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“Give Anwar a chance” – Ramasamy

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COMMENT BY YB PROF DR P.RAMASAMY,
DEPUTY CHIEF MINISTER II, PENANG

“Give Anwar a chance”

There are those who expect instant reforms from Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim are disappointed. So much so, there are talks about demystifying the myth of Anwar.

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While it is nothing wrong to have grandiose expectations, Anwar must be given reasonable time framework to do his job. He is merely in the present post for seven months, it is unreasonable to expect reforms to be done within a short spate of time.

If Malaysians tolerated 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 that 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 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 the present unity government is run by an intact one party or coalition. What we have is a coalition of coalitions, formed under difficult circumstances in the aftermath of the last general elections.

Anwar might have the majority 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.

Some of the inherited obnoxious laws are still in place, it is not that Anwar doesn’t want to remove or amend the offensive sections or parts, perhaps the time might not have arrived.

The sources of instability are making things difficult to Anwar.
Government stability is important in ensuring its continuity and at the same ensuring basic economic and social benefits accrue to the people especially in the B40 category.

Anwar might have waited for 30 years to become the prime minister, his chances were deliberately and maliciously thwarted by none other than the former prime minister Mahathir, Anwar’s arch nemesis.

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

Mahathir given his politics of remembering or memory, refuses to acknowledge that despite long years as the prime minister, he miserably failed not the only the Malays but other Malaysians.
It need not to be reiterated, as to who the actual beneficiaries of the economic policies of Mahathir.

He used the Malay racist agenda for the benefit of the few not to uplift the Malays. Anwar is not a superhuman prime minster to eradicate corruption overnight.

At least he has acknowledged the elephant in the room to vigorously campaign against the scourge.I don’t think any prime minister in the past placed so much weight to go after the menace of corruption as Anwar done in the past few months.
The sluggish MACC has been reinvigorated to the extent to stem the menace.

Much remains to be done, the forces behind the present instability are making things difficult for Anwar or his government.
However, I do admit that Anwar needs a carefully and judiciously ensure government stability and simultaneously engage in the much needed reforms.

The principal persons behind the vehement opposition to Anwar, namely, Mahathir, Muhyiddin Yassin and Hadi Awang are those who responsible for the creation of political mess in the past.
Anwar inherited this political imbroglio after he became the prime minister in November 2022.

Corruption did not emerge overnight after Anwar assumed power, it has been there since the time of Mahathir and others. It is just that corruption was not seen as problem by Mahathir, Najib Razak and Muhyiddin and others.

In fact, corruption was seen as way to buy political support for government stability. Today, corruption has creeped to the extent its removal presents a mammoth task for Anwar.

Anwar has been blamed for the state of the economy. The drop in exports, depreciation of the currency, capital outflow, sluggish stock market and the rising poverty level are instances pointed out as Anwar’s inability to govern the country.

I don’t think Anwar dismisses them as the figment of the imagination of the opposition. They 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 not Anwar is not doing anything, but his efforts are not making the impact as expected, at least for the time being.

These problems are not the sole doing of Anwar himself, they have been inherited from the past. All the past prime ministers most notably Mahathir, Muhyiddin and Ismail Saberi have a share in the present economic and social problems.

Mahathir might talk in length about the neglect of the Malays, but he is part of the problem, definitely not a solution. Anwar’s move to give a more prominent role to JAKIM in the country’s policy making has been pounced upon by critics to say that he wants to go back to his Islamic days.

I am not sure about this and how much one can read in the passing commentary of Anwar on the future role of JAKIM. It might be tactical move, but whether there is a coherent Islamic agenda on the part of Anwar remains to be seen. I am willing to have an open mind on this matter.

It is argued that if Anwar fails to rejuvenate the economy, stabilise the ringgit, increase foreign investments and others, the opposition might capitalise on the non-performance of the government.

I am not sure whether I agree with the argument that Anwar’s failure to repair the economy might unwittingly strengthen the forced of the opposition in PN.

The opposition in Malaysia is like a drowning person ready to clutch even a straw to make political capital. If Mahathir and Muhyiddin could come together to bring down the government of Anwar, it speaks volumes of the marriage of convenience of desperate political leaders.

Anwar should be judged by his present performance in office, not on the basis of some myth about his personality. If Mahathir was given 22 years and later 22 months to perform or not to perform,
surely Anwar deserves the full one term to be judged.