A vice-president of Mr Anwar Ibrahim’s party, Mr Chua Tian Chang, has called a campaign to elect Mr Anwar as Prime Minister of Malaysia “mischievous” and an attempt to pressure Dr Mahathir Mohamad to quit.
While no one expected Mr Chua to suddenly turn around and support Mr Anwar in his bid to become the 8th Prime Minister of the country, his comments in an interview that the people have nothing to do with the PM’s post after an election did not go down well.
The interview, which was published in Malaysiakini this morning, drew criticism from netizens that Mr Chua had lost his credibility.
The politician, who is known to the public as Tian Chua, said that after a general election in which the people vote for a party or a coalition, the people have no power to decide who is the Prime Minister.
A netizen, “JW”, said on the Malaysiakini portal: “We rakyat (people) should remember this. Make sure people like Tian Chua will never get elected to anything ever. This is what he has now forced us to do.”
The comment adds: “Clearly, you have been bought over by some force or party. From the way you have talked about the party and the rakyat, you were treating the party like the Communist Party of China. That is, when the party is in power, the rakyat has no say at all in it.”
A comment by “Anonymous” added: “In GE14, the voters decided that Anwar will be their 8th PM. So it’s not for PH council to decide who should be PM 8. They only decide when (Mahathir) should step down… Why not ask your boss (Mahathir) to call fresh elections? … You, Tian, can forget about Batu.”
Tian Chua was voted in as MP in Batu in 2013. He lost the right to be a candidate in the election after a conviction and the PKR gave its support to a virtual unknown.
The independent candidate won with a massive margin against the BN candidate. There have, however, been reports of pressure and threats against the young MP to quit and allow Tian Chua to regain his seat.
Another netizen, “Tulan”, commented: “Tian Chua, we Chinese will remember U when U stand for election. We voted for YB Anwar to become the next PM and we Chinese stand by it.”
The comments, at times hilarious, had the vulgarity that is common in Malaysia’s social media scene.
At the recent party congress, Tian Chua was reported to have been offended that delegates had raised placards calling Mr Anwar “the eighth PM”.
In a video of his speech at the congress, during which he criticised the fact that Mr Anwar was bidding to become the next Prime Minister, he is heard as saying: “You cannot shut my voice.” Tian Chua was also the subject of jeers during the congress.
In the Malaysiakini interview, he was non-committal when asked if PKR was united over the idea of having its president as the next Prime Minister.
He ignored reports that the Pakatan Harapan has already decided it is Mr Anwar who will succeed Dr Mahathir. The Prime Minister has on numerous occasions said he will hand over power to Mr Anwar, who was the chosen one of the PH leadership council.
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