Chandra Muzaffar: Mahathir and Anwar Must Not Send the Wrong Signals

MALAYSIA BAHARU

Chandra Muzaffar: Mahathir and Anwar Must Not Send the Wrong Signals

Now that the impossible has been achieved, the rakyat pin their hopes on a Malaysia Baru on the broad shoulders of Tun Dr Mahathir and Datuk Seri Anwar. Zakiah Koya speaks to President of the International Movement for a Just World (JUST) Dr Chandra Muzaffar who expresses hope for a bright future for Malaysia.

No one could dispute that it was the combo of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim which led the nation to drive out a party which ruled Malaysia for 60 years ever since its independence. 

With Pakatan Harapan being the new government of the day, the people are waiting for the reforms and promises made during the elections.

So far, Prime Minister Mahathir seems to have been delivering satisfactorily - zero-rated GST, clean cabinet, freeing Anwar and actions being taken against alleged corruption and financial scandals by the former PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak.  

"Mahathir galvanised the people for the election and Anwar has a large reservoir of people ready for change as well as diehard followers," said political analyst Chandra Muzaffar. 

He said that as the election was won with Anwar behind bars and Mahathir leading the opposition, the real test of their relationship is now as Anwar is now free and Mahathir is the PM. 

He said that it is Anwar's and Mahathir's responsibility that he does not send the wrong signals to their followers.  As this (the cooperation between the two) happened behind closed doors, Chandra said it is important for them to hold on to the premise that they are indeed hand in hand with each other. 

The people are watching hawk-eyed at everything that this new Pakatan Harapan government is doing. They are impatient and they want results, but the people are also aware that everything that the PH government is doing must follow the rule of law.

However, as the two main protagonists who played a crucial role in the defeat of 60 year old UMNO lion, Mahathir and Anwar has strong followers who will not only be watching all movements but be cued by the signals both send.

There is a whole question of power - both being politicians and men of their own ambitions with their own approach to things. It is true that their relationship in the past would persuade people to look at that relationship today and ask if what is portrayed to the public is genuine

"There is a whole question of power - both being politicians and men of their own ambitions with their own approach to things. It is true that their relationship in the past would persuade people to look at that relationship today and ask if what is portrayed to the public is genuine," said Chandra.

He said that one must also remember that the two were once very close to one another in the past and it was Mahathir who ensured the rise of Anwar in politics before he was sacked. 

"Mahathir saw him as a potential successor," said Chandra.

He said that how both make their moves now and manage the situation would have an impact on their ardent followers.  

Chandra, who joined the Reformasi Movement and then was part of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat in its early days hoped that the strength of the past bond itself would be enough to see them through this period of transition.

It is important that they be seen to work together. They have to solidify and strengthen the relationship

"They have to work together and if there is some sort of uneasiness (between the two), it would not augur well for the nation. It is important that they be seen to work together. They have to solidify and strengthen the relationship," said Chandra.

However, Chandra hoped that Anwar is now more patient. He said that it was probably impatience on Anwar's part to be the PM in 1998, which may have led to his sacking, as well as the Kajang move. 

(In the political move known as "Kajang Move" which aimed at removing the former Menteri Besar of Selangor Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, some analysts had stated that it hastened Anwar’s passage to jail in his second sodomy trial. Anwar alleged the judgement was politically motivated to stop him from being the Selangor chief minister.)

Chandra warned that both must now move carefully, taking into account all that will happen with such moves, as Mahathir has also made Anwar the PM-in-waiting. 

He further stated that Mahathir too should be seen to be more consultative and accommodating in his views.

"He should not be seen to contrive to be enamoured as in doing things his way and sing Frank Sinatra's "I did it my way"!" said Chandra, who added that the government is a new one and the situation is therefore, still very fragile.

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