Was this all just for one man to be prime minister?


Was this all just for one man to be prime minister?
By Zan Azlee

I have been covering politics as a journalist and as a Malaysian for close to 20 years now. That means for the most parts, I have covered a Malaysian government that has been BN- and Umno-led for most of my career.

And throughout those years, the politicians and cabinet members have always been just there. I had never known them any other way. They were the nation’s leaders and they carried themselves that way as well, in an air of entitlement and deserving of respect.

When we talk to them we had to make sure to address them properly with all the titles that they have. In press conferences, we would have to ask the proper questions or else we would be humiliated in front of everyone or even be banished from the event.

Basically, they were always an arm’s length away. They were not us and we were not them and the whole society made it very clear that it was so. They were the blue-bloods and we were the commoners, and never shall the two meet.

In the past five months, things have been different. People who are friends and are on first-name basis have become MPs and even cabinet members. You could send them a WhatsApp message or poke them on Facebook.

These are people that I have known for years. Some are actual friends from the work that I do. But most are people I have known who have been very active in civil society movements and activism. Ordinary people who are part of the ordinary society.

Of course, it is early days, but it somehow gives me the feeling that people who really represent me and come from the same place I do are now in government. It gives me the feeling that the people are the government and the government is the people.

We voted for them because of that. They were a part of society and they were us. That is what democracy is all about. There isn’t supposed to be a feudal system where lords rule over fiefs in their fiefdoms.

That’s why I have a problem with the by-election in Port Dickson where Anwar Ibrahim is now running after his fellow party member Danyal Balagopal Abdullah (left in photo) had resigned, to make way for him to enter Parliament.

The whole PD move just reeks of entitlement and impatience on the side of Anwar. Look, I am not naive in thinking that Anwar would never be prime minister. Everyone already knows he is the prime minister-in-waiting.

But from the beginning (I had even met him for an interview less than a week after he was released from prison), he had already made it clear that he wasn’t in a hurry and that he wanted to take a bit of time before going back to politics.

But I guess his anxiousness and impatience got the better of him and now he just needs to be the prime minister as soon possible. This gives no time for the new government to resolve all the teething problems before he comes in.

This also gives no positive perception to the people that they are a government by the people and for the people. Instead, it just gives the perception that the whole fight was just for one man to fulfil his dream of wanting to be prime minister.

Also, when this happens, we will have a prime minister and a deputy prime minister who are husband and wife. Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has always said that if her husband were to be the prime minister, she would resign as deputy.

If that was the plan all along, then why didn’t she resign as the MP of Pandan and let Anwar run there instead? At least that would be keeping to the deal because everyone already knew that Anwar was prime minister in waiting and that Wan Azizah was going to step down.

What if she doesn’t resign? I mean, Anwar said he was going to wait for two years before going into government, but he went back against what he said. What if Wan Azizah says she is going to resign, then doesn’t? What happens then? Are we all being duped?

[This article was originally written for and published at Malaysiakini.com]

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