Triumphant “Bossku effect” lifts PN’s hope on its very own “Abah wave”

IF THERE is one thing that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim should be wary of in the unity government’s quest to clamp down on crooks that have drained the nation’s coffers, it is the “Bossku effect” that has portrayed now-incarcerated former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak as a national hero rather than a villain.

To put such reality in the current context, charging more corrupt Perikatan Nasional (PN) key leaders before the state polls could backfire at best, instead of the common assumption that the effect would be greater in discrediting the entire PN coalition.

“We saw the ‘Bossku effect’ with Najib during past election campaigns. People came out to see him like an anti-hero. They were attracted to him as a curiosity, a politically persecuted man or a crook,” observed ‘expatriate’ political commentator Murray Hunter.

Murray Hunter

“However, whatever this attraction was, it seemed to translate into votes for UMNO in Johor last year. Muhyiddin and company may go to the campaign claiming political persecution. If they can capture this ‘Bossku effect’, the charges against Muhyiddin and company could politically backfire upon parties in the unity government.”

Hunter who is familiar with the Malaysian political scene further noted that this could be very much the case among many of the Malay communities, which may potentially play a major factor in the coming elections.

“So, the big question to be answered here: has the Anwar administration given Muhyiddin ammunition to use in the coming state elections to PN’s advantage?” asked the Australia-born political observer who has made Malaysia his home in an opinion editorial that appears in the Sin Chew Daily portal.

“Shouldn’t charges against Muhyiddin and company wait until after the elections? That would have robbed Muhyiddin of being able to claim he has been politically persecuted. It would have only been a few months to wait before he could have been charged.”

Delving further into the matter, Hunter argued that instead of denting PN’s popularity in the upcoming state elections in Kedah, Negeri Sembilan, Penang, Selangor, Kelantan and Terengganu, PN’s “Abah wave” effect “could see an even more motivated PN support base coming out to vote”.

“The danger for the unity parties is that the Malay grassroots could see this as not an attack on Muhyiddin but an attack on Islam! Abdul Hadi Awang will be sure to take up these narratives. This could be one of the major factors in the coming state elections,” added the former associate professor at Universiti Malaysia Perlis. – March 15, 2023

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