Written by Stan Lee, Politics Now!
KUALA LUMPUR (Politics Now!) – As disappointment with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s performance becomes palpable across the nation, Malaysia’s political scene is once again rocking with conspiracy theories of when and how he will be ousted and by whom – not if!
“I think the push is now quite easy to see. It is Hisham who is seen as the most acceptable candidate to take over from Anwar who is likely to end up the shortest-termed PM ever,” a political pundit told Politics Now!
“So long as Hisham is backed by a very strong King who is known for multiracial and no nonsense ways, such as the Johor Sultan, then I think the non-Malays will accept Hisham notwithstanding their concern about Pas extremism. They can see Anwar is not up to the job and his PKR party has become a disgrace, good only at bullying critics but bungling and at a loss when it comes to hatching workable plans for the nation’s future. So whether Hisham becomes PM via Umno as it is now or has to go over to PN-PAS with other Umno MPs is less important. The final structure remains to be seen.”
The earliest opportunity for rivals to topple Anwar will be at the tabling of the Budget for 2024 next month. The change of King due to take place on Jan 31, 2024 is another key date to watch and a change of government is possible before or soon after that day. A snap general election is however unlikely as the power ‘wheeling and dealing’ is likely to transacted via statutory declarations of support presented to the King.
IT’S TRUE, NON-MALAYS DO TRUST JOHOR SULTAN – FROM BANGSA JOHOR TO BANGSA MALAYSIA?
Indeed, non-Malays’ fear of Pas and the still widespread public rejection of ex-premier Muhyiddin Yassin who performed just as badly if not worse than Anwar, are no longer enough to keep him propped up as the country’s 10th prime minister.
Even DAP, the political party within Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan coalition that he has been banking on to reel in the non-Malay vote, is starting to lose its shine with the Chinese and Indian voters.
Critically, the disgust displayed by Sarawak’s all-powerful GPS coalition, without whose support Anwar’s unity government would immediately crash, has been too visible to be missed by political watchers.
In recent weeks, Premier Abang Jo and his state government have slammed the door on almost every one of Anwar’s half-baked efforts that seem aimed to make himself popular with the Malay heartland and the civil service, rather than in the nation’s interests.
These include refusing to comply with a ‘Return to Sender’ order from Anwar that Malay language must be used on all official communications or to compel Sarawak schools to hold a controversial ‘Palestine Solidarity Week’.
Sarawak’s ministers did not mince their words – reiterating that English would remain their state’s official language, while rebuffing the Palestine Solidarity Week that has now backfired badly on Anwar on the grounds that one-sided political ideology that comes with violence and ethnic hatred had no place in the state’s primary and secondary schools.
TMJ’S KNOCKOUT PUNCH
But perhaps the latest blow – a thundering, knockout punch from Johor crown prince Tunku Ismail – was the most powerful indicator yet that the end of the road is near for Anwar and his coterie of self-aggrandizing political secretaries and ministers.
This inner circle of loyalists from Anwar’s own PKR party may have single-handedly made Anwar’s fall inevitable due to their bullying and oppressive ways towards critics – thus eroding the key fundamentals of the reformist platform, which includes free and fair speech, that swept Anwar to power.
TMJ, the moniker by which Tunku Ismail is known, had a day ago called Anwar indecisive, saying he lacked a good team and did not show enough courage to carry out tough decisions.
Indeed, all eyes are on whether Anwar can “execute” his development plans unveiled recently in an unprecedentedly massive Budget for 2024 or will he stay as many have predicted – a disorganized ‘tin kosong’ (empty vessel) administrator?
“Just to address what the TMJ said, my view is (Anwar) is not entirely indecisive. He does make decisions,” said a prominent blogger Syed Akbar Ali in his website.
“But he lacks that most essential and cherished of all essentials – common sense, knowledge and intelligence. Lacking all three, his decisions are all cantankerous. But nothing seems to stop him. He just bulldozes through. It is nothing more than ‘Me, myself and I‘.“
OMINOUSLY FOR ANWAR – NEW AGONG HAS ‘CLEAR AGENDA’ TO ‘RESTORE ORDER’
More ominously still, TMJ said his father, who is due to become Malaysia’s next King for the next 5 years effective from January 31, 2024 had a “clear agenda” and was keen to “restore order”.
“He always says something about restoring order because of the unstable (political) situation in the country,” Tunku Ismail said during the“Keluar Sekejap” podcast which aired on Monday.
According to news portal Malaysiakini, Tunku Ismail also believes his father’s impending reign would be an “interesting time”.
“His Majesty has his own plan…He wants to work together with the prime minister and share his views with the latter. So, we will see,” he said.
DON’T BE A BULLY, ANWAR – EVERY MALAYSIAN HAS A RIGHT TO COMMENT ON POLITICS, INCLUDING ON YOUR PERFORMANCE
Tunku Ismail himself set the tone when he pointed out that as a citizen, he had the right to comment on political matters, including Anwar’s performance.
It was indeed a pointed reference and a direct slap to Anwar’s minders who have been busy trying to build him into some sort of ‘cult hero’ who could not be criticized.
Their clampdown on critics is perhaps the single-most damaging issue that has angered civil society and the activists, whose decades-old push for a better Malaysia had helped bring Anwar and the DAP to power.
“This is called karma. When they were in opposition and needed strident critics against Najib, then against Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Ismail Sabri, they were only too happy,” a veteran political watcher told Politics Now!
“Now that they are in power, they think they did it all by themselves. They don’t remember the past contributions, they even forget their own reforms. This shows they don’t have much principles – the Sedition Act is not only still there but they are actually using it on their critics, so is SOSMA. Serves them right when they get kicked back into the opposition and these laws are used again on them. Nobody will protest for them anymore, nobody will even vote for them. They’re just opportunists, behaving like tinpot dictators the moment they get to Putrajaya.”
KARMA, WHICH IS ESPECIALLY DRAWN TO HYPOCRISY, NEVER MISSES!
Third prime minister Hussein Onn
Worse than the backpedaling on election promises and underwhelming performance in getting the economy back on track, Anwar turned to the politics of hypocrisy to appease the Malay heartland, where he holds little traction and is not trusted.
Unfortunately by doing so, Anwar antagonized his own largely non-Malay electorate, foolishly falling into the trap set by the Malay-centric parties including Pas, the largest and most powerful political party in the country.
Despite a glaring lack of visionaries and talented administrators, Pas now controls the governments of 4 states and the hearts and minds of Malay voters – due to the politics of race and religion that it plays. However, its reach and expansion may have hit limit, with analysts saying it has to tone down its stance and start to woo the non-Malays which make up almost 40 per cent of the country’s population.
Indeed, “interesting times” are ahead for Malaysia as the TMJ predicted. Under Anwar and DAP, the massive change and transformation that Malaysia needs is clearly not possible. DAP can push behind the scenes but Anwar is just too weak and has not the capability to pull. The result – a still dying Malaysia, albeit at a slower pace!
Can the younger Hisham, whose father was the country’s 3rd prime minister Hussein Onn and whose grandad Onn Jaafar wanted to open Umno to non-Malay members, pull better than the ageing Anwar?
Who can push Hisham better than DAP? Perhaps Pas or Bersatu or even DAP again with GPS and Umno-BN too? Obviously, all under the overarching, strong and watchful eye of the King! Long live his Majesty, long live Malaysia!
Written by Stan Lee, Politics Now!