Anwar needs to address Malay as well non-Malay support
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim might face an unenviable task in getting the much needed Malay support. For all intents and purposes, starting with the last general elections in 2023, Malay support has drifted to PN.
The recent state elections merely confirmed that Malay support is with PN. Can Anwar, the head of PH-BN coalition and unity government reverse the trend?
Continuing with the present status-quo points to a grim situation when comes to the next elections, PH-BN would be devoid of Malay support.
The only support might emanate from the Chinese in the DAP as even Indians have begun their drift away from PH. If this is the case, there is no way that Anwar can even think of getting the Malay support. Even the fixed deposit non-Malay support might whither away.
However, given this pessimistic scenario, there are several options that Anwar can think of in resuscitating Malay support.
First, since the former prime minister Najib Razak who has been incarcerated enjoys support amongst the Malays, Anwar could seek a royal pardon for his early release.
This is the position of Umno as well. However, such a move might be fraught with difficulties. Royal pardon for Najib might alienate non-Malay support in the DAP or even those in the PKR.
Royal pardon takes time and it cannot be seen as political move to boost the political sagging political fortunes of Umno.
In fact, the effort to pardon Najib might undermine the legitimacy of the unity government.
Moreover, Najib might be popular figure in Umno, but I am not sure he continues to enjoy traction amongst the Malays in general.
Second, beefing up Malay support means also that PKR although a multi-racial party might have to turn towards the right to appease the Malays.
Since Umno itself is not in the position to do it, PKR might have to play a complementary role.
Of course, such move might alienate the non-Malays in the party because moving to the right might be at expense of the non-Malays.
Third, PH-BN alliance might not be the strength of the unity government but a political liability.
Sections of the electorate, both Malays and non-Malays have not accepted the “unholy” alliance between the DAP and Umno.
The top leaders might have come together for reasons of political expediency, but I am not sure of the rank and file.
Years of animosity and bitterness between DAP and Umno cannot be resolved overnight just for the sake of elections or for the unity government.
Fourth, if the above are not sufficient then Anwar needs to think of out of the box imaginatively and creatively.
Essentially, Anwar rather than going for quick fix to complicated political situation might want to engage in some form of political and societal engineering to reconfigure and realign the present membership in PH as well as BN.
By undertaking this bold exercise, Anwar can address the points of weakness and strengths of the component parties with PH-BN alliance.
The idea is not just to address the deficiency of Malay support but also to address the non-Malay support from being not straight jacketed.
If Malays abandon the unity government, then there is no guarantee that the non-Malays would not do the same.