Analysts see Anwar-Mahathir clash as inevitable

Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – May 22, 2016: Latest political developments have had several political pundits convinced that a clash over influence in the opposition is inevitable.

According to them, the triggering factor to such likely clash was the recently made known “cautionary letter” penned by opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who is currently in jail for sodomy conviction.

In the letter, Anwar reminded the PKR leadership and party supporters to be wary of  Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the former prime minister’s Citizens’ Declaration movement.

He implied that Dr Mahathir, now dubbed by many quarters as the new opposition leader, was merely using the opposition’s influence in his relentless campaign against Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

“The Mahathir-Anwar clash will happen,” said Universiti Malaysia Sarawak Associate Professor Dr Jeniri Amir.

“Anwar’s letter has created a rift among opposition supporters who support Dr Mahathir’s movement.

“The letter is perilous to the solidarity of opposition supporters because the content is open to individual interpretations,” he said.

Jeniri added that those who adhered to Anwar’s calls will renounce their support for Dr Mahathir’s cause and try to convince others to do the same.

“Conflicts and tensions are bound to rise when beliefs are imposed onto others,” he said.

Associate Professor Samsul Adabi Mamat of Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia echoed similar views on the “unavoidable power struggle” that will happen in the opposition.

“Frankly, I won’t be surprised if a fallout among supporters of the movement happens because the movement is formed by people who, politically, shouldn’t even be in the same room.

“He may have quit Umno and insulted his party but in essence, Dr Mahathir will always be an Umno politician.

“If he manages to oust Najib, then that will be probably the end of his stint with the opposition,” said Samsul.

He pointed out to  The Mole that Anwar had made it clear to opposition leaders and supporters that Dr Mahathir was just using them to suit his plans and that he has no intention of campaigning for the opposition’s agendas.

However another analyst Dr Azmi Hassan of Universiti Tekonologi Malaysia does not think that an immediate full-blown clash will ensue anytime soon.

“Most likely the opposition leaders will take heed on Anwar’s advice,” he said, “If this comes true than it is expected that Tun M’s (Dr Mahathir) involvement will not come to an immediate end.”

“But most likely his presence will be minimised so all spotlights will be directed to the opposition leaders,” said Azmi.

Azmi was also of the opinion that the severity of the likely clash between Anwar and Dr Mahathir will depends on how opposition leaders and supporters react to Anwar’s letter.

All three analysts agreed that BN will benefit from the clash within the opposition camp by telling the people that they should not trust Dr Mahathir as Anwar himself does so.

“Unlike the opposition, BN does not suffer disunity between its component parties, and coupled with the inevitable clash, it would not be too farfetched to think that BN may outshine the opposition in the next general election,” said Samsul.



About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at zaidiazmi91@gmail.com.