The hope of Anwar

Today, Khairy said that “Anwar is not a king“. It is, of course, a loaded political bit of mischief, because Anwar never claimed to be one, and his “PD Move” is not a coronation.

Kit Siang called on PD voters to support Anwar, saying that this is the beginning of the second phase of “new Malaysia”. Kit Siang is of course appealing to sentiments that GE14 has ushered in a new Malaysia and he made it very clear that Anwar’s premiership claim is very much part of the plan.

Many others though, significantly those who are in “civil society” (I use this loosely to cover those who are not connected directly to political parties) criticised the PD Move because it involved sacrificing an MP. Some think Anwar should have waited until GE15 to prove his legitimacy. Others think that either his daughter Nurul Izzah or his wife Wan Azizah, should have been the ones sacrificed and because they are not, still others like Ambiga, raised issues of nepotism.

Wong Chun Wai addressed this with characteristic directness.

It’s pointless being the PM-in-waiting if one isn’t elected. We could not give two hoots about the charade and antics of politicians, who have the audacity to tell us they dislike politicking. We want certainty, stability and succession planning.

Anwar being named successor and elected into Parliament will provide better comfort because otherwise, an ugly scramble for power is bound to ensue, which we have no wish to see.

Then there is the issue of family dynasty, but let’s not get into this because the Lim brood has two MPs and a senator, the Karpal clan has two MPs and one state assemblyman, and of course, there’s the PM and his Mentri Besar son.

Yet others are looking forward to the hope of Anwar; here is a person who wrote to encourage Anwar to be a PM who would be known as “Bapa Perpaduan Malaysia“, the father of Malaysian unity.

This nation needs a Bapa Perpaduan Malaysia. It needs someone who can remove the sensitivities that have divided the people, causing us to pull each other down or suppress others. This nation needs a Bapa Perpaduan who can lead all of us to respect and accept – not simply tolerate – each other’s differences; to live and work together for the best interests of our descendants and the nation. This nation needs you to do that. You can be the Bapa Perpaduan that we yearn for; the Bapa Perpaduan who helps us visit each other’s places of worship freely, who gives us the right to worship in our own ways as long as we do not intrude, interfere or impose our values onto others. We need you to do that.

There is no doubt that Anwar is a polarising personality. And there is no doubt that with the PD Move, Anwar is very much back in the thick of Malaysian politics.

Anwar has his baggage. In his meteoric rise to the top when he was in UMNO he was ruthless. He was, in my mind (and to be honest I was not very informed those days), a Malay nationalist, championing the Malay cause to the detriment of others in the country.

But let’s be honest and say that Mahathir has his baggage too and did much harm to the country during his first stint as PM.

To my mind, there is no one like Anwar in Malaysia today who can fill Mahathir’s shoes. I think only Anwar has the stature and commands the respect of all the major parties in PH, as well as major institutions in Malaysia.

But even more so, Anwar has the respect of the Malay community and is a voice they can listen to, especially when it comes to persuading them to embrace change. Anwar can be very persuasive.

For now, politics in Malaysia is very fragmented and however you like it, personalities and not political parties count a great deal, when it comes to PM material because he has to command the respect of different parties with different agenda and ambitions. I think I am being realistic when I ask the question, after Mahathir, who? At 93 anything can happen any time.

Anwar has his own agenda, for sure. He has his ambitions, no doubt. And he has his way of doing things that you might find disagreeable. But of course! So many different people have different expectations of him. But he can only be himself and no one knows who he will be as PM.

Right now, we only have the hope of Anwar to replace Mahathir whom, when we voted in GE14, we have no idea who he will be as PM either.

But think the other way round and you will see that the country needs him for now. Many people dislike his actions in positioning himself to take over as PM and see it as entitlement. I see it as the only choice available to the country.

Those who want him to wait till GE15 to lead his party to victory and establish his legitimacy are willing to risk the country being destabilised should anything happen to Mahathir. They should consider that PH stood on the platform of Mahathir and then Anwar within these 5 years, as Kit Siang is saying. It was a tag team that was put forward in GE14. And surely he does not need to prove he can win an election to become an MP.

It does no good to undermine him unless there is someone else who can take truly over from Mahathir. Yet many who wanted PH to succeed are now undermining him. Sad, or foolish?

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