A PICTURE tells a thousand words.
When the prime minister drops by to visit an ex-cabinet colleague in hospital and their photo goes viral, social media and chat groups will somehow be abuzz with all sorts of comments, some uncalled for.
Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor visited Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Kuala Lumpur Hospital on Friday. Anwar’s wife, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, was around.
Anwar is currently recovering from shoulder surgery, which he underwent exactly a week ago. In a statement later, Anwar’s son Muhammad Ihsan thanked Najib and Rosmah for their visit, as well as all the medical staff who had treated him.
To some commentators, Najib’s gesture might not come as a total surprise. He has visited Pas leader Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang and other senior Pas leaders in hospital as well.
On the one hand, it shows the magnanimous side of the prime minister; someone who is willing to put aside politics to visit some of his political rivals.
In Malay culture, such visits show respect for each other, especially during times of musibah or tragedy.
But with the silly season in Malaysian politics with the general election around the corner, the visit can still be interpreted as political.
“I think it shows that nothing is certain, it is an open market out there in today’s politics in Malaysia. If Dr Mahathir can befriend Anwar, nothing is impossible,” said KRA Group political analyst Amir Fareed Rahim.
“We have always known that nothing is impossible in Malaysian politics and this episode highlights just that.
“In that sense we are moving into a more mature politics among the elites. They can be civil with each other.”