Never idolise any leader, Anwar included

THIS is the best of advice we can give to ardent supporters of Malaysian 10th Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PMX).

Going by the maxim ‘nobody is perfect,’ Anwar has his own shortcomings as well. He may have mellowed down, but in his younger days, he was known to bang table to stress a point to the late Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim – the then Selangor menteri besar – that the latter’s position was the efforts PKR as a whole.

To err is human. Anwar’s supporters must allow Anwar room to make mistakes as he, too, is human. There is always room for improvement for even PMX.

The one mistake by disgraced former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak is the way he had boosted his ‘larger than life’ profile with his supporters making a hype of the moniker Bossku to the annoyance of the rest of us.

While it is obvious that people may see Anwar as the man of the hour, judging from the directive given during his recent trip to Kedah regarding huge billboards portraying his face, it is obvious that the PMX thinks this is excessive and a waste of public funds.

This raises the question how much was spent when Najib launched his 1Malaysia slogan whereby there were banners, buntings and billboards at every nook and corner of the country.

The 1Malaysia slogan was subsequently decimated without any explanation given although sources close to the former prime minister said it had its many shortfalls.

Although PMX has no objections in the past to have his portrait on book covers, spending public funds on such billboards does not augur well with persona.

Muslims – like Christians and Jews – are known to be careful not to turn anything or anyone into an “idol.” Anwar, being a pious Muslim, has made his stand clear about over usage of his portrait.

This, in itself, should send some shock waves to those who are still unashamedly using public funds to boost their own image which is often pepped with a lot of make-up just to look good. Anwar’s politics is not what the image makers seek to achieve for their rich clients.

He rather depends on the charisma as a leader who does not mince his words – something which has characterised his leadership since his younger days.

Humility par excellence

Some may say that it was merely for show’s sake that he was wearing a pair of sandals in his first week at work but Anwar being Anwar prefers to be remembered as someone who is down to earth, living a simple lifestyle and willing to identify himself with the people.

No quinoa, no luxurious watches. The same can be said of Anwar’s wife and former deputy PM Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail whom people will remember her for the Japanese-style hand fan. No expensive hairdo, no diamond rings.

Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail

People who are close to Kak Wan, going by her moniker, will be able to tell that she, too, has the motherly aura around her.

She does not treat her husband or her staff rudely, “Can I advise you something?” Like most wives of former PM, Kak Wan – which the exception of one who self-proclaimed herself as the First Lady of Malaysia (FLOM) – knows her position as wife of the PM and she knows how to respect her husband.

People in her constituency can readily relate about her willingness to address people’s woes, the latest being a retired social worker who needed the monthly subsistence from the Social Welfare Department.

This brings back fond memories of Bapa Malaysia Tunku Abdul Rahman who despite being the country’s first PM, enjoyed the simple things in life.

Now, probably in her 70s, Tunku’s cook Salmiah Md Isa still recalls his favourite dishes – sambal belacan, ikan masin goreng, gulai ikan (fish curry), gulai Siam and kailan goreng belacan. – May 6, 2023


Read prior articles in this series:

The collapse, collapse, collapse mantra that PN is capitalising on

Unity gov’t solid and strong despite chants of impending collapse

Man of the hour: Is Anwar’s anti-graft drive just a fad or a necessity in Madani Malaysia?

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