Time to give Anwar Ibrahim some credit

I am writing this to support Anwar Ibrahim, even though I am no big fan of his. A year of Pakatan Harapan’s rule has made me no fan of any politician any more. I am writing purely from a “fairness” point of view.

For some reason, we always love to hammer Anwar as being scheming, impatient, treacherous and even parochial or racist. Somehow, we always harbour doubts about him becoming the prime minister of this country.

Despite PH’s victory in the 14th general election, some have argued that he is not destined to become the number one.

If we have not noticed, Anwar Ibrahim has always fought his battle from a disadvantaged position. He has never fought his political enemies as an incumbent in power. He fought Dr Mahathir Mohamad after he was sacked from the government and he fought the successive PMs when he was in opposition.

Now, despite PH’s victory, he is fighting again from a helpless position. He and many of his trusted lieutenants are not even in the Cabinet. On the contrary, those within his party, known to challenge or disagree with him, have been appointed to key Cabinet positions as well as other key institutions of government.

We appreciate the contributions of Mahathir and PPBM in providing the last-minute swing to victory. But I don’t think we can ever ignore the role of Anwar in galvanising the Reformasi movement, from Pakatan Rakyat to Pakatan Harapan, despite him being in and out of prison over a span of two decades.

I think those people asking him to retire and fade away should really be a little more circumspect.

Today, despite his leadership and contributions, he is made to beg for support and unity, not just among PH component parties but also within his own PKR, now saddled with factions, perhaps in part due to people in a hurry to replace him.

We like to describe Anwar as being impatient and ambitious as if other politicians are not. But have we realised that Mahathir has become PM for the second time while Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Najib Razak, both ranked more junior than Anwar in Umno and politics, have come and gone?

We love to label Anwar as being in a hurry when he has been waiting for two decades. Seriously, how long more are we expecting him to wait?

We can’t be sure Anwar will be a better PM going forward. But we knew the performance of Abdullah, Najib and Mahathir even though Mahathir’s latest’s second term as PM is still unfolding. Is there anything for us to shout about?

I do not know when Mahathir will retire, but I think it is about time for us to see what new vision and impetus Anwar can bring to this country. I have not given up hope yet.

TK Chua is an FMT reader.

The views expressed by the writer do not necessarily reflect those of FMT.