LETTER | I have read the rhetoric from both sides.
Before Deputy Defence Minister Liew Chin Tong voiced his opinion on the Port Dickson by-election, I had wanted to write this comment piece. I agree with Liew that in order for the transition of power from Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad to his appointed successor Anwar Ibrahim to take place smoothly, Anwar has to be elected in as a member of Parliament first.
I would say that the Port Dickson move is not only necessary, but also important. Like it or not, if it had been Edmund Santhara’s Segamat constituency, William Leong’s Selayang constituency or even Johari Abdul’s Sungai Petani constituency, the attack on Anwar’s move would be the same.
Even when Johari first volunteered his seat, he was attacked from all sides. There is no assurance, that even if it had been the Selayang or Segamat constituency, there would not be any form of attack against Anwar’s move.
BN cybertroopers and propagandists are actively looking for any opportunity to attack. This is why we, as civilians, have to be watchful.
I do agree with former Bar Council chairperson Ambiga Sreenevasan that if anyone were to let go their seats for Anwar, it should have been his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail or their daughter, Nurul Izzah.
However, one needs to understand that Wan Azizah is currently the deputy prime minister and the Pandan constituency which she holds is not easily winnable, given that Pandan has always been an MCA stronghold until 2013.
By vacating her seat, she would have to immediately step down as deputy prime minister. My question is: What if Anwar does not win the Pandan seat?
As for Nurul Izzah who is holding on to Permatang Pauh, a constituency formerly held by Anwar, I cannot think of any good reason why she could not have vacated the seat except that she has built a strong bond with the constituents and Permatang Pauh voters did not want to be called upon again to participate in another election.
Whatever it is, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad is 93 years old, and with due respect to his age, anything can happen to him. Assuming that he has to step down due to poor health, there would be a vacuum if Anwar is not ready to take his place.
Wan Azizah would not make a good prime minister given that, even on the issue of the much frowned-upon child marriage, she did not appear to be capable of making a good decision. Having Anwar back in Parliament would ensure that there is a smooth transition of power in the Pakatan Harapan government.
Unless one wishes to wait for a vacancy involving a lawmaker’s death, there is very little choice but for PKR to engineer a by-election for Anwar.
With this, I hope some good sense will prevail eventually. For now, I would rather let the dust settle on the “Port Dickson move” and open the channel for Anwar to return to Parliament.
However, if Anwar continues to operate in the “Old Malaysia” mindset, we civilians will remind him that the victory was not won by a bunch of politicians, but by the people who voted for them.
If today we can vote for Pakatan Harapan, tomorrow we can also throw them out. My only concern is that when that happens, the culprits behind the 1MDB scandal will go scot-free.
I hope that the opposition will start reforming itself instead of still playing the old politics of race, religion and royalty, which I see Anwar is in danger of reverting to after speaking out against it in the past.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.