Anwar Ibrahim recently said that he will remain the prime minister until the next general election, despite the opposition's criticism.
He spoke in haste.
Anwar does not reign as prime minister today because he is a great or exceptional man. He reigns because he has something called the mandate to rule.
He got this mandate by winning the last general election.
In the last general election, Anwar won the mandate to rule by offering himself as the candidate for reform, multiculturalism, and change.
The people did not give the person called Anwar the mandate to rule. They gave it to the candidate who represents reform, multiculturalism, and change, who happened to be Anwar.
Anwar is not free to reign in any way he pleases. His reign is subject to his mandate. If he cannot carry out reforms, advocate for multiculturalism, or institute change, he will lose his mandate to rule.
The reform that Anwar is mandated to carry out has to do with the excesses of Mahathirism. Under Mahathirism, Mahathir made it possible for the prime minister to allocate national resources to whomever the prime minister deems fit while using state apparatus against anyone who the prime minister feels is a threat.
The trials and tribulations of opposition figures like Muhyiddin Yassin or Radzi Jidin do not indicate that Anwar seeks to end the excesses of Mahathirism. Instead, it looks like Anwar intends to continue it.
Anwar started his reign by saying that he intended to break the monopoly of Bernas, but as soon as the owner of Bernas kissed his hands and called him an elder brother, Anwar completely dropped the intention of breaking the monopoly of Bernas. So much for not rewarding national resources according to the whims and fancies of the prime minister.
Anwar might lead a coalition that is presumed to be multiracial while Perikatan Nasional (PN) is assumed to be a racist coalition, but the Aug 12 state elections have shown that the Malays are against his coalition while the Indians are showing signs of withdrawing their support for his coalition. Anwar cannot continue to claim to represent multiculturalism if only the Chinese are strongly backing his coalition.
Malaysians voted for a party that promised change because we feel that we are falling behind, and thus, we need to change in order to turn the tide around. The tides have not turned around. We still feel like we are falling behind.
When you give somebody a contract to do a job, that person cannot claim that you are bound by the contract to retain them in their job, even if they show no ability, inclination, or desire to do the job that they promised to do before you gave them the contract.
PN does not need to wait for another four years to change the government.
If it can show that Anwar is not the man he claimed to be when he won the vote last November, Anwar will lose his mandate to rule.
Anwar has to shape up or ship out.
The views expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the position of MalaysiaNow.