PETALING JAYA: A Sabah-based NGO’s endorsement of Anwar Ibrahim as the next prime minister has prompted two political analysts to speculate that the PKR president will be able to increase goodwill between Peninsular Malaysia and the East Malaysian states when he attains the position.
Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said the people of Sabah and Sarawak seemed to have confidence in Anwar’s ability to resolve the issue of compliance with the 1963 Malaysia Agreement, while Azmi Hassan of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia spoke of Anwar’s record of bringing together people of different races and diverse political persuasions.
They were commenting on remarks made yesterday by United Sabah Bajau Organisation (Usbo) president Pandikar Aman Mulia and adviser Salleh Said Keruak.
Speaking at a press conference in Kota Belud, Pandikar hailed Anwar as a defender of equality between East and West Malaysia and Salleh said he was “on the right track to saving Malaysia”.
Azman said comments made by the two showed they believed Anwar, as prime minister, would bring about positive changes in the political, economic and social realms.
He told FMT the two Usbo leaders weren’t the only people who thought so.
“Many analyses and surveys show confidence in Anwar’s ability to unite the country,” he said.
Azmi made reference to Anwar’s leadership of PKR as evidence of his ability to unite the Malaysian races and his bringing together of his party, PAS and DAP under a now defunct coalition as proof of his political acumen.
“And with both Borneo states feeling very alienated from the peninsula, I think Pandikar’s opinion makes a lot of sense,” he said in reference to the Usbo president’s remark that he saw Anwar as the “last samurai” who would defend equality of status between Peninsular Malaysia and the two states.
He also said it would be a good idea for Anwar to initiate a formal alliance between Usbo and PKR or Pakatan Harapan (PH).
But Azman disagreed, saying it was important for Anwar to preserve political integrity.
“Pandikar and Salleh can apologise to Anwar for being vocal critics of Anwar before this and Anwar can forgive them,” he said. “But that is not a licence for them to ask to enter PKR or PH.”
Azman also said he had confidence in Anwar’s ability to deal with PAS and Umno because of his influence with the grassroots of both parties.
“His charisma charms not only the Malays and other Bumiputeras, but also the Chinese and Indian communities,” he added.