The fall of the ten-month old Pakatan-led Perak state government came fast and furious in high Shakespearean tradition. In the drama-play, Caesar, betrayed by his friend, dies with the words, “Et tu, Brute? (You too, Brutus?)
The plot against the Pakatan-led Perak government went way back just after it won a shocking victory over the incumbent Barisan Nasional coalition in the 8 March general elections last year. The fact that it took so long to find a Brutus willing to plunge the dagger is testimony to both the staying power of the new government as well as the increasing difficulty to find a Brutus to plunge the knife quickly.
Whenever the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition runs the risk of losing a state government in the past, most times it succeeded in finding a Brutus who would do the hatchet job so that no state government fall into opposition hands. Perak and Selangor in 1969, is a case in point. Even in East Malaysia, it was not difficult to find a Brutus or two. Remember Sabah in 1994?
So who is Brutus in Perak now?
The Ides of March is 15 March in the Roman calendar best known as the date that Julius Caesar was assassinated, in 44 BC, the story of which was dramatised in William Shakespeare’s classic play, Julius Caesar.
After declaring himself dictator for life of Rome, Caesar summoned the Senate to meet on the Ides of March. A soothsayer warned Caesar to guard against a great threat to his life on that day as Caesar was on his way to the senate-house: “Beware the Ides of March!”
As the Senate met, Caesar was attacked and stabbed to death by a group of senators who called themselves the Liberators who claimed they were preserving the Republic from Caesar’s ambitions.
The conspirators had to move quickly. Caesar had plans to leave Rome on 18 March for a military campaign. The threat Caesar posed to the republican system was clear to Marcus Brutus, who master-minded the assasination.
Brutus, however, was torn in his allegiance to Caesar given his close affiliations with Caesar. His mother, Servilia, was one of Caesar’s lovers.
Scholars disagree on whether Brutus was a villian or a patriot. The fact was, Caeser was dealing with very brutal and ruthless men on both sides.
Indeed, in the current conspiracy in Perak, there are very brutal and ruthless men on both sides. And they had to move quickly.
Who is Brutus?
Anwar Ibrahim, the de facto leader of PKR? After all it was he who announced on the eve of the Year of the Cow that Bota assemblyman Nasarudin Hashim was quitting Umno to join PKR, bringing the total number of state seats held by the Pakatan Rakyat coalition in Perak to 32, versus Barisan Nasional’s 27.
Who is Brutus?
Is it Nasarudin who defected to PKR then within ten days he re-defected to Umno? In his first defection he said he was doing it in the interest of the people, especially his supporters and voters and that he was confident in PKR’s commitment to protecting the rights and interests of all races.
On his second defection, he said he was doing it because he wanted to see the setting up of a strong and stable government in Perak. He has collected from both sides of the divide now.
Who is Brutus?
Could it be Behrang Assemblymen Jamaluddin Mohd Radzi and Changkat Jering Assemblyman Mohd Osman Jailu, both from Parti Keadilan Rakyat as well as Jelapang Assemblyman Hee Yit Foong from DAP? All three have left their parties to become independent lawmakers. Following their departure from the Pakatan, the 59-seat Perak state assembly is now hung with both the Pakatan and Barisan having 28 seats each but the three has promised Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak they would throw their lot with Barisan.
Who is Brutus?
Could it be PKR Ipoh Barat division head Fauzi Muda who recently accused Umno deputy president Najib Abdul Razak of trying last year to induce him with RM50 million to secure the crossover of two Pakatan Rakyat representatives in Perak? This was three days after the general election that drove BN out of the Perak government, and brought a Pakatan coalition into power, although with a slim majority of five seats.
Zainal Abidin Zin, the former deputy defence minister, has confirmed that he took PKR leader Fauzi Muda to meet Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at his official residence in Putrajaya. However, the Umno veteran denied that any monetary offers were made during the midnight meeting.
Regardless of who Brutus is in Perak, the fact remains that Caesar is not quite dead in yet. Never mind about Brutus now. The Sultan of Perak is the real king maker. The new Caesar depends on the Sultan for his life. But, whoever the new Caesar is, the margin is still too close to call. Brutus will still be around. Beware the Ides of March! Et tu, Brute?