When Mandeep Singh, a committed reformist working for Bersih, wrote a lengthy article bemoaning his frustration at Opposition leaders’ lack of will to be truly united to fight the Barisan Nasional, I knew he was representing the views of many Malaysian voters.
With all the problems facing Datuk Seri Najib Razak and the BN, one would have thought it would not be difficult for the Opposition to win the next election—but Mandeep argued that it would probably take another 30 years before the Opposition got their act together, judging by their inability even to name a leader of the Opposition, among other things.
Some three months ago, I mentioned that the same issue had been raised by many frustrated Opposition supporters. I ventured to suggest that Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, although incarcerated, should name an interim leader of the Opposition so that voters could have the confidence that such a leader might lead the Opposition to victory.
In the Opposition, there are many right now who want to be the next Prime Minister. The only way the matter can be resolved with finality is for Anwar to decide and make known his choice.
This leader has to be someone who can maximise the Opposition’s chances of winning and, at the same time, he or she must have Anwar’s confidence that when the pardon process is done, Anwar will be appointed Prime Minister.
The decision made by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to bring Bersatu back into a formal pact with Pakatan Harapan (much to the dismay of pro-PAS supporters in Bersatu) instead of dilly-dallying with PAS, is a big step towards preparing for a united Opposition.
This momentous decision will enable seat-allocation and the preparation of a manifesto to take priority instead of wondering and hoping when PAS President Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang will abandon Najib. Many months have been lost and we should now proceed with confidence to face the Najib-Hadi axis at the General Election.
All that we need to seal the most united and credible Opposition front ever is for Anwar Ibrahim to propose who should be the leader of the Opposition parties when the country goes to the general election.
I believe Anwar will take into account all the factors needed to win the election and will take appropriate measures to ensure that he will assume the Prime Ministership when the time comes.
Anwar must act now before we waste more months talking about nothing. The Najib-Hadi axis isn’t very strong and it can be beaten. We just need to inspire a new wave of excitement and belief amongst voters that, this time, change is for real.
Don’t disappoint Mandeep and many others like him by not making this tough decision when the decision is exactly what we should be making!