Commentary: Why Malaysia PM Anwar’s PKR does not talk about succession

by Admin
Commentary: Why Malaysia PM Anwar’s PKR does not talk about succession


Second, it is also potentially destabilising for PKR to openly contemplate succession. Any candidate alternative to Mr Anwar will only invite internal schisms and/or opportunistic pursuit by other allied parties – opening a can of worms.

Other than Mr Anwar, it’s unlikely that any other candidate would be accepted by all parties within the Pakatan Harapan coalition and the unity government. Mr Anwar’s prior government seniority, global networks, sacrificial legitimacy, accommodative leadership, charismatic personality, and Malay and Islamic credentials made him acceptable to most parties.

It was only Mr Anwar who could act as a glue for the ideologically opposites, PAS and DAP, to work together under the Pakatan Rakyat coalition (2008-2015), the first substantive coalition in Malaysian history which made critical electoral breakthroughs.

It was also he who stitched together once-warring factions to form the unity government under the King’s ordain. Mr Anwar’s successor might not possess the necessary seniority or respect to hold the coalition together at a tenuous time, leaving it vulnerable to the opposition.

Lastly, the theoretical question of succession must not be divorced from the emotive connection of PKR to Mr Anwar.

The party was formed because of the injustice inflicted on Mr Anwar, and the party’s “eye” logo came from Mr Anwar’s “black eye” during his detention in 1998.

Mr Anwar is seen as a symbol of sacrifice at PKR. His successor will only be successful if he/she manages the transition well, while preserving Mr Anwar’s legacy and larger-than-life personality. But it does not change the fact that it will always remain an emotive subject of discussion.

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