18 December 2018
My colleague Zurairi AR believes that Nurul Izzah has the makings of the country’s first female prime minister, within the next one or two general elections and that her departure from a leadership role within PKR could mean this may no longer be a possibility.
While I too agree that Nurul Izzah is one of the few politicians capable of becoming PM and ensure Malaysia continuously takes a lead in implementing reforms, I prefer to look at today’s developments slightly differently.
Nurul Izzah did the right thing today by relinquishing all her posts and links to the ruling coalition.
And just like Umno’s Khairy Jamaluddin, Nurul Izzah is exactly where she needs to be right now but for different reasons.
After GE14 and a failed attempt to win the Umno presidency, Khairy is in a position where he can do the most good as just a lawmaker; without any posts or close links to the current Umno leadership, Khairy is free (for the most part) to act as an effective opposition backbencher to criticise the various shortcomings of the current federal administration.
In fact, the Rembau MP’s even criticised Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid’s leadership of Umno, and remains one of the few sobering voices left standing in a sinking ship once overcrowded with “yes men.”
In this respect, Nurul Izzah is now free where once she was shackled and to an extent, compromised in her ability to function effectively to ensure that all of PH’s reforms are met.
Had she remained part of the federal administration, she would likely have had to bite her tongue and offer some form of explanation as to why some reforms have not been carried out.
If she was still part of the PKR leadership, Nurul Izzah would have had to toe the official party line and say that there was nothing wrong with the party’s recently-concluded election.
And worse still, she probably would have had to force a wry smile as PH component party PPBM welcomed ex-Umno foes into the ruling coalition’s fold ― the same people who in the past had been relentless in their attacks against her father.
Now, as an ordinary member and MP, Nurul Izzah is free to call out PPBM for even entertaining the likes of Tan Sri Rahim Tamby Chik. She can even address concerns that her own party elections were not conducted in a fair manner, and most of all keep the government of the day on its toes with regards to various agendas.
As an government backbencher, Nurul Izzah is free to support the government of the day, but without being an apologist.
But beyond that, not having a position within PKR is the best course of action for Nurul Izzah because she can finally step out of her father’s shadow.
If she remains as PKR vice-president with Anwar as president, Nurul Izzah will always be dogged by accusations of cronyism and nepotism no matter what she does.
Any aspirations for her to become a federal minister will be effectively dashed, simply because Anwar is to become the next prime minister.
Ironically, her family ties are holding her back and by taking a step back, she is in fact taking two steps forward (as cliched as that may sound!).
The most strategic plan for Nurul Izzah, as of right now, seems to be to remain where she is, while playing an active role as MP and PKR member. She should bide her time, and wait until Anwar’s time as PM is over before asserting herself once again in a leadership role within PKR.
And from there, work her way to become the next PM.
Of course, the decision is ultimately Nurul Izzah’s as she pointed out to PPBM strategist Datuk Rais Hussin.
At this point though, a retraction of any kind would come across like a waste of her own Reformasi potential.
Political loyalties are in flux in Malaysia. Inter-coalition and inter-party strife has led to unprecedented resignations and defections in the months since the former ruling coalition Barisan Nasional’s 61-year time in power came to an end, making way for Pakatan Harapan, led by current premier Mahathir Mohamad.
The People’s Justice Party (PKR), a key Pakatan Harapan component led by democracy icon and prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim, endured its own turbulence on Monday when Nurul Izzah Anwar, Anwar’s daughter, announced her resignation from the roles of PKR vice-president and Penang state chief, adding to internal strife following heated party polls that wound up last month.
“There are beliefs and ideals I hold dear and I feel that I can be most true to them by taking this course of action I am now announcing,” she said in a statement, adding that while she would continue to serve as an ordinary PKR member and member of parliament, she would no longer serve the federal government in any capacity.
“I remain a member of the parliamentary backbench committed to reforms … My only regret is that I should have made this announcement sooner, but it has not been an easy decision to arrive at. The pace of political developments has been relentless for the last nine months, with party elections following a gruelling general election campaign.”
Awang Azman Awang Pawi, a political science professor at the University of Malaya, said Izzah’s resignation was due to allegations of nepotism and preferential treatment within the party, following the allegedly biased appointment of state party leaders by Anwar as Azmin and Rafizi’s rival factions push for a stranglehold on PKR’s central leadership council.
Observers and party insiders believe Anwar has been backing Rafizi’s supporters to ensure Rafizi will be put forth for a leadership position within the party, a claim that prompted PKR central committee member Latheefa Koya to criticise “nepotism and cronyism” within the party.
“Nurul Izzah’s resignation as Penang chair and vice-president was due to internal pressure within PKR itself,” Awang said. “Latheefa was seen as less than enthused with the family politics of Anwar from way back when, including with [deputy prime minister] Wan Azizah. Nurul Izzah’s appointment as chair of Penang was accused as nepotism, accusations like this affected Nurul Izzah and so she rejected all the positions she was appointed to.”
Wan Azizah is also Anwar’s wife and Izzah’s mother.
However, Awang pointed out, Latheefa had not questioned Mahathir’s son being appointed as a state chief minister – a sign the tussle was not so much about pure nepotism as inter-party disputes.
“Nurul Izzah is showing that she is principled by making this decision,” Awang said. “This action is an almost sarcastic gesture to other component parties within Pakatan Harapan who have allowed these things to happen while talking about principles, transparency and integrity. Either way, it looks like the disputes within Pakatan Harapan are ongoing even as time passes.”
17 December 2018
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Nurul Izzah Anwar today told off PPBM strategist Datuk Rais Hussin for suggesting that she would eventually retract her resignation as PKR vice-president.
The Permatang Pauh MP tagged Rais in a Twitter post, where she said: “Kindly refrain from ever commenting on my behalf.”
Attached to the post was an article quoting Rais as saying that he believes Nurul Izzah will retract her resignation as PKR vice-president, and that she is committed to holistic reforms.
“She is committed to holistic reforms. To make it happen she must retract her resignation. I believe she will, and come back stronger and refreshed. For now, let us give her some latitude,” he had said.