With majority claim, Anwar’s credibility on the line

Opposition leader’s gamble has also caused cracks within Pakatan, observers add

(The Vibes) – Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim risks destroying his credibility and that of Pakatan Harapan if his claim of having a “strong, formidable and convincing” majority turns out to be fictitious, said political observers.

The opposition leader triggered fresh political drama on September 23, when he organised a press conference to announce that he has the numbers to topple Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s government.

Anwar is now awaiting an audience with Yang di-Pertuan Agong Al-Sultan Abdullah Ri’ayatuddin Al-Mustafa Billah Shah, who was recently discharged from hospital.

National Council of Professors senior fellow Prof Jeniri Amir is among the analysts who are sceptical of the PKR president’s motives, citing a similar move in 2008.

Back then, Anwar claimed to have majority support to oust the administration led by Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. However, nothing came out of it.

This time, “Anwar’s reputation and integrity is at stake”, Jeniri told The Vibes.

“His claim (of enjoying majority support) is not something trivial. It has a very serious implication for our political and economic development, especially when you bring the palace into the picture.”

He warned that if Anwar fails to prove his claim, “it will only aggravate his reputation”.

Ever since the Port Dickson MP’s announcement, the scuttlebutt on which lawmakers are backing him has been rife.

The Vibes has reported that 15 Umno MPs are in Anwar’s corner, but this has been contested by the Malay party’s leaders.

Muhyiddin’s allies in Perikatan Nasional, including Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS), have thrown their weight behind the prime minister amid the tumult.

These events have put a strain on PKR’s relationship with its partners, especially DAP, said Jeniri.

“Even now, DAP seems to have more questions than answers. They even claimed that they had no knowledge of Anwar’s plans. I’m not sure how things will pan out within PH.”

The bigger picture, however, is Anwar’s political struggle, said Universiti Malaya’s Prof Dr Awang Azman Awang Pawi.

“If he fails to prove he has the numbers, his 20-plus years of political struggle will be for nothing. I feel like he is gambling his reputation here.

“Worse, this trust deficit will also affect PKR in the eyes of the public. It’s a risky game Anwar is playing.”

Should Anwar’s gambit fail, his position in the party will likely not be compromised, but he will have to scuttle his bid to become prime minister, said the academic.

“At the moment, it is hard to tell who is telling the truth, whether it is Anwar or the denials issued by Umno and GPS MPs.

“Whatever the case, we should wait and see when the truth comes out.”