PETALING JAYA: A PKR MP has defended Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s recent criticism of Perikatan Nasional, saying accusations levelled by the opposition coalition’s leaders against him have been “unfair” and “slanderous”.
“If people attack Anwar from all fronts, surely he cannot stay silent.
“If he stays silent, people will believe what they (PN leaders) say over time, so he has to respond,” Pasir Gudang MP Hassan Karim told FMT.
The PKR MP was responding to comments by former Umno information chief Shahril Hamdan, who recently called for the prime minister to tone down his attacks on the opposition and focus instead on his plans for the country.
Hassan said he has always been “open” to PN’s criticism of Anwar.
However, he said, Shahril should also be fair to Anwar who, since coming into power, has had to deal with relentless attacks by various PN leaders which have been lacking in objectivity.
Despite this, Hassan said, the country’s economy remains Anwar’s top priority.
“We, as the government backbenchers, have asked him to focus on the economy and the recovery of people’s lives (from the Covid-19 pandemic), which the government has done,” he said.
In a commentary published by the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies last month, Shahril had said that Anwar would stand to gain more from focusing on his plans for the country.
He claimed that the prime minister has repeatedly aimed thinly veiled attacks at political rivals, presenting them as “wealthy, corrupt, and conspiratorial”.
Meanwhile, former DAP Bangi MP Ong Kian Ming said Anwar’s approach is understandable given that PN has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of his prime ministership from the very beginning, despite his appointment by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong.
Ong also said Anwar was now in a good position both politically and economically to deliver his administration’s governing narrative following the conclusion of the state polls last month.
Politically, he said, the unity government is expected to remain stable over the next four years.
Anwar should also take advantage of the uptick in foreign direct investments, which Ong said will likely continue due to ongoing tensions between the US and China.
“On the policy front, policies like the National Energy Transition Roadmap as well as the new Industrial Master Plan 2030 are being rolled out.
“These will be game changers in terms of providing the government momentum to show the industry economic direction and leadership,” he said.
Ong, a former deputy minister, advised Anwar to focus on political reforms and give Pakatan Harapan supporters confidence that the coalition has not lost sight of its ideals and remains focused on what they have fought for up to now.