The Economist: Can't the Opposition find a better leader than Dr M?

  • Nation
  • Friday, 30 Jun 2017

PETALING JAYA: Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's (pic) conversion to the Opposition cause looks disturbingly incomplete, said The Economist who questioned if Pakatan Harapan could not find a better leader than the former premier.

The Economist said that while Dr Mahathir is now "hobnobbing" with his former enemies, the former prime minister of 22 years still finds it difficult to apologise for the excesses of his tenure.

"Many of his views remain wacky: in May he told the Financial Times that he still thinks the American or Israeli governments might have arranged the attacks of Sept 11th 2001.

"Can Malaysia's Opposition really find no more palatable leader?" the weekly international magazine said in an opinion piece published on Thursday.

The Economist said that Dr Mahathir's involvement with the Opposition was an unlikely turn of events as the original incarnation of the coalition was formed in the late 1990s to oppose his own interminable rule.

"It is possible that the thought of hoisting Dr Mahathir into the top job will at last force the coalition to thrust a younger leader to the fore," it said.

Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, recently said that he "may be forced to consider" becoming prime minister again if such a plan is proposed by his friends in the Opposition.

The Economist said that Dr Mahathir's reappearance could, however, transform Pakatan's chances by granting access to a broad swathe of rural constituencies thought to be unwinnable.

It added that if he was Pakatan's chairman, Dr Mahathir could bring some order to the coalition's noisy council meetings.

The Economist also said that by failing to nurture - or even to agree upon - the next generation of leaders, they have played straight into Umno's hands.

"Voters are not sure whether to believe Pakatan when it says that, should it win, it will find some way to catapult Mr Anwar out of his chains and into the country's top job.

"Nor are they much inspired by the notion of accepting a seat-warmer to run the country while this tricky manoeuvre takes place," said The Economist.

Jailed PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said recently that he would not offer himself as Pakatan's candidate for the prime minister's post, citing friction over the top post among the Opposition parties.

According to The Economist, Pakatan may end up making no decision at all on the prime minister's job.

"Some in Pakatan seem happy to barrel into the next election without telling voters who will lead Malaysia should they win. That might seem like pragmatism, but it is really just defeatism," it said.


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