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Healthy competition

  • It is hoped that Pakatan will be able to compete healthily with BN.

Sin Chew Daily

It is not easy for Pakatan Harapan to eventually come out with a top leadership line-up, and its rivals are harping on the questions who the real leader is and who has the biggest power, brushing aside the ruling agenda published by the pact.

It is of critical importance whether the new leadership structure will be able to exert its functionality and propel the organization forward towards Putrajaya, and the helmsman will have a crucial role to play in leading the organization towards this end.

So, who is Pakatan's commander-in-chief? Is it de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim? Chairman Mahathir Mohamad? Or president Wan Azizah?

PPBM president Muhyiddin Yassin has said that the Pakatan Harapan constitution has specified the job duties of the top three office holders: de facto leader will assume the role of advisor; the chairman will chair the Pakatan meetings and the president will assist the chairman. In other words, Mahathir will still be the most powerful among the three.

If what Muhyiddin says is true, such an arrangement is understandable.

Although Anwar is the de facto leader, he is still behind bars and consequently unable to exercise whatsoever power he has been given. We still require someone from outside to carry out the duties.

While Wan Azizah enjoys broader support, including from DAP, she lacks political acumen and her ability to lead is no match for Mahathir.

With decades of rich political experiences, Mahathir should be able to help Pakatan make the right judgment at the most critical hours.

As such, he should be a better person to chair Pakatan's meetings than Wan Azizah.

However, as the wife of Anwar Ibrahim, Kak Wan should be given more power than Mahathir in implementing the pact's policies, and should be assisted by the deputy and vice presidents.

Pakatan needs Mahathir's strongman image to get Umno members to change side while luring more Malay voters and offsetting the impact of PAS' departure.

As a result, he should be at the forefront when it comes to strategy planning, although it will be a different question altogether whether he will run in the next general election.

Having led Umno for 22 years, Mahathir knows the Umno culture inside out, and has wielded powerful influences among more senior rural folks. Like it or not, there isn't a better person than him.

That said, given his mixed records in the past, Mahathir could be a push factor to discourage some of the non-Malay voters. He has to be more persuasive in his reconciliation with Anwar. Besides, contradictions among component parties will also erode public confidence.

The top Pakatan leadership will need time to work together to counter BN/Umno in a bid to establish the needed credibility to form an alternative government.

The attitude of some Pakatan leaders must also be changed. They should prioritize the national reform agenda instead of insisting to install Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister. They should put the interest of people first before they can win the hearts of voters.

Meanwhile, the "transitional PM" issue is also absurd. The 2014 "Kajang Move" has dented PKR's credibility and the mistake should be avoided at all costs this time. The choice of prime minster should be decided by Pakatan based on the representation and support rate of individual parties.

Pakatan has proposed six major goals to be accomplished within the first 100 days of forming the government. Basically it encompasses the national reform agenda but there are certain mistakes during Mahathir's time that need to be reversed, including the restoration of the status of the country's laws, legal reforms and abuse of power by government agencies.

The Federal Constitution was amended several times during Mahathir's time, destroying the rule of law spirit and legal independence while infinitely expanding the powers of the executive branch. As a result, public institutions have been abused by the government today.

If Mahathir is serious about reforming the country, he must first admit his past misdeeds and tender a sincere apology to all Malaysians.

As for economic stimulation, Pakatan's solutions have not been comprehensive enough, promising only the abolition of GST, stabilizing fuel prices and lessening the burden of the people without providing solutions to transform the national economy, lift the local currency and slash the government's operating expenses.

Given the current state of corruption, Pakatan will not achieve its graft-busting goals without overhauling the entire system.

Anyway, limiting the tenure of prime minister to not more than two terms is a move in the right direction.

It is hoped that with the release of the new leadership line-up, Pakatan will be able to compete healthily with BN.

The national reform agenda can only be initiated if they stop comparing their weaknesses.



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