences of his actions.

He can try all he wants to distance himself from what is turning out to be a very ugly and disastrous political fiasco, but there’s no escaping the fact that his actions and non-actions have shattered what’s left of his credibility along with that of his government. This may well be a turning point in how the people view this government. – Dennis Ignatius