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4:58pm 25/11/2022
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Anwar opens a new chapter in Malaysian politics
By:Sin Chew Daily

What is important now is for all parties to lay down their arms and work hand-in-hand to build a better country for all.

The curtain has fallen on the 15th general election. As no single political camp managed to win more than half of the seats, we were unable to have a new prime minister for several days, as the nation was plunged into a state of uncertainty for a brief period of time.

Several major political camps were busy negotiating and the process was a political drama full of unexpected turns, with ordinary citizens like us watching the drama unfold in awe.

It was PN chairman Muhyiddin Yassin who appeared as the forerunner in the PM race during the initial stage, but he was soon caught up by Anwar Ibrahim. And finally, the latter was the one to cross the finishing line and be appointed the country’s 10th prime minister.

The deadlock in the race between Anwar and Muhyiddin was because none was able to secure the support of more than half of the elected representatives. The crucial turning point took place on Wednesday night when the Umno supreme council met.

After Umno decided to join a unity government not led by PN, the balance started to tilt towards Anwar. Unexpected changes happened very quickly after that. Parties which had previously expressed their support for Muhyiddin now made dramatic U-turns in support of a unity government, a development that immediately caused Muhyiddin’s support rate to nosedive.

Anwar’s journey towards Putrajaya has been a very lengthy and tortuous one, and he should be commended for finally making it to the finishing line.

Prior to this, he had on several occasions claimed that he had the numbers, reigniting the hopes of his anxious supporters, but those claims later proved to be unsubstantiated. This time, he can eventually drive straight into Seri Perdana in Putrajaya!

Anwar’s appointment as prime minister marks an important milestone in the country’s political history. He is the first prime minister from a multiracial party. All his predecessors have come from monoracial parties: Umno and Bersatu.

Helming the federal administration as the chief of a multiracial party helps emancipate the country from the fetters of racism and opens a brand new chapter in the nation’s history.

There’s no honeymoon for Anwar after the swearing-in ceremony. There are simply too many problems that need the new government to handle right away.

Sure enough Anwar’s premiership should bring a complete close to political instability, but given the increasing polarization in domestic politics, as well as rampant race politics and hate politics, the pluralistic Malaysian society remains under menace. It is imperative for the new government to promote reconciliation and build bridges in shaping a healthy social climate through communication and dialouges.

In the meantime, we believe that political parties and their leaders could have also seen the reality that in our highly fragmented political environment today, they will need to make friends and not foes, and must avoid inciting public sentiment and create confrontation in their day-to-day operations.

Moderation should be the way forward, not intolerant zero sum game.

Additionally, with the global economic outlook remaining hazy and the war between Russia and Ukraine still very much alive, it is a tremendous challenge for the new government to deliver the country out of the current doldrums and spearhead the economic development against the backdrop of an array of hostile factors.

Malaysians, in particular the low and medium-income groups, have been persistently subjected to tremendous pressures. They have high expectations from the new government to help bring down the skyrocketing goods prices and relieve the burdens on their shoulders. Anwar’s new government must not disappoint these helpless people.

Notably, what Anwar helms is a unity government which some parties have now expressed their willingness to support. That said, if too many parties are admitted into the administration, we may end up with a parliament which is almost devoid of opposition reps, and this is never a good thing for democracy in the long run in the absence of effective checks and balances.

Following the swearing-in of Anwar Ibrahim, the intense power struggles in recent weeks must draw to a close. But if they still want to fight, they can do that again in the next election.

What is important now is for all parties to lay down their arms and work hand-in-hand to build a better country for all.

As His Majesty Al-Sultan Abdullah has said, when the country needs a stable government to revitalize the economy and develop the nation, ordinary people should not be made to take the brunt of the endless political turmoil.

In view of that, all elected reps must put the rakyat first, and strive to preserve political stability and promote economic development, as this is what the Malaysian public have expected from them.

New government, new beginning. As a new chapter unfolds, let’s wish Malaysia prosperity in the days ahead!

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Anwar Ibrahim
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