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

By P. Ramakrishnan

The result of the recent six-state elections may galvanise Anwar’s will to bring about reforms and govern the country for the benefit of all Malaysians … or if he chooses to pander to the conservative Malays for their support in order to retain his position and power after GE 16, he is doomed to be a one-term Prime Minister!

He 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, Sanusi’s party did better than in 2018 when eight Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidates won. This time, only two seats were won. They even lost to the Gerakan candidate in Kulim! 

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

Selangor came very close to changing hands! With another seven seats won, PN would have taken over Selangor by a simple majority. Even in Penang, the Opposition increased its strength from 3 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 have won 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 majority in all the three states whereas PH managed to retain 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 very lucky to hold on to Selangor, the jewel in the crown of state governments!

By all counts, PN had 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.

The weakest PH partner was Umno flying the Barisan Nasional (BN) banner. It contested 108 seats, winning only 19 seats and losing 89 seats. It was really trounced by PN. Of the 19 seats Umno won, 14 were from Negeri Sembilan with support from the non-Malays. It won only 5 miserable seats from the other three states it contested in (Selangor 2, Penang 2, Kelantan 1). It was completely wiped out in Terengganu and Kedah. It was such a humiliating defeat for Umno! It was roundly battered in spite of boasting a three-million-strong membership.

But Umno’s poor performance was due to its own doing. For more than half a century, Umno had been demonizing DAP with all kinds of lies!

DAP was persistently accused of being anti-Malay, anti-Islam and anti-royalty. All these, of course, were vicious lies. The DAP was accused of plotting to Christianize 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 toward the DAP was real and genuine, but based on the aforesaid vicious lies.

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

Will Umno have the integrity to admit that whatever lies they spread about the DAP were not true and that the party 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 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 really triumphed extremely well. If this trend and surge continues without any let-up, they may sweep into federal power come GE 16. We cannot discount this possibility from happening.

With so many assemblypersons elected, they pack a greater reach to influence even more Malaysians. They will have the resources, structure and machinery to pose as a formidable adversary in 2028. They would be even better prepared and organized 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 premiership for Anwar. And if Anwar gives all his attention to face 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 government.

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 will serve 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 Mahathir ruined this.

We must recruit more non-Malays as teachers and bring about a balanced representation in the education system.

We must seriously take a look at the madrassa school system where the brain-washing 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 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 every citizen without any 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.

FIrst published at this link on 18 August 2023

(The views expressed are those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of Rebuilding Malaysia.)

P Ramakrishnan is the long-serving former president of Aliran who served for three and a half decades on its executive committee and has been with Aliran since its inception in 1977.

Now an ordinary Aliran member, he continues to highlight issues of public interest to a larger audience.

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