Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Failure of Anwar's Mass Rally Strategy Shows as 82% In The Edge Poll Say He Should Go

In advance of GE13, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim famously promised that if Pakatan Rakyat failed to capture Putrajaya in the general elections, then he would retire to academia. Before embarking on his protest rally tour last week, he rubbished that promise, as most observers expected before the elections.

Based on a recent poll, he may wish to see if Oxford and Georgetown have his old positions open.
The Edge newspaper's poll asked 12,736 respondents a straightforward question: "Pakatan Rakyat (PR) has failed to conquer Putrajaya in GE13. Should Anwar Ibrahim step down as leader?"
Some 18 per cent responded: "No, he should continue to lead PR to the next GE as PR has won more seats than previous election."

But 82 per cent said: "Yes, he should call it quits as he has made this pledge."
The poll was taken after Anwar's return to street (and stadium) theatre began last week. While it is impossible to know whether his protest rallies hurt his standing as the Opposition Leader, it seems unlikely that they helped. This is notwithstanding all the very high noise levels he has been able to achieve.

The Edge is disproportionately read by the Chinese community, especially business leaders. The poll results suggest that the critical Chinese swing vote has swung against Anwar's continued leadership in Pakatan – a dangerous sign given Anwar's already treacherous fortnight since GE13.
The well-publicised "Mother of All Feuds" civil war in PKR has reached a lull after Anwar's long-time aide Azmin Ali went public with his frustrations over the party's "nepotism" and lack of respect for internal consensus. The battle over who would be Selangor's Menteri Besar demonstrated that PKR remains the most dysfunctional of Pakatan's parties, a rare achievement indeed.

The disorder in Anwar's family-run party has been echoed in the Opposition pact as a whole.
Lower-level DAP officials and grassroots leaders have burned up Twitter since GE13 wondering why Anwar – who does not even hold a formal officer's title in PKR – should lead Pakatan when the DAP became the largest party in the Opposition pact.

And DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang has recently taken a more visible leadership role in Pakatan Rakyat, at times (such as the issue of not wanting to trigger an "Arab Spring") even contradicting Anwar's pronouncements. Most importantly, he has called for election challenges to remain in the courts, rather than in protests. He has stressed the need for peaceful resolution of any post-electoral controversies.

Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang recently announced that PAS accepted the poll results, pointed to his party's seat gains at the state level, and called for a renewed effort for GE14 – a far cry from Anwar's description of the elections as fraudulent and refusal to accept the results.

Perhaps it is not merely The Edge poll respondents who wish to see Anwar step down.
Anwar will doubtless survive, as he always has. But his standing in the Opposition, and the Opposition's standing with the rakyat, seems likely to deteriorate.

A future in teaching would serve Anwar's propensity to lecture at length well. We join with the poll respondents of The Edge poll and recommend that he embrace that future.

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