Happy New Year, and come what may, we should be well prepared to brace for the worst of politics. I would sum up 2011 as the year of 'political maverick' while 2012 will see the government of Datuk Seri Najib being confronted with the biggest challenge ever.
Anwar Ibrahim's case, general election, racial and religious sentiments, the upsurge of students' political movement and finding medicament for some scabs in Umno are among the major headache the BN's chairman has to bear.
We can expect trouble on January 9 when the Kuala Lumpur High Court passes the verdict on Anwar's sodomy case. If he walks a free man, there would be less noise on the streets. The Opposition will claim victory and this will add weigh to their claims that the case was politically orchestrated.
Anwar's acquittal will take them on a higher political platform. It will be a boast and boost. They will boast his innocence and boost their moral prior to general election. With support from various international organisations and NGOs, Barisan Nasional will find the goings tough enough.
And whether the judiciary will be lauded as being fair and impartial, does not surface. What matters most is it will add strength to their abrasive allegation that Najib and Rosmah were behind the conspiracy to uproot Anwar's politics.
However, if the Court finds him guilty and sends him back behind bars, we can expect things to turn more ugly. The Opposition and its supporters have vowed to make Anwar a prime minister even it takes them to break the prison wall.
While the Opposition Leader starts his nationwide 'innocence road tour' this week, anti-government groups have planned a large scale of street demonstration to refute any guilty verdict on him. If this happens, the impact will be disastrous both to the economy and home affairs management.
Of course the government is or has prepared a security plan to counter such a protest. If it turns ugly, the security forces will have to come down hard on them and if the government resorts to minimal action, the rakyat will accuse them of being too soft and accommodating.
The natural death of a taxi driver during Bersih 2.0 rally last year was exploited by the Opposition and foreign media as the police brutal act. At the same time, the government's failure to ensure that the rally did not take to the street was also seen as a fiasco by many, including pro-government supporters.
And if Anwar goes to jail, they are expected to be more notorious and this will leave the authority to no choice but to come down hard on them. With the upsurge of students' politics of detest late last year, we can expect for the worst!
So, when will general election be?
Of course its not wise for Najib to call it early or before mid year, based on Anwar's verdict. If Anwar is acquitted, the Opposition's will ride a victory parade and the voters will provide him with more sympathy votes this time around.
Similarly, if he is found guilty, Najib still cannot call for an early election as the allegation of political conspiracy will fit well on his palms. The Opposition will see an early general election after Anwar's guilty verdict as Najib's plan to wrest back power in the Opposition-led States, namely Penang, Selangor, Kedah and Kelantan.
Given such options, Najib should call for the general election later this year. Even former premier Tun Dr Mahathir suggested that Najib completes the Parliament term first before calling for the national poll. But any too late an election will also be deemed as a 'cowardly decision'.
The year 2012 will also see some student leaders on the 'political rampage'. There have been news that they were teaming up with radical student groups in Indonesia to wage a war against the government. My call to Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, be careful and tactful in dealing with this. We have to keep our eyes and ears open for such intimidation.
Indonesia is known for its students' reprisal. Any government's decision that they rejected will lead to street demonstrations. I remember Jakarta and a few Indonesian cities in 1999 when the peaceful march they organised turned ugly and took many lives.
We don't subscribe to such an act. If our students defy and deny the duty to complete their studies, may we well we put a stop to such an aggression. We do not need such an insolent young generation.
I bet some factions will go on dancing to racial and religious issues this year as a political platform. The NGOs and other organisations will continue making demands for a free society, freedom of speech and same sex marriage.
And of course, Najib too - in preparing for the 13th general election - will have to clean up Umno from those who became a burden and liability to the party - whether he likes it or not. He must!
If Umno, MCA, MIC, Gerakan and other component parties want Barisan Nasional to continue dominating the government and stay relevant, some corrections need to be carried out. They too have to listen to the masses and stop tailoring to elements of personal interest and greed.
Najib will have to go through all this, and the people around him must be able to provide the assistance. Malaysian must be administered as a resilient, progressive and peaceful nation if we still want to realise our dream of becoming a fully-developed nation by the year 2020. Its only eight years away...
Selamat Tahun Baru, semoga Tuhan memberkati segala usaha kita.