Hornbill Unleashed

January 9, 2018

For Anwar and Pakatan, June release may be too little, too late

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:01 AM

There are questions over how much clout the charismatic Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic) still commands among voters. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s impending release from prison on June 8 will be a morale booster for Pakatan Harapan (PH), but analysts provided only muted predictions of further benefits.

Aside from his ineligibility to contest even if the general election is called as late as June, questions also linger over how much clout the charismatic politician still commands among voters.

Popular support for the Opposition politician has visibly dwindled since he was imprisoned in March 2014, as seen through the once-nightly candlelight vigils that his PKR vowed to hold until he was released, but which they called off when the events became more notable for their lack of attendance than the speeches urging for his release.

Despite the expectations that Anwar’s release would palpably benefit Pakatan Harapan, geostrategist Azmi Hassan suggested that the event may even play into Barisan Nasional’s (BN) benefit.

“The political effect for PH will be minimal as Anwar is ineligible to contest anyway. However I believe Anwar’s release will work in BN’s favour since it means there will be one less campaign issue,” he told the Malay Mail.

He said BN could use Anwar’s release to show that it was not as “cruel” as Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who sacked and vilified Anwar in 1998.

Coincidentally, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said yesterday that the ruling BN would respect authorities’ decision to free Anwar before his full five-year prison sentence was completed.

Universiti Utara Malaysia’s Kamarul Zaman Yusoff echoed the sentiment, stating that any benefit from Anwar’s freedom will likely come only after the country’s future for the next five years was already decided.

Anwar’s release may even complicate matters in the event the Opposition pact wins federal power, he said.

Despite endorsing Dr Mahathir as its choice to be prime minister, the pact said he must make way for Anwar once the latter is cleared to contest an election and assume the post.

This condition was among those that Anwar’s party demanded for accepting Dr Mahathir.

“It could even intensify the power struggle between PKR and Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia on who should lead the government if PH were to win GE14,” Kamarul Zaman said

“His relevancy may open the way for rivalry between the supporters of both leaders,” he added.

Universiti Malaya’s Prof Terence Gomez felt Anwar could still play a decisive role in the general election if it, against popular predictions, takes place after his release.

He suggested that the politician, once described as the glue that bound the ideologically disparate parties of the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat pact, could unite the Opposition that has remain fractured since 2014.

Anwar had been able to bring PAS into the Opposition fold, he noted when pointing out that Dr Mahathir has the opposite effect, antagonising and alienating the Islamist party as he has done since his days as prime minister.

“If the elections happen after Anwar is released, it will make a big difference as he as the capacity to bring the Opposition together in a more cohesive manner. Probably more than Dr Mahathir ever can,” he said.

Gomez also credited some of the gains made by Opposition parties in the 2008 general election to Anwar, when he had acted as an advisor to PKR because he had still been disqualified from contesting due to his corruption conviction stemming from his 1998 fallout with Dr Mahathir.

He added that Anwar has a long history with PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang from their time the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia in the late 1970’s, which he said could provide the foundation of a reconciliation between the Islamist party and PH.

“So he may be able to speak to Abdul Hadi and possibly work things out for the Opposition’s benefit as a whole,” he said.

The Prison Department confirmed that Anwar will be released on June 8 as a third of the five-year sentence he was given by the Court of Appeal would be remitted based on provisions in the Prison Act 1995 and Prisons Regulations 2000.

His supporters argue Anwar’s imprisonment is another symbol for change, but among younger voters who came of age after the Reformasi movement in 1998 his efforts have little impact on them.

Source : The Malay Mail Online by JERRY CHOONG AND MAY ROBERTSON



1 Comment »

  1. Najib and Zahid – the status quo and the continuation of the long, unbroken BN kleptocratic rule. And Dr Mahathir and Dr Wan Azizah – the possibility of change, a new beginning and the end of the BN winning streak.

    Stabilty under BN? Yes you can choose stability and accept all the destruction and kleptocracy. Is that what you agree and accept? One thing for sure, if BN wins and with the Govt’s debts, there is possibility that GST will increase, cost of living will increase and we will pay more taxes as BN did not leave much for development expenditure and has a huge operating expenses in the budget. We need change…especially reforms that will ensure transparency and rule of law. I certainly prefer reform rather than stability that will further the destruction of our nation.

    Remember, to die hoping is much better than being alive in hopelessness. ABU!

    Comment by limpehkong — January 9, 2018 @ 9:26 PM | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: