Friday, November 18, 2022

What Anwar Ibrahim must NOT do if he becomes PM

Nov 18: We’ve all almost forgotten the so-called Council of Eminent Persons, created by Dr Mahathir Mohamad in 2018, supposedly to advise a Cabinet lacking the experience in governing a nation. 

The Council was supposed to expire in 100 days, help the Pakatan Harapan coalition which had defeated BN in the GE14 fulfill its manifesto promises, and after which Dr M himself would hand over the premiership to Anwar Ibrahim. None of the above happened.

Dr M appointed his most trusted, Daim Zainuddin, as head of the CEP. Billionaire Robert Kuok, Zeti the former Bank Negara governor, KS Jomo the economist, and former Petronas chief Hassan Merican were the other eminent persons. Their reign saw a spate of resignations of top government and corporate leaders, including in government-linked companies, many suspected of being close to the previous government led by BN.

While the CEP is not responsible for every departure, they have been linked to the resignation of several top leaders including the governor of the Central Bank, the Chief Justice, and the President of the Court of Appeals. In the case of the latter two, the CEP had summoned them to a meeting where council member, Daim effectively sought their resignation. … Speculation was also rife – as was reported by Singapore’s Straits Times – that the council requested the top management of Khazanah Nasional, Malaysia’s strategic investment arm to resign. Days later, the board members of the entity handed their undated resignation letters en bloc.

There was so much fear, uncertainty and doubt among the civil servants, investors, and the general public as a result of the CEP's "shadowy" modus operandi . Cronies liked the CEP for the opportunities that suddenly came their way but sone of us started to liken the Council's reign to the Spanish Inquisition, where thousands were executed and hundreds of thousands prosecuted during the 15th century to maintain Catholic orthodoxy. 

A rather excessive comparison, of course, but you get the idea of the kind of witch-hunting and politics of fear and personal vendetta that took place in 2018. We neither needed nor deserved that, and certainly not a repeat after tomorrow.

If his people's prayers are finally answered and Anwar becomes PM after the results are known tomorrow night, I hope the Saudara will honor his words and pursue reconciliation with all parties so that the nation can finally focus on doing everything necessary to get back to its feet. No mindless witch-hunt and vendetta, let the young take over and the old retire gracefully, and don't even think of staying as PM for two terms, let alone twenty-two years.

Selamat Mengundi Semua!

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