“Give Anwar a chance, Malaysia!”

MANY people out there who are expecting instant reforms from Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim are left disappointed when these reforms did not come as fast as they had expected.

While there is nothing wrong with having grandiose expectations, Anwar must be given a reasonable time frame to do his job.

The Tambun MP is merely prime minister for seven months, and it is simply unreasonable to expect reforms to be completed within a short period of time.

If Malaysians can tolerate the twice former prime minister Mahathir Mohammed for first 22 years and later for 22 months, surely Anwar should be given at least one full term to deliver the reforms in various areas.

I agree there is a lot of expectations not just in Malaysia but outside the country for Anwar to steer the country out of the present doldrums brought about by the past governments.

It is not that he should not be criticised but surely an early definitive assessment of his role is a bit premature at this juncture.

It is not that the present unity government is run by a single party or coalition that is intact. What we have is a coalition of coalitions, formed under difficult circumstances in the aftermath of the last general election.

Anwar might have the majority of parliamentary support, but managing the coalition of coalitions is not necessarily an easy task.

The constant attacks on Anwar and the unity government by those in the opposition on the basis of race and religion presents a formidable task for the government.

I believe that the unity government is taking reforms seriously, but whether it has introduced the much-needed reforms is another matter altogether.

Some of the inherited obnoxious laws are still in place, and it is not that Anwar does not want to remove or amend the offensive sections or parts but perhaps the time is still not right to do so.

Government stability is important in ensuring its continuity and at the same ensuring basic economic and social benefits are provided to the people, particularly those in the B40 category.

Anwar has waited 30 years to become the prime minister with his chances being deliberately and maliciously thwarted by none other than former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Mahathir, at the ripe old age of 98 is constantly plotting the overthrow of Anwar either by calling him a DAP puppet or using the Malay Proclamation to say that Anwar has failed the Malays.

Mahathir, given his politics of selective memory, has refused to acknowledge that despite being prime minister for so many years, he had failed not only the Malays but all Malaysians as well.

It does not need to be reiterated as to who the actual beneficiaries of Mahathir’s economic policies are.

Who else if not Mahathir who had used the Malay racist agenda for the benefit of the few instead of uplifting the Malays?

Anwar is not a superhuman prime minister who can eradicate corruption overnight, and acknowledging the elephant in the room and vigorously campaigning against the scourge is a good step forward.

I don’t think any prime minister in the past had placed so much weight to go after the corrupted as Anwar had in the past few months.

Culprits behind government instability

(Pic credit: FMT)

The principal people behind Anwar’s vehement opposition is none other than Mahathir, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin and Tan Sri Abdul Hadi Awang who are also responsible for creating so much political mess in the past.

Corruption did not emerge overnight after Anwar assumed power; it has been there since Mahathir’s time, if not before but it is just that corruption was not seen as a problem by those that came after him.

Now, Anwar is being blamed for the state of the economy, with drops in export, depreciation of the currency, capital outflow, sluggish stock market and the rising poverty level being pointed out as his inability to govern the country.

I doubt Anwar dismisses these problems as figments of the opposition’s imagination as tthey are real problems that need real solutions.

While solutions are sought after by strengthening the economy and the financial system, there is no quick fix to them.

It is argued that if Anwar fails to rejuvenate the economy, stabilise the ringgit and increase foreign investments, among others, the opposition might capitalise on the fact that the government is not performing.

I don’t think I agree with the argument that Anwar’s failure to fix the country’s economy will unwittingly strengthen the opposition which seems to be a drowning person willing to clutch at straws to make political leeway.

In fact, Mahathir and Muhyiddin joining forces to bring down the Anwar government speaks volumes about the marriage of convenience between desperate political leaders.

Having said that, Anwar should be judged by his present performance in office and not on the basis of some myth about his personality.

If Mahathir was given 22 years and later 22 months, surely Anwar deserves at least one full term for him to be fairly judged. – July 6, 2023


Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the DAP state assemblyman for Perai. He is also Deputy Chief Minister II of Penang.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.


Main pic credit: Reuters


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