NST Leader: Don't squander it

What a difference 20 months make; as late as March last year, Pakatan Harapan (PH) leaders were squirming in political lambada while sinking into a cataclysmic hole.

The euphoric uplift that decimated Barisan Nasional's (BN) hegemony suddenly phased into the nightmarish aftermath of 2020's Sheraton coup, causing the PH administration to collapse and jettisoning its top leaders back to the opposition dead zone.

Now, PH has surmounted the torturous climb back to redemption post GE15: the short-term history of remembrance, reflection and reference is also good measure to design a governance tool to enact pragmatic socio-economic repairs.

This current epoch seems to be the golden contingency for PH and its new-found allies BN, Gabungan Parti Sarawak and Gabungan Rakyat Sabah, to weld a national reset that's always in our mind — a ticket to create a new Malaysia.

In any case, there is plenty of room for failure, but also enough space to succeed. While the idea that PH and BN as mortal enemies cannot be understated, magnanimity is achievable to take on tasks bigger than their collective grievances.

As soon as the 10th prime minister lays out his new cabinet, it would be the acid test for a "hopeful front", fusing BN's canny experience in governing and the gungho "can-do" spirit of erstwhile oppositionists.

In a nutshell, the electorate is telling the new synthesis: don't blunder. Despite immersing in electoral good faith, PH — essentially their prime minister — is drumming noisy optics and absurd photo ops.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the electorate warned, must never repeat PH's mistake of being easily blindsided and must continue the deep focus on rebuilding the economy.

Take comfort that the brooding Dr Mahathir factor that kept Anwar's ambitions in a barracoon, and how the ex-premier once rallied the Malay electorate into PH's stable, has vanished.

Soothsayers even predicted that Anwar's premiership zeal would be impossible if he can't galvanise the Malay base. Implausibly, he can.

PH dredged a secondary 11 per cent of total Malay votes while the predator's share went to Perikatan Nasional (54 per cent) and BN (44 per cent).

Assertive non-Malay votes had buoyed PH to the top. It's not a dominant mandate, but Anwar need not worry about DAP's restaging of their elephantine-like trampling.

It doesn't seem so because the party heir-apparent who led the trampling seems subdued, taking a deferential cue from secretary-general Anthony Loke's cardinal example of apologising to the Borneo bloc for past party transgressions.

This new metric accruing Dewan Rakyat winners — minor Malay base but major non-Malay bastion — is PH's new business model to effectively score big. With that, Anwar's dramaturgy for optics — the bromance in the car ride, the grandstanding handphone call that cut into an important press conference, and fussing over ministers' salaries, official cars and government perks — must stop. The heavy lifting is done. This is no time to squander goodwill.

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