Nowadays in Malaysia one will find that when gathering with family, friends or colleagues the topic of discussion will eventually revolve around politics. It is simply inescapable. Even if an individual is a political, one will find it extremely difficult to abstain from having an opinion on the latest political developments in the country. Thus it should come as no surprise that when Pakatan Harapan announced its candidate for the post of prime minister it sent the country into overdrive. Malaysians from all walks of life weighed in on the matter. Be it young or old, everyone has an opinion of what Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad means to them. He is undoubtedly a divisive subject matter.
Even political observers have mixed emotions on the former leader’s nomination. Last week a six-men panel comprising of activists, politicians and a former chief editor sat to discuss Pakatan Harapan’s choice of Tun Dr. Mahathir to replace Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Razak. The panelists were split in their views on whether Tun Dr. Mahathir’s return to power was the solution for a better Malaysia. Yet all concede that he is the pull-factor Pakatan Harapan needs to secure the Malay votes. Ironically whatever they had to share were no different than what average Malaysians are already thinking.
There is both trepidation as well as elation in the thought of Tun Dr. Mahathir returning to power. But there were also some who were completely despondent after Pakatan Harapan’s announcement, questioning the coalition’s failure to appoint younger leaders. Although Tun Dr. Mahathir has stated that he is merely standing in for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim until the latter gets a royal pardon, the once strongman is known to wield a certain level of influence within the opposition coalition.
Malaysians will be casting their votes at the ballot box in the near future. In the meantime the incumbent and Pakatan Harapan will be hard selling their parties’ manifesto. The rakyat will need to decide if it wants to relive the past or move forward. Only time will tell.