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Election 2022: Prominent faces in a crowded field

Some might make the cut while others will fade away

Anwar Ibrahim and Mahiaddin Yasin - FMT

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By Phlip Rodrigues

As election day draws nearer, many voters have made up their minds by now about the candidates they want to elect to Parliament and the state legislative assemblies.

It is a crowded field; so let us focus on a few prominent figures with the potential to become the next prime minister or to go far in their political careers.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob: The former prime minister has already gained some experience in governing the country. But he lacks charisma and gumption to be a forceful leader.

He is banking on Budget 2023, which his government tabled, to give him some ammunition to fight back. He has nothing more to offer the nation.

The ‘poster boy’ for Barisan Nasional, however, does carry some weight and might have another shot at becoming the national leader again.

His only claim to fame was when he spoke at the UN General Assembly in Malay – and created history of the wrong kind.

Zahid Hamidi: He had a short stint as deputy prime minister, appointed by his former boss who is now spending all his days and nights behind bars

He didn’t make his mark as an influential leader in the government nor is his leadership of Umno much appreciated. He is considered more of a drag in the party than a big help.

He is in a great hurry to become PM despite a blot on his public service record. This brash character is unlikely to realise his dream. He’s more suited as a tribal chief.

Anwar Ibrahim: The man who would be prime minister and never was. He came tantalisingly close to the goal during the heyday of Pakatan Harapan rule and is still single-mindedly pursuing his dream.

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The PKR leader is making all the right noises about multi-racial harmony in line with his promise to be a “leader for all Malaysians” if PH wins the general election.

Most importantly, he got it all right when he trained all his firepower on eradicating corruption.

Once a bright star as former deputy PM, he had his dark moments when he fell from grace in 1998.

But if Anwar’s oratorical power doesn’t catch fire in the Malay heartland, where it matters most, he will become a permanent footnote in the annals of Malaysian politics.

Mahiaddin Yasin: The former prime minister will forever be remembered as the “Sheraton” man, who was mainly responsible for the downfall of the PH government.

For this act of betrayal, the Perikatan Nasional chairman will find it tough to regain the trust of the voters.

But his promise to offer “clean, stable” government might resonate with the people.

Perhaps his handling of the pandemic gives him some extra credit points to make a comeback.

Hadi Awang: A firebrand who has nothing more to offer than the politics of race and religion.

The Pas president is only keen on seeing the Malaysian way of life with all its rich diversity disappear. The supremacy of his religion is all that matters to him.

His brand of divisive politics will not find a home in Malaysia. He will never find support among the ethnic minorities who see him as a menace to peace and harmony.

Dr Mahathir Mohamad: This ancient politician, who ruled the country for over 20 years and returned for a brief second stint, still wants to put his shaky hands on the wheels of state.

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The fighter in him refuses to back down and, as head of Pejuang, he wants to lead the charge with his coalition Gerakan Tanah Air with the battle cry: We are clean! We want to turn Malaysia into an Asian tiger!

The old doctor wants to try his luck, but most people are already tired of his prescriptions. His wish to be to become PM for a third time might not come true.

Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail: As adviser to PKR, the doctor is still a popular figure. She might have a big role to play if PH returns to power.

She was once a deputy prime minister and there is still hope that she might one day step up to the highest office in the country and create history of the right kind.

Khairy Jamaluddin: He comes across as a suave leader who is a picture of calm and sturdiness amid the turmoil in his party.

He might continue to climb up the ladder. And he is articulate in the English language, Oxford style.

He does not get himself embroiled in party squabbles and prefers to keep his distance while some other party members fall by the wayside.

He has one big ambition: he wants to become prime minister one day, and that seat of power is not beyond his reach.

Phlip Rodrigues is a former journalist

AGENDA RAKYAT - Lima perkara utama
  1. Tegakkan maruah serta kualiti kehidupan rakyat
  2. Galakkan pembangunan saksama, lestari serta tangani krisis alam sekitar
  3. Raikan kerencaman dan keterangkuman
  4. Selamatkan demokrasi dan angkatkan keluhuran undang-undang
  5. Lawan rasuah dan kronisme
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