With the resignation of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and his long-time opponent Lim Kit Siang from politics, Malaysia’s politics is experiencing enormous changes that will have an influence on voting patterns in the future.
The spotlight is now on Anwar Ibrahim 74, a senior politician who is still active as the opposition leader and head of the Keadilan party.
Will he be challenged for the position of Keadilan leader, or will he simply retire from politics following the Pakatan Harapan coalition’s recent defeat?
According to the local news portal, Malay Mail, several analysts and observers agree that Dr Mahathir and Lim Kit Siang’s decision to step down from active politics will encourage other seasoned Opposition leaders to do the same.
The observers told the local news portal that this may be necessary to address voter fatigue and discontent.
Some also believe the fact that elderly political figures are still fighting it out have contributed, to a certain degree, to the lower voter turnout in recent state elections.
Another experienced politician, Umno’s Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah 84, is rumoured to be nearing retirement. He recently announced that he will not run in the next General Elections.
Mahathir turns 97 soon, he was born in July 10, 1925 and has set a record that may not be broken soon and he said he did not think he will recover after his latest visit to the Heart Institute of Kuala Lumpur in January.
But since he is out, he battled for his party, Pejuang, in the Johor state elections mostly with letters addressed to the voters.
They did not hear his voice, apparently, while he fought against corruption and warned the people not to vote for Najib Razak, a convicted politician but Najib’s party won big in the state.
As for Anwar Ibrahim, the Keadilan will soon hold the party polls and the return of Rafizi Ramli, the whistleblower, has added spice to the event.
Rumours are he will head a powerful team that may include the daughter of Anwar Ibrahim, Nurul Izzah Anwar. Another prominent opposition member, Nik Nazmi may also be part of the Rafizi team.
But so far, there are no indication whether Anwar will quit politics after the recent debacles or that he will be challenged as the leader of the party in the party polls.