Mahathir-Anwar axis – Final Part III

 |Sep 20, 2016
Will Mahathir - Anwar political team take place?
Will Mahathir – Anwar political team take place?

Continued from Part II

If Malaysians are not happy with the government, they can take their turns to vote according to their conscience and interest.

First and foremost, both individuals are former stalwarts in Umno, whose standing and influence revolve, time and again, on a cesspool of disgruntled feelings in Umno.

Put more bluntly, the duo rely on hatred of, and for Umno, and by extension, its coalition partners.

But any strategy guided by sheer contempt and hatred of the government, whether in the streets or social media, risk creating a population that does not know the intricacies of government too, especially when that is multiracial in nature.

Hence, despite the patina and claim of “Save Malaysia,” the duo is attempting something rather dangerous, which have logically and matter-a-factly, resulted in the calls foreign intervention from US and Australia.

Hate, in other words, lead to blind fury and sheer vitriol.

Of course, some Umno members are taken in by the hate, but these are individuals likely to find themselves unable to meet and talk to the leadership.

To the degree Umno and its coalition partners do not turn away their own divisional leaders and representatives, the systemic hate which Mahathir and Anwar try to plant, will not gain traction.

From here on, Umno and its coalition partners can reform accordingly, and not do so under the specter of foreign intervention.

Second, even granted the lesser ambition of Mahathir and Anwar, which is to trigger a series of resignations from the 200 divisional leaders in Umno, who of course have their flaws and weaknesses, such an attempt cannot work.

Rapprochement would not have wielded the necessary effect to make a dent on Umno, which is now fully in the grip of Prime Minister Najib Razak from the supreme council right down to the 200 divisions located across the country except in Sarawak.

But how can the Mahathir-Anwar rapprochement lead to a more devastating effect on Umno?

There are seven areas they must cooperate in a comprehensive and sweeping manner beyond agreeing to the ‘Citizens’ Declaration’, which at this stage is still full of platitudes and motherhood statement (on good governance).

Just as the ‘Citizens Declaration’ have failed, invariably, to reach the Council of Monarchs in Malaysia, a Mahathir-Anwar rapprochement is not necessarily an immediate game changer.

Why is this the case?

First and foremost, there must be straight fights between Umno and the opposition front, especially in 119 rural constituencies.

But this is not likely, if not no numerically impossible.

The opposition front has been at the fore of battling the government since 2008, if not earlier.

The possibility of the opposition front giving way to the Parti Pribumi Bersatu (PBP), chaired by Dr Mahathir, is absolutely minimal, except with seats in Kedah, Johor and Sabah, where PBP’s leaders originally hailed.

This is because Mahathir, Mukhriz, Muhyiddin and Shafie Apdal all came from these states respectively.

Secondly, despite the high level rapprochement, the integrity of the pact between the duo must also be contingent on zero betrayal from within the ranks of the opposition front.

One must take note of the fact that Shafie Apdal, the former head of Umno in Semporna, Sabah, is still not a member of PBP.

If he were to reach out to Umno again, a possibility that cannot be ruled out, then the intended effect of Mahathir and Anwar rapprochement, which is to corrode the cohesion of Umno, would dissolve over night.

Thirdly, straight fights between Umno and the opposition front is not an individual domain.

It goes through many layers of party bureaucracy, factionalism and walls of resistance by the grass root members who themselves are keen on becoming the chose parliamentary candidates.

With Anwar Ibrahim still in prison, the reins of power rest with other political leaders who are free.

But they won’t be able to control the members who are determined to run for public office.

Fourthly, Anwar Ibrahim promotes a reformist agenda of inclusion, whereas Dr Mahathir is still back to the old tricks of trying to promote ethno-Malay nationalism.

Even if Anwar and Mahathir were to agree to a single reform agenda, such as the need to get Najib out, in order to ‘Save Malaysia’, as the opposition put it, there is no telling that Umno’s reform agenda is any less worthy, especially with the next general election.

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