Anwar’s next 4 hurdles 

Emmanuel Joseph

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has also made a series of populist moves in his first weeks in office, decisions that have earned him the public favour he will need in the months to come. – The Malaysian Insight pic by Seth Akmal, December 21, 2022. 

DESPITE the opposition’s attempts, Anwar Ibrahim got his vote of confidence and is slowly but surely restoring political stability to Malaysia. 

The days of clear-cut, semi-permanent political arrangements are over, and in its place is coalition politics of mutual goals and cooperation. 

The opposition, specifically Bersatu, needs to realise it will be much harder to overthrow this administration this time around in the face of a royal decree, anti-party hopping law, and the official position Umno has taken as a partner of the government.

Anwar has also made a series od populist “right” moves in his first weeks in office. 

But even though the opposition knew it was not able to garner the numbers to remove the PM in a vote, they successfully played up four major themes in their first Parliament sitting.  

The first was the portrayal of a unified Malay-Muslim front. By dressing up en bloc in baju Melayu and songkok, something even Umno did not do in its 60 years in power, they likely intended to send a message to the electorate about who they were and whom they represented. 

The second was to undermine Anwar’s religious and Islamic credentials. The opposition leader brought up the old chestnut of Anwar’s “homosexuality” and this can be expected to be a refrain throughout the term.  

The third was to question the legitimacy of the government’s agreement. Despite the governing coalition withstanding the first few tests in parliament – election of the speaker and his deputies, passing of a mini-budget and a voice vote on Anwar himself, Perikatan Nasional still feigned ignorance of the fact that 148, or more than two-thirds of the MPs support the government.

The voice vote call was intended to create doubt that some within the ranks of Anwar’s government do not support him. The reality is that their personal preferences do not matter so long as they vote along party lines.

Anwar will unfortunately have to fight this propaganda along with the usual bogeyman – Christianisation, communism, liberalism, and other regular English words repurposed to drive fear into Malay-Muslim minds. 

He has the government machinery behind him, but he will need the help of the people to correct these perceptions.

Christian groups, for example, could ally with friendly Muslim groups to dispel accusations unfairly thrown at them. 

The Chinese community could help their chosen political parties dispel the notion they have an agenda. 

Much of these fears are driven by ignorance. Explanations and tours could be arranged, for example, for people to visit vernacular schools.

Who knows, the people against those schools might learn a thing or two, especially about infrastructure from them! 

PN had every chance to defeat, join or disprove Anwar, and failed at every turn. It should concede loss and move on to the role of bringing checks and balances. But that cannot happen until it accepts the government or until enough positive public sentiment pushes their politics in that direction. 

We have lost enough time bickering over petty things and missing the bigger picture. 

We simply need to get used to the new political dynamics and its volatile nature. 

Anwar and his government need to keep focus on the economy and fixing it, and neither his government nor the country can afford to be distracted. 

He will need to get through these public perception hurdles, hopefully with help from the public. – December 21, 2022.

* Emmanuel Joseph firmly believes that Klang is the best place on Earth, and that motivated people can do far more good than any leader with motive.

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  • The only way to fight 'words 'reproposed to drive fear into Malay Muslim mind" is to give them support to believe in their own strength and ability.
    The Koran among other things also has many scientific, historical, geographical, human body and other types of truths about creations and the world. The world expresses surprise whenever these truths are discussed mostly by non Muslims. How many Muslim religious schools and universities are involved in researching and documenting them. which are only discussed when new discoveries are made. Even to pray a Muslim must must have knowledge of geography to know which direction to face and the position of the sun to determine the exact time of prayer.
    Make knowledge about the above an important part of all Muslim religious schools. Maybe make this as a project for every Muslim religious school in the form of a competition.
    For a start surah Ar Rahman discusses many of the bounties Allah has given to the world. How about a competition among all the Muslim religious school to have exhibition of the bounties mentioned in the surah.

    Posted 1 year ago by Citizen Pencen · Reply