KUALA LUMPUR (SIN CHEW DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak and Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid recently took turns to visit Parti Keadilan Rakyat's (PKR's) de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim who had just undergone a shoulder surgery at the hospital.
Their high-profile moves have since drawn speculations.
If Anwar could reconcile with former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, could this imply that he will make up with Najib one day?
This is not the first time we see such "hospital visitation" drama. In August this year, PKR president Wan Azizah and her deputy Azmin Ali visited Hadi Awang recovering from a heart surgery. The picture of their visit was subsequently posted on the Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS) president's Facebook page, triggering a fair deal of confusion within PKR.
Unhappy with the party leadership's reluctance to give up the prospect of cooperating with the Islamist party, PKR's MP for Selayang William Leong announced his resignation from the party's political bureau.
As a matter of fact, the "grand unity" wayang kulit was already kicked off as early as last September, when Mahathir turned up at the Kuala Lumpur High Court to lend moral support to Anwar Ibrahim. The two leaders later shook hands smilingly.
And now, with the visit by PM Najib and his wife and the subsequent posting of the picture of their meeting on Twitter, it is obvious that Najib is trying to display his magnanimity in an attempt to crack the alliance between Anwar and Mahathir.
The following day, DPM Ahmad Zahid and his wife paid Anwar a visit at the hospital, and the duo shook hands and posed for the camera.
Rizal Mansor, the aide of Najib's wife Rosmah, ridiculed in a statement that Mahathir didn't even pay Anwar a visit when his former left-hand-man was punched in the eye, hinting at the difference between Najib and Mahathir.
It is obvious enough that this whole thing has been a show put up just to meet the political need. Soon after Najib visited him at the hospital, Anwar responded on his Facebook by vowing he would keep fighting in the next GE.
Anwar is nevertheless a highly unpredictable politician. When PAS' syura council adopted the motion to break all ties with PKR during the party's assembly in May, PKR followed suit by withdrawing from the the PAS-led Kelantan state government. However, that eventually didn't materialise, showing that Anwar indeed was still fantasising about mending ties with the Islamist party.
Last March, when Mahathir signed a Citizens' Declaration against Najib alongside opposition and civil society leaders, Anwar warned of dangers working with Mahathir in a lengthy 8-page letter to the PKR leadership, even quoting from William Shakespeare's Hamlet in forewarning party leaders: "The serpent that did sting thy father's life, now wears his crown."
But, several months later, Anwar struck an accord with his foe, and had even told his wife and children to lay down their grudges and work with Mahathir.
While Anwar now vows to fight Najib to the end, we have no way to tell whether he will steer a turnaround soon.
For these few years, the Malay politics has been beating around such unpredictabilities, first, the departure of PAS from the opposition camp, then Umno trying to reach out to PAS, followed by a fissure within Umno, and the reconciliation between Mahathir and Anwar.
Since no one has enough of confidence, everyone can only engage in this kind of insensible game. As a result, many of the country's problems remain unsolved to this day, as democracy takes a beating.
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) is perhaps the most vulnerable, as the Registrar of Societies (RoS) could just revoke its registration, thanks to the unchecked powers entrusted to it when Mahathir was in charge. With the deeply rooted ill-feeling between Mahathir and Umno, an olive branch held out by Najib to Anwar is definitely not a good thing for Mahathir.
Such unpredictable political developments prove that many politicians are indeed suffering from split personality.
We used to say that the enemy of an enemy is a friend, like PAS to Umno when the former broke ties with its Pakatan allies. But now, even a friend of an enemy can be a friend, as Umno tries to woo Anwar back to its side.
The conclusion: Politics is an anything-goes art. But, as politicians keep changing courses, so is the nation losing its direction. We won't know when they are serious and when they are just making believe.