Analysts: Hadi as PM is a moot issue

Pundits shrug of calls at PAS muktamar as having little importance.

Patrick Lee, FMT

Political pundits attach little importance to calls for PAS President Abdul Hadi Awang to become Malaysia’s next prime minister.

At least four prominent analysts seem agreed that it will not affect Pakatan Rakyat’s solidarity. They said the opposition alliance had firmly decided on Anwar Ibrahim’s premiership even if some PAS members were averse to the idea.

“This will not cause a rift in Pakatan because its leadership has formally agreed that Anwar will be picked as PM,” said James Chin, a professor at Monash University.

Chin was referring to the repeated endorsement of Abdul Hadi as premier-in-waiting during last weekend’s PAS muktamar.

Delegates who made the call included those of PAS’s Ulama wing.

Independent analyst Khoo Kay Peng said the PAS leader was never in the running for the prime minister’s position.

“I don’t think this will be taken seriously, unless it is endorsed by the highest of PAS’s leadership,” he said.

Furthermore, he added, Abdul Hadi might not make a better PM than Anwar, given their large differences in experience and international image.

He noted that Anwar had held various ministerial posts, including that of deputy prime minister.

Denison Jayasooria, a research fellow at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said having a well-balanced federal cabinet was more important than deciding who should be PM.

He also advised Pakatan to focus more on a comprehensive policy direction rather than on the PM’s position.

Universiti Malaya’s Azmi Sharom said the question was premature and would not matter if Pakatan were to lose the coming general election.

He pointed out that a potential PM needed first to win a seat, win the confidence of the majority of Parliament and have the endorsement of the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.

He said that there was no way, at present, of knowing whether either Anwar or Abdul Hadi would win a seat in the 13th general election.