With old guard bowing out, how will Barisan and Pakatan change?


(TMI) – Old guards in Malaysia’s political parties are slowly leaving the scene paving the way for younger leaders to come forward, but between the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) and the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (PR), the pace of rejuvenation differs vastly.

Both sides have hugely respected and influential stalwarts but the number has dwindled down to one each – in BN, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah is the sole veteran still in active politics as Gua Musang MP and in PR, Gelang Patah MP Lim Kit Siang is still DAP adviser.

In PR, there is potential now for younger leaders to rise and develop even more responsibilities with the passing of PAS’s Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and DAP’s Karpal Singh, as well as the incarceration of PKR de factor leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

In BN, party’s top posts are filled with second-generation leaders, such as Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Umno president and prime minister, and Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, an Umno vice-president and defence minister.

But the crucial difference between the two coalitions was that with BN, the party’s rejuvenation process seems to have come to an abrupt stop with Najib’s generation, while in PR, younger leaders continue to join the coalition and rise up the ranks, analysts said.

“In PR, the passing of Nik Aziz and Anwar’s incarceration do give room for new leaders to come forward, like PKR’s Mohamed Azmin Ali, Nurul Izzah Anwar and Rafizi Ramli,” Ibrahim Suffian, the director of independent pollster Merdeka Centre, told The Malaysian Insider, referring to PAS spiritual adviser Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat and opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

“But in BN, although there is some semblance of desire for change and to allow younger leaders to come forward, the party is still largely in the hands of longstanding leaders and the process of transition is not happening,” he said.

He said that while PR’s doors have always been open for new blood to come forward, the same could not be said for BN, where power among the incumbent leaders was guarded jealously and former politicians still held sway over the party.

“BN did try to field younger candidates in the last general election, but they all lost out.

“At this point, the only way younger leaders would play an active role in the party is for BN to lose the elections.

“The older leaders who occupy the powerful positions are working very hard to keep the power in their hands,” said Ibrahim.

On the other hand, PR was more open to younger talent because it was still trying to break BN’s stranglehold on power.

“This leads to more changes in leadership, especially the lower- and middle-party structure. I think this increases the potential for young people to be given a chance to move forward.”

Read more at: http://www.themalaysianinsider.com/malaysia/article/with-old-guards-bowing-out-how-will-bn-and-pakatan-change