Anwar should focus on state polls instead of Dr M, says political analyst

“We are back to 1997, when we have the same two figures fighting, one of whom, whose time is up, but is still trying hard to be relevant.”

That was the opinion of Associate Professor Dr Azeem Fazwan Ahmad Farouk regarding Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s ‘Malay Proclamation’ movement and his recent attacks against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

The political analyst added that Anwar should not be distracted by Dr Mahathir’s moves, and should instead focus on Pakatan Harapan’s chances in the upcoming state elections, especially in Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

“The easiest way to appeal to the voters is by using the ethnic card. That is what Dr Mahathir is using to stay relevant,” said Azeem, director of Universiti Sains Malaysia’s Centre for Policy Research and International Studies.

“He feels many Malays are not happy with the current government and wants to capitalise on this,” said Azeem.

Azeem said race or ethnicity in Malaysia goes hand in hand with politics, with parties like Umno, Pas, DAP, MIC and MCA dominated by one race.

He added it was the same for PKR and those from East Malaysia, which pride themselves on being multiracial and multi-religious, but are ethnic-based.

Dr Mahathir, who joined Parti Bumiputera Perkasa Malaysia (Putra) last month, said he wanted it to be a part of a new anti-corruption coalition for the next national polls.

Last week, a Malay daily reported that Dr Mahathir met Pas president Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang behind closed doors to discuss the possibility of working together for GE16. The report was, however, shot down by Putra.

“(Even if there are plans to join Perikatan Nasional) Dr Mahathir and his former party (Parti Pejuang Tanah Air) were rejected by the people in the 15th General Election. Every single one of them, including Dr Mahathir, lost their deposit.

“What makes Dr Mahathir think he can help Perikatan Nasional (in the upcoming state elections)?”

Azeem also said Dr Mahathir will continue trying to discredit Anwar for as long as he lives.

“With the upcoming state elections in Kedah, Kelantan, Terengganu, Penang, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor, Anwar is probably worried about Selangor and Negeri Sembilan, and that the ‘Green Wave’ will see more Malays voting for Perikatan Nasional.

“He (Anwar) should focus on that, instead of worrying about Dr Mahathir. Anwar needs to find a way to keep Selangor and Negeri Sembilan under Pakatan Harapan control.”

Azeem said Dr Mahathir had used the ‘Malay Proclamation’ rally, that was scheduled last Sunday but eventually cancelled, to distract the government, and took Anwar to task for reacting to the latter’s baiting.

Azeem also said Dr Mahathir should have been allowed to organise the rally, as long as it was peaceful and did not incite anger or hatred towards other religions or races.

“Whether we like it or not, in a democratic country, anybody, even Dr Mahathir, should be able to express their views, as long as it does not incite conflict,” said Azeem.

Dr Mahathir had alleged that Anwar had used his influence to get two venues to reject bookings to hold the rally, which had been planned for Sunday.

Police issued a stern warning that they would act against those who incited racial and religious tensions in the country.

Main image: Information Department Malaysia

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