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Anwar's hospital stay stirs conspiracy theories

Conspiracy theories abound in run-up to M'sian GE

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim seems to be calling the shots in Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) from his hospital bed.

Conspiracy theories are swirling in PKR circles over how Malaysia's most special prisoner is able to host meetings with party leaders at the Cheras Rehabilitation Hospital where he has been warded since last week.

Party insiders say that as a result of the special conditions accorded to him, Anwar was able to have the final say on his party's candidate list which made headline news.

Visiting conditions in Sungai Buloh (the prison where Datuk Seri Anwar is serving a five-year jail term for sodomy) are very strict but access at the Cheras hospital is far more relaxed.

The Ketua Umum or paramount leader, as he is known in PKR, has been allowed visits from, among others, his wife and party president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail and deputy president Azmin Ali.

The fact that he was transferred from his Sungai Buloh lock-up to the Cheras facility has sparked much speculation.

He is not known to be unwell and his shoulder has healed after an operation several months ago. So why is he warded at the Cheras facility?

The government he is trying to overthrow seems to be making it too easy for him to manage his party from his hospital bed.

Among stories circulating in PKR is that this is the Government's way of monitoring the goings-on in PKR, including what is discussed and planned.

However, the most pervasive theory is that there is some sort of political deal going on between top PKR and Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders.

All of this has raised questions about what is actually going on between Barisan and PKR leaders: Are they enemies or "frenemies"?

If they are really opposed to each other, why the special treatment for Anwar and PKR leaders at such a crucial time?

The alignment between the political elites, said a political risk analyst, seems to be so fluid, and this sends out conflicting and mixed signals to the ground.

Meanwhile, the rival camps of Azmin and vice-president Rafizi Ramli seem to have reached a compromise of sorts on candidates.

But things are not exactly back to normal, and perhaps they never will be again.

There is distrust between the two camps even though Dr Wan Azizah has said that there is only "one camp" in her party, and that is her camp.

Their social media content suggest some kind of shadow-boxing going on between the top two PKR leaders.

Azmin posted a Mahatma Gandhi quote on Twitter, "Nobody can hurt me without my permission".

Dr Wan Azizah posted a picture of a ginger-coloured cat gazing into a mirror with the reflection of a lion, and the quote: "What matters is how you see yourself".

Another picture shows the same cat whose shadow cast on the wall is that of a lion.

The party president seems to be telling her detractors not to mess with her, that she may appear to be a pussycat but there is a lioness in her. - ASIA NEWS NETWORK/THE STAR

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