The relationship between the two may not be all that rosy as one may think, as the undercurrents may just swell into trouble
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim is due to be released from prison real soon, as the Pardons Board dwell on Wednesday on the application to grant the former deputy prime minister full pardon, paving way for him to dive into active politics once again.
Having had bad-blood with current Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad in the past, the two have reconciled their differences to jointly overthrow Najib Razak’s government in the 14th general election.
Now that Anwar will be freed, all eyes will be focused on the Anwar-Mahathir tag team to bring the reforms promised to Malaysians on various fronts.
But with less than one week after GE14, Mahathir seems to have taken grip of things pretty expeditiously. His press conferences that had a large entourage in the hours after clinching a Pakatan victory is fast becoming a single man affair as the days go by.
His deputy-designate Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is Anwar’s wife, is glaringly missing from the important announcements made by Mahathir.
The three named ministers, Lim Guan Eng (Finance Minister), Muhyiddin Yassin (Home Minister) and Mohamad Sabu (Defence Minister) are subject to confirmation as none have been sworn into office.
One too many unilateral announcements are being made by different party leaders in the past few days and that has caused anxiety among the ordinary rakyat.
Though Mahathir keeps insisting that all four components within Pakatan, namely PKR, Amanah, DAP and PPBM are being consulted for making ministerial level decisions, that does not seem the case for the moment.
Indeed Mahathir has also reiterated that since Guan Eng has not been officially sworn-in as the Finance Minister, all matters concerning finances will be handled by him (Mahathir).
Is this the start of the ‘old’, iron-fisted Mahathir back in action? Has he as a person really reformed and repented to fix all the wrongs of the previous government under BN-rule?
The other example is on the repealing of the Anti-Fake News Act 2018, which Pakatan has promised prior to GE14. But now Mahathir says he may just want to review the Act – an indication that the law may not be abolished as promised by Pakatan leaders.
Mahathir has all along been ‘dictatorial’ in his style of running the country during his 22 years in office before he retired in 2003. Can this man change his spots?
Back to Anwar coming into the picture. He too is not a force to be brushed off.
Anwar has been resilient in fighting Mahathir during the ‘reformasi’ days and only recently joined forces with Mahathir as they had a common enemy in Najib and BN/Umno.
The win that Mahathir is riding on as the comeback PM today is purely due to the groundwork done by PKR and its allies in DAP and Amanah.
Question is – will Anwar be still playing second fiddle to Mahathir after his release – given that he may quickly turn member of parliament at a by-election after getting full pardon?
Things have moved quite favourably for Mahathir – from quitting Umno, creating PPBM, taking over the leadership of Pakatan, amending ties with Anwar and consequently winning the GE14 and becoming the 7th premier.
But the real challenge is just beginning for Anwar and team; and that is to now take the seat from Mahathir, who they conveniently gave on a silver platter of sorts.
With the rapid and fluid turn of events within a week, the situation may not be all rosy for Anwar as he faces Mahathir once again as the PM.
Clash of personalities and aspirations could transpire for struggle of power between the two – a possibility that cannot be ruled out down the road.
Pakatan may well be running on thin ice for some time. Will it crumble?