What options do Anwar have to halt the PN juggernaut?
Anwar knows the power of the ethnic and religious narrative of PN. But he is helpless in doing the right thing because UMNO is the main target of the attack mounted by PN. The bulk of the ethnic and religious attack is directed towards UMNO and DAP.
Focus Malaysia) – WHAT can Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim do to control and manage the political damage inflicted by Perikatan Nasional (PN) on the unity government?
As predicted, PN emerged the winner in the elections race. PH-BN might have retained control of the three states but the inroads made by PN was conspicuous.
UMNO was wiped out in Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu. Apart from Negri Sembilan, UMNO’s performance was unimpressive in Penang and Selangor.
The question foremost in the minds of many in the country is whether Anwar can control the damage inflicted by PN. More ominous is the fact that come the 16th General Election (GE16) in 2027 PN might be serious contender for power in Putrajaya.
The state elections were indeed a litmus test for PH-BN. There is no end of suggestions to Anwar that he must turn things around before it is too late.
But the million-dollar question is what is Anwar going to do to halt the PN juggernaut? Unfortunately, many analysts rather than focusing on the cultural realm to contain the PN, have sought to suggest economic changes to assist the poor and the needy.
Economic changes are important not only to revive the sluggish financial system but to improve benefits to the ordinary people.
The underlying principle is that ordinary people might not be ideologically pre-disposed but will support the government in power if their lives improve in terms getting better income and the provision of educational opportunities for their children.
Think outside the box
Such a perspective might be true in some situations but not in all. In country like Malaysia, the polarised ethnic and religious situation might override concerns of material existence.
Kelantan is considered one of the poorest states in the country on material grounds yet there is not let up on the support for PAS. Similar situation also arises in Kedah and Terengganu.
It is not that Anwar should let down his economic guard to migrate to the cultural and the ideological realms. The battle cry now is for the hearts and minds of the Malays.
I don’t think food on the table and money in their pockets would influence them to gravitate towards the unity government. Malay support for the PN and non-support for the PH-BN is complex and nuanced.