Annuar keeps his cool
By Joceline Tan
The Star, February 4 - Datuk Seri Annuar Musa, the Kelantan politician known for his macho style, has really mellowed over the years. On Wednesday, when asked about speculation that he had been told to quit his post as Kelantan Umno chief, he merely smiled, shook his head, leaned back in the chair and denied any such development.
The sole hint of his exasperation with the query was the rather weary way he massaged his neck as he issued the denial.
Another reason for his cool demeanour is that it was probably not the first time he was hearing it.
For a couple of months now, talk has been rife in Kelantan political circles that Annuar is about to be replaced by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Dr Awang Adek Hussin as the state Umno head honcho.
Dr Awang Adek is currently the No. 2 in Kelantan Umno.
That speculation has naturally made Dr Awang Adek feel rather awkward and he has strenuously denied that he is interested in the post, much less angling for it.
“Please believe me, I am not eyeing the post,” he said.
Annuar's problem began shortly after he left for his umrah last November. His absence led to talk that he was preparing to be phased out.
Around that time, Siasah, a weekly paper with strong ties to PAS and edited by established political writer Sayuti Omar, published a sensational front-page story saying that Annuar would be dropped from the Kelantan Umno leadership.
Among the reasons cited in the article were that Annuar does not enjoy the full support of the top Umno leadership and that he had failed to deliver in the Pengkalan Pasir by-election in 2005.
The article also dwelled on the skeletons in Annuar's cupboard, namely rumours about his wealth and affairs.
A fortnight ago, Siasah came up with another similar story, sparking off a fresh round of speculation.
“When I read about it the second time, I quickly SMS-ed Annuar to ask him to be careful because they are really out for him. He told me it was blackmail politics,” said Datuk Rozali Isohak, a veteran figure in Kelantan Umno.
It is clear that Annuar is the target of a PAS-linked attempt to discredit him and his party. PAS has been using seemingly “neutral” publications to carry out party propaganda since such allegations would have been less effective among ordinary people had they been published in Harakah, the PAS propaganda organ.
Another Malay weekly Wasilah, which went on sale in Kelantan last month, is also believed to have links with PAS and is likely to be used for the same purpose.
And the mastermind behind all this is said to be PAS vice-president Datuk Husam Musa, the man touted as the next Mentri Besar after Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat.
Husam is also the brains behind tvpas.com, the party's Internet TV that is aimed at airing alternative news. But so far, it has been as conventional as RTM. read more..