Malaysia: Not all thrilled by idea of Mahathir as PM

  • Malaysia’s Reformasi movement was started in 1998 to fight the government led by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, after he sacked his deputy Anwar Ibrahim. Nearly 20 years later, the story of mentor and protege could soon be repeated – but with several twists.
  • And having made up with the former deputy prime minister, Dr Mahathir will pick his ex-protege as the next prime minister after Anwar, 70, is released from jail and pardoned by the Malaysian King.
  • Malaysians are deeply divided by the opposition’s choice to pick Dr Mahathir, 92, as its candidate for prime minister. Some are willing to forgive the once-authoritarian leader, but others would prefer the four-party Pakatan Harapan (PH) pact to embrace change by naming a younger candidate in its fight against the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.
  • The 22-year Mahathir era between 1981 and 2003 saw great development and economic growth. But the then Prime Minister also restrained freedom of expression and oversaw a rise in cronyism.
  • The pact’s candidate for deputy prime minister is PKR president and Anwar’s wife, Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, 65.
  • Some netizens commented on social media that they could close one eye and vote for the PM-DPM pair so long as BN and Prime Minister Najib Razak is removed.
  • But political fatigue among Malaysians runs deep, with some questioning if the political parties are unwilling to embrace change by picking younger candidates.

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