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Friday, August 4, 2017

Whither reform agenda if Mahathir becomes PM?

Activist Haris Ibrahim says the PPBM chief has shown that he is not a reformist.
Haris-Ibrahim_mahathir_600
PETALING JAYA: A political activist has voiced concern that the reform agenda of the opposition may be set back if PPBM chairman Mahathir Mohamad is chosen as prime minister in the event that Pakatan Harapan wins the coming general election.
Haris Ibrahim, a longtime advocate of political reform, told FMT it was becoming more and more likely that Mahathir would be prime minister again should Barisan Nasional be toppled.
He was commenting on a recent assessment of Malaysia’s political situation by Global Risk Insights, a publication for political risk news and analysis founded at the London School of Economics.
According to the assessment, Mahathir’s leadership of Pakatan and the fallout from the 1MDB affair could turn the tide against BN in the 14th general election.
Speaking to FMT, Haris said it appeared that Pakatan had no choice but to appoint Mahathir as prime minister since the preferred opposition choice for the post, Anwar Ibrahim, would still be in jail at the time the election results are announced.
The pardon process that would see Anwar released – “if at all possible” – would take some time, he said.
“With that in mind, are we talking about a second round of a Mahathir premiership?”
He said he was “thrilled” at the idea of BN being brought down, but added that the introduction of reforms was more important to him.
“If we don’t have a reformist at the helm, and instead have someone who still cannot acknowledge that his 22 years of rule inflicted great damage on our institutions, then we won’t have those reforms.”
Haris said Mahathir’s refusal to take responsibility for the alleged crippling of the judiciary was a clear indication that he was not a reformist.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia associate professor Faisal S Hazis
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia associate professor Faisal S Hazis
Meanwhile, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia associate professor Faisal S Hazis told FMT that Mahathir was playing an important role as someone who could rope in new support from rural Malays for Pakatan.
He added that the 1MDB scandal provided an opportunity for the opposition bloc to hold on to the support it already had among the urban voters.
However, he rejected the notion that these two factors were enough to bring down the BN government.
“Mahathir and 1MDB are important, but these two factors alone are not enough if the opposition still lacks a rural Malay narrative and if the opposition fails to form a solid coalition that ensures straight fights going into the next election,” he said. - FMT

1 comment:

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