It would be ridiculous to consider MP Nurul Izzah Anwar as the enemy within Malaysia’s ruling Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition because she is, in reality, a rebel who is stirring the waters against a sense of lethargy that has gripped the new government.
PH has gone from the hero of the nation — during the May 9, 2018 destruction of the lame duck that was the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) government — to a government offering little alternatives to what the BN had offered in the 61 years it held power.
The daughter of Anwar Ibrahim, the prime minister-in-waiting, is effectively a young woman who has fought in the streets for decades. She lost her teenage years in the nascent “Reformasi” (reform) movement borne out of her father’s brutal jailing and beating that had left him with a black eye.
This black eye was to later become the logo of the Parti Keadilaan Rakyat (PKR), a party that fought for Anwar’s release from jail. And, whether we like it or not, PKR succeeded in their mission.
Today, there are many armchair analysts, and new and old reformists who want to gain something from their May 9 efforts that ousted Najib Razak’s regime. However, they forget that their efforts took but a day while people like Nurul Izzah endured long years of sacrifices.
It is against this constant battle led by Anwar’s family and close allies in the last 20 years that we measure the shameless social media attacks by cyber troopers, and the incessant, and hypocritical disregard of the rights of the “princess” of the Reformasi Movement to openly criticise.
And, the cause of the barometer change is Nurul Izzah‘s current rebellion.
For a large share of those 20 years, most of the fresh reformers were still in the womb of the kleptocrat regime, which some of them left unwillingly to follow the opposition camp led by current prime minister Mahathir Mohammad.
Their status as recent reformers does not diminish their rights but it is their lack of decorum and absence of an open mind that are dangerous for the country, and for Mahathir’s legacy.
The intent on writing this piece was to tell of the other side of the story surrounding Nurul Izzah’s recent rebelliousness against Mahathir and the lethargic PH.
As much as simple-minded people would want Mahathir to run the government as he did during his previous tenure as prime minister, they must know that PH leaders are answerable to a coalition of consensus and not to one party.
Thus, Nurul Izzah’s outburst has a deeper meaning and wider implications for the future of PH itself.
This may lead to apologists taking over the reins of power and a failure in delivering reforms promised by PH in a plan that had been agreed upon and set in stone.
Nurul Izzah’s attack stems from fault lines created by the disrespect in PH manifesto towards the Public Account Committee’s structure. The PH has failed to adhere to other promises and agreements signed, and sealed before the Bersatu of Mahathir joined the Pakatan coalition.
While we will not dabble in the details, it is clear there is intense pressure on Mahathir to respect the agreed PAC lineup; this means that an opposition member should lead the Parliamentary watchdog.
It is internal resistance to carry out PH promises on such salient issues that have given way to the outbursts from the MP of Permatang Pauh, Penang.
That someone who has such power within her grasp would go to such lengths to make her views heard should tell you more about the rot in Putrajaya.
And, there is more to it. Nurul Izzah may also be fighting against the potential of a split within the PKR, the party that had fought for reforms for two decades but which cannot carry out promised reforms even when finally elected to office.
Divided and with some quarters attacking Nurul Izzah, do some PKR members fear they will lose power if they stand for reforms or are they behind a secret plan to block Anwar Ibrahim from becoming PM?
The onus is on the naysayers to answer these pertinent questions.