Analysis: Charm offensive for support, defence against defections — it’s total politics for Malaysia PM Anwar after dismal state polls

The extent of grounds made by the opposition at Malaysia’s state elections means Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim will have to step up his charm offensive in winning back the Malay vote, while also defending more tightly against potential defections within his ruling coalition, say analysts.

(CNA) – While Mr Anwar has tried to burnish his Islamic credentials and shore up Malay support since coming to power, observers tell CNA he now has to move the needle further, but not at the expense of alienating support from ethnic minorities that have been key behind his rise to power at Malaysia’s last general election.

They add that going forward, some moves by Mr Anwar could include the introduction of populist policies that will be accepted by all races, or a Cabinet reshuffle that better meets the needs of the people while still satisfying all parties in the unity government.

Stepping up his offensive and defensive game is a must-do for Mr Anwar, say analysts, as the opposition Perikatan Nasional (PN) is likely to ride the momentum from its strong performances to exact more defeats against the ruling coalition of Pakatan Harapan and Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) before the next general election.

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