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Will Anwar be a one-term PM? Will PH continue to govern after 2027?

Anwar has to be bold, brave and courageous and find a way to steer this nation to a safe harbour where we all can live together in harmony and peace

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim

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The results of the recent six state elections may galvanise Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s will to bring about reforms and govern the country for the benefit of all.

But if he chooses to pander to the conservative ethnic Malays for their support in order to retain his position and power after the next general election, he is doomed to be a one-term PM!

Anwar had put in a lot of effort campaigning in Kedah, drawing mammoth crowds but the result was so disappointing – he did not make a dent in Kedah.

In fact, Kedah chief minister Muhammad Sanusi Md Nor’s party did better than in 2018, when eight Pakatan Harapan candidates won. This time, PH only won two seats. It even lost to Gerakan in Kulim!

Going by early predictions, Negeri Sembilan and Selangor were in danger of falling into the hands of Perikatan Nasional. But surprisingly, Negeri Sembilan performed the best among the three states held by PH.

Selangor came close to changing hands! With another seven seats won, PN would have taken over Selangor with a simple majority. Even in Penang, the opposition increased its strength from three seats to 11.

The three other PN-held states did extremely well. PH got a drubbing in Terengganu, with PN making a clean sweep of the 32 seats! In Kelantan, PH was lucky to win two seats out of 45. Sanusi’s influence in Kedah was starkly obvious, with PN winning 33 seats out of 36 contested – all with increased majorities!

PN secured two-thirds majorities in all the three states it retained, whereas PH maintain its two-thirds majority only in Negeri Sembilan and Penang. It lost its two-thirds majority in Selangor. If it had lost another seven seats, Selangor would have fallen into the lap of PN. PH was lucky to hold on to Selangor, the jewel in the crown of the state governments!

By all counts, PN performed exceptionally well, winning 146 seats out of 245 seats contested. PH did dismally, winning only 99 seats. The biggest gain was scored by Pas, winning 105 seats out of the 127 it contested. Evidently, a huge surge in support for PN could not be thwarted.

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The weakest PH partner was Umno flying the Barisan Nasional banner. It contested 108 seats, winning only 19 seats and losing 89 seats. It was trounced by PN.

Of the 19 seats Umno won, 14 were from Negeri Sembilan with support from the ethnic minorities. It won a miserable five seats from three other states – two in Selangor, two in Penang, and one in Kelantan. It was wiped out in Terengganu and Kedah. It was such a humiliating defeat for Umno! It was roundly battered despite boasting a three-million-strong membership.

But Umno’s poor performance was due to its own doing. For over half a century, it had been demonising the DAP with all kinds of lies!

The DAP was persistently accused of being anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-royalty. All these, of course, were vicious lies. The party was accused of plotting to Christianise the country, condemned for wanting to take over the country, and portrayed as the party pulling the strings in the PH government.

The DAP was cast as the power behind the throne. All these lies were concocted to make the Malays despise and hate the DAP. The antagonism towards the DAP was real and genuine, but based on these vicious lies.

After doing such an excellent job to get the Malays to despise and hate the DAP, how could Umno then call upon the Malays to treat the DAP as a friend and partner? After all the dirty work done against the DAP for over half a century, how could it ever hope to undo this in a mere eight months? Asking all its supporters to hug the former enemy as a friend is something like asking for the moon!

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Will Umno have the integrity to admit that whatever lies it spread about the DAP were not true and that the latter was maligned unjustly?

It was a political ploy to denigrate the DAP as the enemy of the Malays and, to a great extent, Umno succeeded in this attempt. It would now appear that it has fallen into its own trap!

On the eve of elections, at their mega-ceramah (rally) in Penang at Karpal Singh Drive, every DAP leader present passionately and sincerely urged the people to vote for PH and BN.

Did Umno do the same? We have not heard Umno telling its members to vote for DAP candidates. While addressing the Malay voters, did the Umno leaders really call on their members to support DAP candidates or merely to vote for PH?

They were caught in this bind because of their cooked-up lies. As they say, karma finally catches up with you – and deservingly so! Umno paid the price for its distortion!

By all counts, PN triumphed extremely well. If this trend and surge continues without any let-up, they may sweep into federal power come the next general election. We cannot discount this possibility from happening.

With so many assembly members elected, they pack a greater reach to influence even more voters. They will have the resources, structure and machinery to pose as a formidable adversary in 2027. They would be even better prepared and organised to give PH a run for their money!

If Anwar and PH cannot stem this tide and halt PN’s march to Putrajaya, it will be a one-term prime ministership for Anwar. And if Anwar gives all his attention to facing this challenge by pandering to the conservative Malays at the expense of neglecting his hardcore support base, it will be the end of his Madani (Civil Malaysia) government.

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To arrest the threat of Pas and its influence, Anwar must tackle the rot in the education system. He must overhaul and revamp the curriculum so that it serves the needs of the nation.

We must educate students to think critically and question, without accepting everything as gospel truth. Our schools must reflect the multi-racial characteristic of the nation as it did before Dr Mahathir Mohamad ruined this.

We must recruit more ethnic minority teachers and bring about a balanced representation in the education system.

We must seriously take a look at the madrassa school system where the brainwashing is believed to begin at a very young age. From early, children are trapped and taught to think in the only way they are instructed to, from the religious point of view. It is important that the children are freed from this situation so that they can grow up into rational, thinking human beings.

Without doubt, Anwar must fix the economy, which is in a shambles. The rampant corruption must be weeded out and a sense of patriotism must be instilled so that the civil service will serve the needs of the nation – without some of them putting their fingers into the till. They must work sincerely and honestly for the welfare of the nation and serve everyone with no discrimination.

If Anwar puts his mind to it, all this can be achieved for the betterment of the nation. He has four years to correct the ills of the nation. He understands what is involved and required to rectify the present malaise. If he fails, the Madani government will surely fall. That would be the end of Anwar and his dream to create a better Malaysia for all of us.

Anwar has to be bold, brave and courageous and find a way to steer this nation to a safe harbour where we all can live together in harmony and peace.

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Stephen Tan Ban Cheng
Stephen Tan Ban Cheng
21 Aug 2023 11.08am

I agree with Phua Kai Lit, but Anwar must stil provide the stability and certainty
going forward. Now is not the time for errors, given that the “unhealthy” forces
are ranged against the Unity Government led by Anwar. I am aggrieved that the
untimely demise of a good Cabinet Minister, Salahuddin Ayub, at 61, has so far
been treated by this Unity Government as a non-event. Why?

Phua Kai Lit
Phua Kai Lit
18 Aug 2023 12.39pm

Be optimistic, folks. High inflation, and yet Unity Govt kept 2/3 majority in Penang and Negri Sembilan state elections, and majority in Selangor. Now: need to win back some of the working class Malay protest votes that went to the other side (win back through more progressive and pro-poor economic policies). Just look at Argentina – where economic problems has led to many people voting for a far Right person who resembles Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro.

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