LETTER | Now that the euphoria of Pakatan Harapan’s historic win is gradually waning, Malaysians must find the strength to question the undemocratic and ultimately unconstitutional agreement for Dr Mahathir Mohamad to step down and for Anwar Ibrahim to take over as prime minister in an uncertain “year or two”.
If we are to go back to the original Permatang Pauh Declaration, then the “reformasi” to implement sweeping reforms in governance is already well underway, and it is now up to the elected representatives to draft policies, implement them and continue to monitor the new government.
In a brief interview with TRT World, Nurul Izzah was questioned about the possible formation of a “family dynasty” and concerns about nepotism if both her parents led the country.
“Anwar spent years in prison and at the end of the day, we are concerned about the reform movement. And whoever becomes prime minister, my job, the youth’s job, is to make sure the prime minister toes the line of the reform agenda” she added, reaffirming her responsibility to serve the people.
On the night of his release from imprisonment, Anwar attended a celebration rally and again spoke of reformasi just like before. One wonders if the agenda has ever been clearly defined or does it simply take on the flavour of its time, bending to the need of whoever wielding it? Is the reformasi movement now nothing more than a personal (or now familial) charge towards the seat of power?
Anwar has clearly stated his intention to return to active politics by contesting in a by-election at year’s end in a “safe seat”. This poses numerous problems, as listed below:
The naming of a ‘next prime minister’ clearly undermines the position and authority of the current prime minister, especially when the transition is only vaguely established as “in a year or two”. The only person qualified to succeed a prime minister should be his deputy unless he is subjected to a vote-of-no-confidence in Parliament.
Expecting an elected representative (wakil rakyat) to step down would be a slap to the face of democracy and to voters of that constituency and to all Malaysians regardless if it is his own daughter (Permatang Pauh) or wife (Pandan, who is also the current deputy prime minister).
In case there is a by-election, and Anwar returns as a member of Parliament, would the DPM then be expected to step down to make way for a seat in the Cabinet? If not, then will the prime minister step down immediately and Malaysia is to be helmed by a husband-and-wife team?
The ‘revolution’ of May 9 was a display of maturity from both sides of the divide. It was then or never, and everyone knew it. Opposition leaders put aside their differences and sang the same tune, while Malaysians took the leap of faith to put a self-professed dictator back in the driver’s seat.
If critics Harapan’s campaign were quick to single out the return of Mahathir as a major step backwards for the country, then they should be very concerned about the way Anwar Ibrahim is being ushered towards the premiership.
The only ‘clean’ way forward is to let the elected PM see his term to completion, and for Anwar to lead the coalition to victory as a candidate and opposition leader in the next general elections.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.