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Anwar’s credibility in the limelight after court cluster joint venture confirmed

Analysts say it could affect the trust in the PKR leader although his staunch supporters will continue to back him.

Azzman Abdul Jamal & Ahmad Mustakim Zulkifli
2 minute read
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim speaks at the recent Perdana Debate with former prime minister Najib Razak at the Malaysia Tourism Centre in Kuala Lumpur on May 12.
PKR president Anwar Ibrahim speaks at the recent Perdana Debate with former prime minister Najib Razak at the Malaysia Tourism Centre in Kuala Lumpur on May 12.

The recent confirmation that MPs from the Umno court cluster had thrown their support behind Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister could affect supporters’ trust in the PKR president, analysts say.

Ahmad Atory Hussain of Universiti Sains Malaysia said the collaboration was proof that Anwar had set aside a number of PKR principles in order to work hand in hand with individuals such as Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former prime minister Najib Razak, who are facing scores of corruption charges in court.

He said it also portrayed the Port Dickson MP as desperate to become prime minister, or at the very least to be in the “government cluster”.

“The revelation would definitely have come as a shock, especially among the Umno grassroots, as it was kept a secret and only known among the highest circles,” he said to MalaysiaNow.

He said the top leaders in Umno must have known about the efforts to make Anwar prime minister.

“But maybe the plan was not implemented as many of them did not agree,” he added.

Nevertheless, he said the collaboration between Anwar and Umno leaders might not meet with complete resistance in PKR given that the opposition chief had what he described as “fanatical” supporters who would agree with his every decision.

On Monday, former Umno Supreme Council member Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said he had witnessed for himself the statutory declarations signed by MPs from his party in support of Anwar as prime minister.

This was despite Umno’s long held policy of “No DAP, no Anwar”.

Tajuddin said the letters were signed in haste, adding that he himself had been reluctant to put down his name. He said he had only done so out of respect for Zahid as the party president.

MalaysiaNow revealed in October 2020 that Zahid and former leader Najib Razak had written a joint letter to the palace expressing support for Anwar as prime minister.

In the letter dated Oct 11, addressed to Yang di-Pertuan Agong Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, they said that they, along with “a group of Umno MPs”, were backing Anwar.

Analyst Kartini Aboo Talib said a crisis of integrity in Umno and PKR was nothing out of the ordinary.

She said many of the leaders in both parties were from the same brand of politics and had received similar political upbringings.

“It is no surprise that Tajuddin’s revelation showed Zahid supporting Anwar and Anwar himself looking to hitch a ride for mutual benefits,” Kartini, of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, said.

Awang Azman Pawi of Universiti Malaya said PKR voters might view the “joint venture” situation as a survival tactic for the party over any individual interests.

On the other hand, he said, it might be seen in the same light as those from PKR who had joined Perikatan Nasional, stymieing Anwar’s efforts to become prime minister and form a new government with the support of Umno.

“This is more towards bringing awareness about the increasing dynamics in politics and the need for new alignments,” he said.

However, he did not foresee any significant reduction in votes over the issue.

“The same goes for PKR’s basic support. It is unlikely that there will be any notable changes within the party context, either.”