Pakatan Harapan announced in its convention on Sunday that PPBM chairman Tun Mahathir would be the prime minister if the opposition pact wins the next general election. PKR president Wan Azizah would be deputy PM.
The pact had come under tremendous pressure prior to this for not arriving at an agreement over the choice of PM. Following the announcement of the Mahathir-Azizah pair, the issue is now put to rest, but whether such a combination is acceptable to the voters is yet to tell.
PH’s preferred candidate had been PKR’s advisor Anwar Ibrahim, but as he is still behind bars and is unlikely to run in the coming election, an alternative candidate had to be picked.
It took the pact quite some time to arrive at a consensus over the choice of PM. However, PH has also said it would initiate the legal proceedings to seek royal pardon so that Anwar could play a major role in the new government and become the country’s eighth prime minister.
While the decision on Mahathir was greeted with thunderous applause in the PH convention, public response should matter most given the fact the rakyat are the people who will eventually decide who should lead this country.
The question is, will the Malaysian voting public accept the return of Mahathir to the pinnacle of power? As a matter of fact, the selection of Mahathir as PM candidate has invited polarized views.
Mahathir’s strength lies with his rich administrative experiences and exemplary political artistry and the fact he still commands a lot of influences in the Malay society.
That being said, Mahathir did spark a fair deal of controversies when he was in power, including Bank Negara’s forex losses and constitutional crisis, among others.
Additionally, his iron-fisted rule was slammed by many, and some Malaysians are still very unhappy to have him back in charge.
Moreover, against the backdrop of an increasingly young global leadership typified by Canada’s Justin Trudeau and New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern, whether young Malaysian voters will accept a 93-year-old to lead the country remains a big question.
Sure enough the opposition pact has weighed all the pros and cons before deciding on the PM choice. In other words, PH does have its political considerations but that also reflects the cruel fact that it doesn’t really have a better person for the office.
After the decision was announced, PH has officially shifted into the battle mode.
As the day draws nearer and nearer for the two major opposing camps (BN and PH) to eventually face off with each other at the polls, the voters will have to decide whether they want Mahathir back as their PM or allow Najib to continue leading this country.