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Pakatan losing steam and focus - malaysiakini

With the economy dominating the headlines (Malaysiakini reports), the opposition is losing focus and steam with the middle class Malaysians. The Malaysian Insider reports;


By Leslie Lau
Consultant Editor

NOV 19 – In recent weeks Malaysia's opposition alliance, a resurgent, unstoppable force after the March 8 elections, may as well have put up an advertisement in the newspaper which reads: “Missing: Suave, charming, eloquent and headline-grabbing leader who was supposed to lead us to form the next government.”

Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, while he has not made himself a recluse, is certainly registering only a faint blip on the political radar of the country.

Even his long-time adversary and foe Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the country's former PM and the man who sacked him as DPM ten years ago, is scoring more political points and is getting more column inches in the newspapers.

Anwar's PKR party also appears to have become listless as its members grapple with the reality that they may not yet, if ever, be the ruling party in the Federal Government.

Next weekend, PKR holds its general assembly. Anwar will give his state of the party address.

Aides have been telling reporters that he will explain the reasons for the failure of the September 16 plan to bring about the collapse of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government through mass defections.

Critics will says that whatever Anwar says next weekend will be just another laundry list of excuses as to why he is not yet Prime Minister.

And it will be hard to argue against them.

Ultimately, the attention of the country is panning from its obsession with everything political towards bracing itself from the expected economic fallout of the global financial crisis.

BN, while still an unpopular entity, has solved its leadership transition issues.

Malaysia will see the back of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Badawi next March, and is almost certainly going to welcome in, barring a near-miracle from the Anwar camp, the era of Datuk Seri Najib Razak.

Ironically, PM Abdullah, liberated from the shackles of expectations he created himself by telling Malaysians he would repair the damage of the Mahathir years, has a good chance of delivering some, if not all, of the reforms he has promised.

A new Judicial Appointments Commission, as well as the new Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, is likely to become reality before he leaves office.

Yesterday, the government even decided to declassify its agreements with highway toll concessions, in a step designed to show transparency.

While the list of reform challenges before Najib remains long, there is a palpable sense of focus returning to the BN government.

This cannot be good news for the opposition Pakatan Rakyat (BN) alliance.

While Pak Lah will soon be out of the picture, it is still open season on Najib, who remains vulnerable to allegations and accusations, unfounded or otherwise.

The Altantuya Shaariibuu murder will still be a problem Najib will find difficult to shake off.

But the country appears to be clamouring more for certainty and stability in its political leadership as it prepares itself to face economic difficulties.

The momentum for change has perhaps passed.

How long before that momentum can, if ever, be revived depends on how the opposition retools and rebrands itself.

Ultimately the opposition still has its work cut out if it hopes to offer itself as a viable, workable alternative to BN.

Anwar will have to dig deep to find the inspiration and the cohesiveness the PR alliance needs for a long haul political challenge.