COMMENT | Can Mahathir or Anwar rally the Harapan base?

S Thayaparan

15 Jun 2020, 12:36 am

Updated 3 months ago



“No man will ever bring out of that office the reputation which carries him into it. The honeymoon would be as short in that case as in any other, and its moments of ecstasy would be ransomed by years of torment and hatred.”

- Thomas Jefferson

COMMENT | One way or another, the longest political feud in Malaysian political history is ending. In this third and final instalment of the Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Anwar Ibrahim brawl, the DAP yet again has to contend with Umno’s original sin.

The former prime minister, as writer Jocelyn Tan rightly pointed out, is on a warpath and the press has been inundated with secret recordings, Mahathir's irony-free contempt for the system he helped create, statements from lackeys and of course the leaping of frogs from one camp to another.

Meanwhile, PKR leader Anwar attempts to burnish his Malay/Muslim credentials and blaming the lack of political will in Pakatan Harapan when it comes to egalitarian policies as “strategic missteps”, instead of acknowledging that the underlying paralysis of the coalition was the petty political infighting and lack of ideological foundation when it came to creating a new Malaysia.

The narratives that dominate the Harapan discourse are between the pro-Mahathir and pro-Anwar factions. The big question remains: can Harapan coalesce around the eventual chosen one? Will the Harapan base, already apathetic and riven with factional politics, turn out to vote regardless of who is chosen? Can the DAP make the sell that either leader will create a “New Malaysia reboot” after the spectacular implosion of...

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