PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim could stand to gain more from focusing on his plans for the country while toning down on attacking his opponents, says former Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan.
Shahril said Anwar has been quite relentless in launching thinly veiled attacks on his political rivals, presenting them as “wealthy, corrupt and conspiratorial”.
He acknowledged the PKR president’s approach is logical since Perikatan Nasional had touted its “clean” tagline to win over Malay voters during the last general election.
“The trouble for Anwar is an incredulous public,” he said in a commentary published by the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.
“PN managed to paint the attacks as politically motivated, a task made easier considering that Anwar remains in bed with Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who himself faces court charges and has become the totemic figure of Umno’s troubled image among Malays.
“Perhaps the role that will serve Anwar best is one he is actually well-suited to play: inspiring, and providing economic direction, to a country that wants to feel good about itself again.
“He may have to take some gambles on policy, like subsidy reforms. But as the recent state polls indicate, he may yet gain by being more of a prime minister with a plan and less of a politician with an axe to grind.”
Shahril said announcements like the “Madani Economic Narrative” and Tesla setting up a regional headquarters in Malaysia have yet to define Anwar’s premiership.
He said Anwar, who is also the finance minister, will need to make some tough decisions to ensure strong economic stewardship.
The prime minister may have to reshuffle his Cabinet and trust his ministers more by delegating more tasks to them, he said.
“He may want to listen to younger minds whose ideas may be ever so slightly unfamiliar to his circle of wiser advisers.”