Power over principle? Anwar’s biggest gamble yet

If it turns out to be a miscalculation, it may well be Anwar’s political death knell. 

Habhajan Singh, The Malaysian Reserve

If the govt delivers, Anwar’s deft move in partnering Zahid may be a forerunner to a truly multicultural and multiracial politics

HE GOT it, finally. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim became the prime minister (PM) of Malaysia, a position that eluded him for the longest time. But did he trade principles for power to step into the nation’s top political post?

Just as how two-time PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad features in national politics, Anwar has been part of Malaysia’s story from his days as a rebellious student leader.

The Nov 19, 2022 general election, the 15th for the nation (GE15), returned a hung Parliament. There were no clear winners. Anwar’s Pakatan Harapan (PH) emerged as the coalition with the largest number of seats, but still a distance away from an outright majority in the Parliament of 222 lawmakers.

In the heat of negotiations, at one point, it seemed it was game over for Anwar. At a press conference, Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) chief Tan Sri Abang Johari Openg announced that the coalition was backing Perikatan Nasional (PN) led by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yasin. At that moment, it was suggested that Barisan Nasional (BN) was part of the equation. But the twist and turn of the making of the Malaysian government continued when Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi clarified that BN had yet to make a decision. In the end, the BN chairman and Umno president opted to throw his lot with PH.

PH embracing archnemesis BN was no easy swallow for both sides. If you had mooted the idea before the polls, many would have laughed, some hysterically even. They would remind you of Zahid’s constant and consistent “No Anwar, no DAP” sloganeering. The PH side had vilified Zahid, who is facing a string of corruption-related charges in court, as the epitome of all that’s wrong in the country.

Yet, it happened.

“Move not unless you see an advantage,” says Sun Tzu, the Chinese military general and philosopher traditionally credited as the author of The Art of War.

So, why did Anwar make that move? Did he and his team of advisors undertake a thorough risk-reward analysis before throwing their lot with the once perceived devil?

Read more here