Anwar Dr M Combo Third Time Is Not The Charm

“I was with him and I was informed (about his decision to resign) but I couldn’t announce it until it was released publicly. I did appeal to him (to stay) on behalf of PKR and Pakatan Harapan.” - Anwar IbrahimTerence Fernandez in his opinion piece in Sinar Harian nailed it when it comes to this idea that an Anwar-Dr M combo is the way forward for Harapan. It is not. Fernandez wrote: "Penulis berpendapat inilah masanya untuk Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) mengundurkan diri daripada politik negara.Anwar (Ibrahim) pula, kalau berserah kepada suara-suara Amanah dan DAP untuk bekerjasama sekali lagi dengan bekas bos beliau yang sudah dua kali mempermainkannya, ramai akan menyoal penaakulannya sebagai calon Perdana Menteri. Dr Mahathir tidak akan bertukar jalur atau bintiknya – tidak pada usia 95 tahun, pada ambang senja riwayatnya.Kalau gandingan rapuh ini tidak berjaya pada tahun 1998 dan sekali lagi pada tahun 2020, apakah jaminan yang ia akan berjaya pada cubaan ketiga?” While Harapan continues to dither on the premiership question, the Perikatan Nasional (PN) regime continues to systematically subvert government institutions, turning them into cash cows for potential mercenaries from Harapan. Not to mention "get out of jail" cards for alleged kleptocrats
As one nascent Umno warlord told me recently, the mandarins in Umno have the PN government by the short and curlies and they have no intention of letting go any time soon
In fact, Umno is in a better position now, because every horse manure policy decision and subversion of the legislative and judicial process could be blamed on the Azmin Ali/Muhyiddin Yassin cartel while Umno and PAS get to coast along, jabbering on about Malay/Muslim rights and gleefully pointing out the missteps of the Harapan political elite and destabilising the PN from within
Muhyiddin Yassin and Azmin AliThe point in Fernandez’s piece that makes the most sense to me - and maybe it does to you, too - is how can Anwar ever be the kind of decisive leader this country needs if he continues hankering after a formula which has failed this country twice? Not to mention pushed by allies who merely conform to the narratives of Umno and PAS, instead of forging narratives of their own
Forget about ideology for a moment and just think of the coalition politics aspect of it. The first Anwar and Dr M collaboration exploded spectacularly when Anwar was ejected from the Umno/BN paradise. What Anwar did, and I believe this is why the establishment detests him so much, is rattle power structures to the point that Umno was crippled and an alternative, if flawed coalition, was formed - which proved to be a threat to Umno's political hegemony
The second time, Anwar more or less handed the premiership to the old maverick on a silver platter and yet the old maverick was part of the conspiracy to bring down a democratically-elected government. While the Harapan faithful may place the blame solely on Azmin Ali and Dr M, the reality is that for months, perhaps years, the apparat within PKR were denying the Azmin faction was making moves which aimed to supplant Anwar
Anwar continued to play the nice guy instead of carrying out a purge which would, at the very least, have demonstrated that he had the cajones to take command of the ship he created post-Umno. Till the very end, the spineless leaders of Harapan, aided and abetted by their vocal online supporters, were propping up this failed union as the best option the Harapan base had
Meanwhile, the Malay uber alles government mastermind by Azmin, who in his treachery had demonstrated that he at least had the scrotal fortitude to play out these old men – one of whom had a sub rosa agenda of his own – is busily narcotising the majority polity in a time when economic uncertainty is coupled with the vagaries a pandemic brings
I hope everyone understands that the last general election was to be the redemption of Mahathir. This was the argument those of us used when we endorsed him - this idea that he had changed and that Najib Abdul Razak was the existential threat facing this country
Now, we are at a point where the old maverick could be in a position to be the prime minister in this country for the third time? And keep in mind the Malay uber alles government and its base does not want him to be prime minister. Harapan and its diverse base may again give this political operative, who leads a Malay-only political party, another chance to lead the country
Are people gullible enough to believe that Mahathir, who played a role in Harapan's meltdown and who now is contending with a corrupt political system which his party and he nurtured for years, is still the best option we have? At every opportunity, he chooses to demonstrate his aversion to an Anwar premiership and Anwar, for some odd reason, is always playing defensive
There are people who continue pushing the narrative that the old maverick is needed to swing the Malay vote. That if not for him, we may as well get used to the PN government and the formidable Umno/PAS union. This threat is exactly the same kind of propaganda that for decades held the opposition back - except that the opposition victories in major states and the breaking of the two-thirds majority in Parliament is proof that a cohesive opposition can destabilise a political hegemon
It remains to be seen how formidable the Umno/PAS union is, especially when both are attempting to subvert the Muhyiddin regime and at the same time, coming to grips that they have had to allocate seats which necessarily means that neither will be in a dominant position to share the spoils of war
The problem is the old maverick has never demonstrated a road-to-Damascus moment when it comes to Anwar. There is no evidence of this in his rhetoric or actions. In fact, the opposite is true
What does this say about the supposed multiracial politics of Harapan and its adherents? You know, when I see all these political operatives from Harapan going on about justice for George Floyd, it is just too much
The George Floyd movement is antithetical to everything Harapan stands for. It does not have to be this way, but the reality is that all these people playing lip service to what is essentially a civil rights movement have no intention of dismantling the systemic and institutionalised racial problems in this country, especially when they continue to pin their hopes and our future on someone who leads a race-based party
S THAYAPARAN is Commander (Rtd) of the Royal Malaysian Navy. A retired barrister-at-law, he is one of the founding members of Persatuan Patriot Kebangsaan. - Mkini

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