Will young fight on or will PR call it quits?


Political analysts weigh in on whether Pakatan Rakyat has what it takes to soldier on now that their leader is behind bars.

Free Malaysia Today

There is much talk about the calibre of Pakatan Rakyat, now that their de facto leader is serving a prison term of five years for committing sodomy.

Losing his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat as well as being out of the race come the next general elections in 2018, some political analysts see this as a time for younger leaders to come out of under Anwar’s shadow and shine while others see it as the beginning of the end for opposition coalition.

Speaking to the Malay Mail Online, Professor Dr Oh Ei Sun, a senior fellow at the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, said there were many “pragmatic” leaders in the coalition who could very well take over the leadership spot left vacant by Anwar.

He said, “There is a whole new generation of young leaders to take over the helm of PR, and quite a lot of them are rather pragmatic, eyeing power in Putrajaya as ultimate goals and thus unlikely to splinter among themselves.”

He was also of the opinion that society had matured since Anwar’s days and were now placing more importance on policies rather than personalities.

“His (Anwar) charismatic appeal has largely waned, and it is a more mature electorate looking for substantive change, not attraction of personality,” the professor said, citing PKR deputy president and Selangor menteri besar Azman Ali as one leader who was accepted by both DAP and PAS.

Chief executive of Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) Wan Saiful Wan Jan was also optimistic that new leaders would emerge to strengthen the coalition and explained, “Anwar is the uniting figure for Pakatan but if they can turn their focus into something more sustainable, they can turn this to policies and ideas,” Malay Mail Online quoted him as saying.

He too cited Azmin Ali as a bright star and included PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli and DAP leaders Ong Kian Ming and Liew Chin Tong.