THE ongoing feud between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Kedah Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Muhammad Sanusi Md Noor, if left unchecked, can affect both parties while leaving the rakyat caught in the crossfire.
Nusantara Academy for Strategic Research senior fellow Dr Azmi Hassan, speaking to Utusan Malaysia, questioned the widely-publicised nature of the Anwar-Sanusi conflict when Anwar, who is also the Pakatan Harapan (Pakatan) chairman, did not have major problems with the Menteri Besars from Terengganu and Kelantan.
He said differing political parties on the state and federal level should not be used as a reason that leads to feuds.
“This is why we need to see this from the Kedah Menteri Besar’s perspective whereby it is said that he needs to be more diplomatic and not say something casually and off the cuff even if he is simply stating the facts,” Azmi opined, adding that there are certain things that should not be announced ‘publicly’.
“This [feud with the Kedah Menteri Besar] would not be surprising if the Prime Minister also has issues with the Terengganu and Kelantan Menteri Besars but this is not the case. Therefore, Sanusi needs to think of the interests of the people and his state first.”
It was previously reported that the dispute between the two leaders continue to dominate headlines long after the 15th general election (GE15).
On the Anwar-Sanusi feud, the Malay daily noted that two leaders should put aside their differences and work together closely for the sake of the people despite the difference in political ideologies.
This was echoed by Universiti Kebangsaaan Malaysia (UKM) Associate Prof Dr Salawati Mat Basir who acknowledged that while the feud should have ended, there is also a bias as both the federal government and the state government are controlled by different political coalitions.
Salawati further pointed out that both leaders’ egos had resulted not only in a decline in popularity for both leaders but had also affected the rakyat as both their positions in the government requires them to work closely together.
“By getting involved in a feud with a Menteri Besar from a state where the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition is well-received by the people, the Prime Minister risks tarnishing his image and this could affect the support for him and the Pakatan coalition in the Kedah state polls,” she told the Malay daily.
“At the same time, Sanusi’s involvement in the feud as Menteri Besar could also affect Kedah because Anwar is the leader of the present government and also the Prime Minister.
“Much of the aid [for Kedah] comes from the federal government, and this could affect the state in various ways, including investments and state budget should the feud be prolonged.”
Last year, Anwar filed a defamation lawsuit against Sanusi over the latter’s statements during a GE15 election campaign speech around Nov 13 during the “PN Best Tambun Tour” while supporting PN’s Tambun candidate and then incumbent, Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu.
In the offending speech, Sanusi urged Tambun voters to not vote for Anwar as an election candidate, and allegedly made false and defamatory remarks.
Anwar alleged that Sanusi’s remarks implied that he had abused his powers as an MP, was deceitful, a traitor, a hypocrite, and not a good Muslim.
In his defence last month, Sanusi said his remarks on Anwar were based on matters which were derived from public records going back to 1998 when he was sacked from the government.
Anwar had said the defamation suit filed against Sanusi would not affect cooperation between the Kedah and federal governments.
Meanwhile, Sanusi recently claimed that he has been barred from attending events organised by the federal government, including the Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition (LIMA) in May. – April 3, 2023