Saturday, November 27, 2021

Be magnanimous and step down, Anwar

Be magnanimous and step down, Anwar

Pakatan Harapan’s abysmal performance in Melaka was followed by many calls for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to resign. He acknowledged the criticisms about him but, true to form, he is reluctant to leave.

His supporters would like him to continue as leader. They keep repeating the same old mantra, “There is no one who is capable of leading the coalition.”

Have they ever wondered why no one has come forward? The man, or woman, with the right personality, courage and qualities to lead is probably reluctant to show his or her leadership skills.

The reason is simple. As Asians, filial piety is paramount. We live in a deferential society, where few would dare oppose people of the older generation. So, who will challenge Anwar? No one, because they will be told off for being “biadap” (rude).

This is where Anwar could be magnanimous and step down. Only then will the younger ones, the more able, the ones with hidden talent, the more creative and visionary, and the ones with potential can step forward, prove themselves, develop and grow with the coalition and lead. However, this will not happen as long as Anwar remains.

Apart from his period with back pain when he was in prison, Anwar probably enjoys good health. But no one lives forever, so when will the inner circle think about a succession plan? Have they a Plan B for the time when Anwar is no longer around?

Those on the outside may not know the goings-on in PKR. Perhaps Anwar and his inner circle do not see the damage caused by the string of election defeats. Melaka, where PKR lost all the 11 seats it contested, was when many supporters withdrew their support and openly criticised Anwar.

Comments and criticisms against him have included:

  • “If he will not go, I have no desire to support the Harapan coalition any longer. He has no strategy. He waffles too much.”
  • “I don’t think he knows what he’s doing. Conducting a post-mortem is ridiculous and a waste of time. We told him before the elections that Harapan and PKR would lose but he refused to listen. Championing the Umno turncoats was the last straw for most of us. We do not want to be associated with a party which lacks principles and integrity. We have enough political parties like that in Malaysia and we don’t need another one.”
  • “I would rather stay at home than vote for a party which welcomed frogs with open arms and refused to listen to their grassroots supporters.”
  • “Did Harapan’s leaders ever wonder why there was poor voter turnout? There was nothing to entice or induce us to leave our homes. None of the candidates were inspiring.”

Anwar has failed to strengthen PKR at the grassroots level. Political frogs have tarnished PKR’s reputation. The infighting does not help and suggests a lack of discipline in the party.

Many supporters were disgusted that political frogs were encouraged to bring down the state government. When the same frogs were embraced and called heroes, many of them were furious.

The leaders’ claim that “winning is everything” only confirmed the supporters’ fears – that they had strayed far from their original promise of upholding a party with integrity and high principles.

The failure to listen and identify with the grassroots was another bone of contention. One supporter said: “We were surprised that he failed to focus on local issues but harped on about other things.

“When Harapan concentrated on Najib Abdul Razak and his RM100 million house and land, it brought into sharp focus our own predicament.

“All we want is someone to address our daily concerns. Many of us had lost our homes. The economic downturn. The loss of jobs. The increasing cost of living. The fear of the pandemic.

“We have our own immediate needs to worry about, than to be bothered about Najib’s reward for being PM. If Harapan leaders cannot even connect with our basic and daily needs, why should we care about them? We can take our votes elsewhere.”

So, is anyone listening in the corridors of power within the Pakatan Harapan boardroom?


  1. Yes, Anwar should volunteer to step down. At the same time, LKS and son should follow suit. People will say LGE is considered young. While true, I think his politics mirror his father's too much and thus he should follow his father out.

    To me, Penang has a good MB and he should be given free rein to shine. Once that is done, we will see more young DAP members come out to play a bigger role.

    1. Sorry to say, as a Penang resident, the Current Penang Chief Minister (who ?) is invisible and unintelligible.

      Lim Guan Eng may have been accused of being overbearing and too loud, but he fought for Penang where it mattered.
      But the current Penang Chief Minister has been silent to the point of being useless.

      He raised the possibility of discontinuing the Penang Hill Railway because of frequent breakdowns, attracting the ire of many Penangites.

      The truth is , the frequent breakdowns are because it has not been possible to carry out major maintenance work that needs to be performed by the Swiss manufacturer's engineers, for nearly two years.

      The foreigners have not been able to come in because of Malaysian Government restrictions.
      He should have made this clear, demanding Federal Government cooperation, which this Lembik guy dare not. Penangites would have backed him up.

      On matters like this, Lim Guan Eng is much missed.