KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim found himself an unlikely 'supporter' in his bid to become the country's next prime minister.
Former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin, in an interview, outlined several reasons why Anwar is the best candidate to succeed Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"One, if he doesn't become prime minister, we will not hear the end of it. He cannot move on and we cannot move on.
"Prince Charles and Anwar are the longest, you know..." said Khairy, referring to the long-serving British crown prince, at the Regional Outlook Forum held in Singapore.
On a more serious note, Khairy remarked how Anwar had the potential to unite Malaysia that was becoming increasingly divided by communal politics, as reported by the South China Morning Post.
He said that this was due to Anwar’s ability to appeal to Malaysians of all races amid a rising tide of identity politics in the Muslim-majority country, which was an “advantage … that nobody else has.”
“Anwar speaks the language of modernity and he speaks the language of tradition, especially when it comes to Islam, and also the Malay identity.
“As long as identity politics remains an important marker in Malaysian politics … I think possibly Anwar in Pakatan Harapan (PH) is the only person who can manage to navigate around identity politics and prevent it from becoming something that is uglier than it potentially could be,” Khairy was quoted as saying.
The Rembau MP from Umno maintained this despite his views that Anwar was “outdated” and “somebody who has not had a job for over 20 years” (referring to his two jail sentences).
When Kishore Mahbubani, a former Singaporean diplomat asked him if Tun Daim Zainuddin and Economic Affairs Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali were among those plotting to keep Anwar from becoming Prime Minister, Khairy remarked how there has been a lot of chatter to say there were those around Dr Mahathir who were uncomfortable with Anwar.
Khairy said that whether or not Anwar would succeed as prime minister was also on top of the minds of politically savy Malaysians.
So much so he said that it was the only thing that the “political chattering class seem to ask me about.”