A former aide of Najib Razak has described Anwar Ibrahim as a politician with the leadership traits needed in a “healthy democracy”, fresh from the PKR leader’s failed bid to form a government through the defection of MPs.
Oh Ei Sun, Najib’s former political secretary, also praised Anwar as inclusive and progressive which he said could bring together both liberals and conservatives.
“Anwar can win both camps over. He is a charismatic, national icon,” Oh said in a commentary published by Singapore’s Channel NewsAsia.
He also said he was impressed listening to Anwar who was able to “quote abundantly from important liberal thinkers of our time”.
“I could not help but remark to my friend next to me that with such progressive ideals, Anwar would make a fine prime minister,” Oh said.
He added that Anwar’s policies would “usher in greater communal harmony”.
“Anwar has also espoused a progressive streak over his long years in politics.”
- Revealed: Najib, Zahid jointly wrote to palace in support of Anwar
- So what if we support Anwar, says Najib in tell-all post
His comments followed a recent admission by his former boss that he had asked Barisan Nasional (BN) MPs to back Anwar’s bid to replace Muhyiddin Yassin as prime minister.
Najib and Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi wrote a joint letter to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong expressing support for Anwar, who had earlier claimed he had the majority support of MPs to bring down the Perikatan Nasional government.
Anwar however failed to furnish proof of his claim during a royal audience granted to him by Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah on Oct 13.
Oh, in his commentary, said Anwar’s fallout with former leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 1998 was due to their differences over a loan package by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to rescue the Malaysian economy ravaged by the Asian Financial Crisis.
He further claimed that the IMF plan would have allowed “strict measures against corruption and cronyism” to make the economy “market-friendly”.