DSAI. Whenever and wherever you see the initials DSAI, you know straightaway just who people are referring to and its none other than Datuk Sri Anwar Ibrahim. The charismatic Leader of the Opposition and accomplished orator and if the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) have their way, the next Prime Minister of Malaysia.
That is if he has time to personally look into the country’s affairs in between his many trips overseas, giving lectures to all and sundry on how democracy should work, how the economy should be managed etc etc etc.
Looking back at his political career, you have got to admit, ever since he was removed from his post as Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and Deputy President of UMNO, the mainstay of the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) more than 10 years ago, he is still able to keep himself in the public eye, one way or another.
How does he do it? Does he have a team of public relations personnel who’s good at spin and churning out stories to maintain his relevancy to the current political scenario in Malaysia? Or creating controversy when there was none in the first place? If he does, then they must be pretty good. Experienced and very competent. Always on the offensive. Even Dame Thatcher engaged one when she wanted to be Prime Minister and when she was the Prime Minister. Remember Saatchi and Saatchi? They were very good and very, very expensive.
But I’ll wager that these spin doctors do not come cheap, do they? Working for free? I have serious doubts there. Of course, it cannot be denied that the number of court cases that he is involved in does guarantee that there will always be something for the media to write about or for the spin doctors to spin. Outside the courtroom, the spin doctors will have to come up with the right story and make DSAI look good OR look victimized OR proclaim his innocence at whatever wrongdoing he has been charged with, whilst in the courtroom, there is normally a battery of well-known lawyers (reads like a Who’s Who in the Malaysian Bar Council) whose job is to prove or assert DSAI’s innocence, one way or another, technically or otherwise. Afterall, in the Malaysian legal system, one is deemed innocent until proven guilty and it applies to all, even to DSAI.
I would think that anybody appointed to his legal team (or teams) would be very happy indeed, as his court cases tend to stretch for quite a bit. And as such, they are guaranteed a job for that period of time and that normally translates to quite a handsome monetary income for their respective legal firms. Ask anybody who has had dealings with lawyers and they can tell you that to engage legal representation does not come cheap. Correct me if I am wrong, unless they accept IOUs cashable in the future.
It is well-known that DSAI does not go anywhere official without his security detail. Whether this security detail is paid for by theFederal Government by virtue of him being the Leader of the Opposition in the Federal Parliament is unclear. But with all that has happened and been said before, it would not be surprising if he has his own security detail, one not linked or answerable to the Federal Government, one way or the other.
It was once reported that his entourage travels in at least 3 MPVs. If that were to be the case, then whoever is in charge of DSAI’s security is quite well versed in security arrangements. Whether the vehicles are bulletproof, that’s another matter. I mean, if whoever is in charge of security arrangements is worth his salt, then presumably that might be the case. And for Pakatan Rakyat (PR), DSAI is their leader (and saviour perhaps?) and their designated Prime Minister-in-waiting, one who could do no wrong and must be protected at all costs.
Now, I must admit that my curiosity has got the better of me. The question that bugs me is, how does he pay for all that? I mean, the lawyers, the security detail, the vehicles, etc etc etc. And we have not taken into account his residence (or his residences? Does he still has his Bukit Damansara residence?), his trips overseas (airfare, hotel, per diem etc etc. Are they all paid for and by whom?), his staff (driver maybe? maid or maids maybe? speechwriters?), his clothing (he is an immaculate dresser, you must admit), etc etc, yet.
The simple man that I am, I only know what has been reported in the media. He derives his income from being a serving Member of Parliament, Leader of the Opposition, and Economic Advisor to the State of Selangor. Are they any other perks that he gets that we, the rakyat, do not know about. From the PR-ruled states ie Penang, Selangor, Kelantan, and Kedah, for instance?
By virtue of being a former Member of Parliament, DSWA (Datin Sri Wan Azizah) also draws an allowance. How much, I must admit, I do not know but I guess in managing the DSAI household, that may help. His daughter is also a serving Member of Parliament but I think she’ll need her parliamentary allowance. After all, she has a constituency to look after besides being a newly elected VP of PKR as well as her own household to manage.
So back to the pertinent question, where does he get the money to pay for all that? And how much does all THAT amount to? It isn’t wrong to wonder, is it? After all, for this simple minded voter who going to cast his vote come the next General Elections (GE), he wants to make sure that his Prime Minister and political leader of his country is only answerable to Malaysia and Malaysians, and has only the interests and welfare of Malaysians and Malaysia uppermost in his mind, administration, management and policy-making, and not any other.
Is that wrong?