PETALING JAYA,Dec 18: After an eventful, tumultous and acrimonious year, the relationship between Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim is now beyond repair, says an analyst.
There is no chance of any future political cooperation between the two veterans as Mahathir clearly does not want Anwar to be prime minister, which remains the PKR president’s aspiration, according to James Chin of the University of Tasmania’s Asia Institute.
“It’s quite obvious that no matter what they say in public, Mahathir will never allow Anwar to be the prime minister.
“As long as Mahathir is alive, he will do anything he can to stop Anwar from becoming the prime minister. Therefore, I think Anwar realises that it’s impossible for them to get back together,” he told FMT.
He also said Anwar had built a position for himself in PKR without any likely successor, and looks set to remain at the helm for the foreseeable future.
This same reality could be seen in the opposition as a whole, with no leaders on the horizon to take over from others such as DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng.
“It’s too early to say who can lead the opposition to victory in GE15. Warisan’s Shafie Apdal is an interesting candidate but I think the peninsula political establishment, especially the Malay establishment, is not ready for a prime minister from Sabah and Sarawak.
“I think Shafie would be widely accepted as a deputy prime minister, but he still has some way to go to convince the Malay community in the peninsula that he’s capable of leading the country.”
The mood in the opposition side was clear when Lim and Amanah president Mohamad Sabu yesterday called on Pakatan Harapan (PH) to stop wasting time on “opportunistic” Perikatan Nasional (PN) backbenchers who were exploiting them.
Instead, they said, the opposition bloc needed a “reset” which could be read as yet another setback for Anwar’s ambitions.
The pair said more time and resources should be spent on allies struggling for a common cause and that PH should look beyond its 92 MPs and concentrate on the 108 opposition MPs, referring to Warisan and other MPs now aligned to Mahathir.
Shafie had also called for a change in the opposition’s leadership, warning that failing to do so could see it losing in the next general election.
Universiti Malaya’s Awang Azman Pawi said Shafie’s statement following Anwar’s failed attempt to topple the PN government in the Dewan Rakyat showed that the Warisan and PKR presidents were not in agreement.
“However, with this rationale, then Shafie should also be replaced since the Warisan leadership failed to stop the Sabah government from falling into PN’s hands,” he told FMT.
Awang Azman said the failure to stop Budget 2021 was mainly due to MPs fearing to be seen as putting the people’s interests aside and ignoring the advice of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong to pass the supply bill.
He added that the best thing for Anwar to do now would be to strengthen the party’s grassroots and to groom the current leaders in preparation for the next general election.
“Meet with the members, serve well in each constituency and offer the best formula to develop the country to face PN when Parliament is dissolved.”