Strengthen PH or rebuild PKR? Anwar’s choice!August 11, 2020
Malaysia is in a long political transition and only those who ignore this fact believe the country is now stable.
But observers say that Malaysia facing continued political instability with the government holding a slim majority in Parliament.
Then there is Pakatan Harapan, which is now a fragile coalition— like the Perikatan Nasional— and they are barely united.
PN OR MN?
The Perikatan Nasional or PN regime is in a state of turmoil due to pressures from the Muafakat Nasional. There is a competition between both. This does not bring stability to the government.
What is the difference between PN and MN? PN is led by Muhyiddin Yassin PM of Malaysia. MN is led by Zahid Hamidi, Najib Razak from Umno and Hadi Awang from PAS. Though they form the government, they are from two competing alliances.
As long as PN is in power with Muhyiddin as the leader, both Umno and PAS are not comfortable.
They hold the majority of seats in the PN coalition but they are not the ones who determine the course of Muhyiddin’s rule. People are also confused whether there is a PN coalition or is this government one made of Bersatu, MN and others?
Attempts are now being made to bring Bersatu into the MN where it will be in minority.
This is where Najib Razak, Zahid Hamidi and Hadi Awang will have the power to rule out Muhyiddin.
Whether Muhyiddin as PM realizes this possibility or not, that does not matter. What is important for us here is what happens to Pakatan Harapan.
WHAT FUTURE FOR PH?
We must acknowledge that Pakatan Harapan faces an uncertain future.
With the role played by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in PH when he was the PM of Malaysia for 22 months, we know for a fact that PH is getting weaker.
Only those who deny it or those who refuse to see the truth will tell you that PH is as strong as ever.
Let us analyze a little of what Dr Mahathir has done to PH:
- He broke the trust between the people and PH by rejecting the Buku Harapan after he became PM
- He rejected the reforms needed to bring the country to a different era of progress and justice
- On the other hand, he practised the same old dictatorial method in appointing people who were not given a chance by Anwar in GE14 in some top positions
- He helped and allowed a tainted PKR Minister to be unfaithful to the party, and he entertained the opposition as if he were their leader
- At one point, Dr Mahathir was ‘floating’ because he felt praised and supported by various parties, including from the PAS-UMNO union
He was enjoying all this while serving as PM.
But he also caused a lot of damage to PH after he resigned.
Not only did he break his promise – by refusing to hand over power to Anwar Ibrahim, but he also resigned without consulting his friends in PH.
MAHATHIR’S DESIGN OF A PH+
After 22 months of dilly-dallying, Dr Mahathir returned to PH after leaving it in limbo.
He started PH + which seems like a great idea for him and his supporters in PH.
But no one really considers this as a reasonable and sensible matter or a serious attempt to regain public trust and restore PH to power.
When he had 10 or more MPs and he became PM, he resigned because he could not give power to Anwar when power was slipping from his grip.
Whether he did not want to give power to Anwar or he actually wanted to sabotage Anwar is not clear to us. Only Dr Mahathir knows.
PH+ is the conclusion of Dr Mahathir’s influence in the current opposition coalition. PKR, of course, rejected Mahathir’s new deal.
But he got serious support from DAP and Amanah, which split PH into two groups.
We now have clear pro-Anwar and pro-Mahathir groups in PH. An absurd situation for the opposition coalition that needs to unite to fight for the people and gain the power to lead the country.
UNITY WITH ANWAR?
But DAP and Amanah, after feeling the pleasure of power and feeling that they can depend on Mahathir to provide them fresh opportunities to take power again, showed that they were ready to throw Anwar down to support Mahathir or someone approved by Mahathir as PM.
Therefore, DAP and Amanah are now virtually part of Mahathir’s group and they seem to have lost their independence, the freedom they had when they joined PH.
They are no longer united behind Anwar and they are secretly questioning Anwar’s desire to be the only person to be elected as PM for PH.
However, this phenomenon opens the door for Anwar to create a large political movement that will benefit his party.
MAKE PKR GREAT
Anwar Ibrahim is a politician who has witnessed great betrayals during his political career. The betrayers will not stop. Anwar himself said it clearly, “There is no struggle without betrayal.”
But he can overcome this with a balanced approach if Anwar gives greater importance to the role that PKR can play on the national stage.
These are a few suggestions:
- Anwar should consider minimizing PH interests while waiting for GE15
- Meanwhile, Anwar must make more efforts to expand and refine PKR’s policies. There is no point in promoting PH when PH members are tied to politicians who betray PH leaders
- We have mentioned in the June analysis that PKR should be transformed into a new party, an alliance that is in line with modern times. We call it Pakatan Keadilan Rakyat. The party can decide its name.
Furthermore, Anwar should consider a new pact and should not be emotional if he should leave the people from DAP and Amanah and bury Mahathir altogether.
Anwar should realize that he is more valuable than Mahathir, DAP and Amanah. But he should also know that the fact is Amanah and DAP no longer appreciate Anwar as they did before. They have fallen into Mahathir’s trap.
And we have a clear question: Can any of the opposition men and women under Amanah, DAP, Mahathir and PH + return to power with their vague agenda and without Anwar?
Anwar must break away from PH or bring in new parties and individuals who are fighting for the people’s agenda as well as getting rid of rogue elements.
It is a brave stance and some will say a suicidal one because PKR has lost a lot of its clout since the betrayal it suffered from many MPs.
But if the party is fighting for a progressive agenda and for the people and the country as well, it should be prepared to make great sacrifices.
STAND ALONE PKR
PKR must be a stand-alone party and redevelop itself. For now, Anwar should focus on rebuilding the party and giving it strength because most Malaysians want ‘change’ to happen and they know PKR can bring about that change.
Therefore, PKR itself should given itself ample freedom to bring many people in to get more support.
In the event of a general election, PKR should not close the door to work with PH and its partners (If PKR leaves PH) and draft an electoral agreement with them.
The political situation in Malaysia is not the same as what it was in 1998 or 2018. Things are fast-changing and the PKR as well as PH must also adapt to the demands of 2020.
With the new alliance, we mean PKR can do the following:
- PKR alone will put as many candidates as possible even if it has to contest all the seats in Peninsula Malaysia in particular in the next GE
- The party can have a deal with the opposition groups. An agreement with DAP that allows DAP to contest in seats where it is favourite and the same applies to Amanah and if necessary Dr Mahathir’s party
- This means PKR will take the seats it gave to other parties to contest
- Other parties that are willing to work with PKR will also get the same treatment, which is that no seats are guaranteed for them but their own seats if they are strong in some areas
To win the people, PKR needs to issue a new political statement. It has to put the reform agenda forward. The plans for reform has been going on for 20 years, now it needs a more proactive approach because the younger generation sees things differently.
The party should also bring in new leaders, young men and women with new policies.
If PKR brings a new party in PH, it will increase PKR’s share in decision making.
A fresh ally who will support PKR and its leaders is better than being in a coalition where the PKR is weakened.
In the case of PH, if PKR brings a new party to join, a party in favour of reform and not in aversion to Anwar, it will reduce the influence of DAP and Amanah.
Anwar must start thinking of strategies and not agreements with irresponsible parties!
PKR itself can decide to contest in as many seats as possible.
It does not need to limit its power to a seat-sharing agreement with the parties in PH.
This will limit PKRs role while it increases the chances for betrayers to run away with the loot after elections or leaders to reject agreements just like Dr Mahathir did this year.