Anwar plays down calls for his resignation after loss in Melaka polls

Pakatan Harapan chief Anwar Ibrahim said that all views would be taken into account.
Pakatan Harapan chief Anwar Ibrahim said that all views would be taken into account.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

BANGI (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim on Tuesday (Nov 23) played down calls for him to resign as opposition leader after Pakatan Harapan's disastrous electoral performance in last week's Melaka state election.

In his first comments on the defeat, Datuk Seri Anwar acknowledged there were calls for him to step down but said that all views would be taken into account.

"It's okay, we will look into it. But I just want to remind here that opinions shouldn't be deemed as arrogant, as it could trigger negative reactions," he said.

Mr Anwar was responding to reporters' questions over remarks made by a Pahang assemblyman from his PH alliance asking him to step down as opposition leader and take a back seat following the Melaka loss.

Some leaders have jumped to Mr Anwar's defence by calling the assemblyman, Mr Lee Chin Chen, arrogant.

Social media is abuzz this week with calls for the 74-year-old PH chief to resign and bring in new blood to lead PH, Malaysia's federal opposition bloc which consists of three parties.

In the Melaka polls, the PH alliance won only five seats, compared with 15 in the 2018 general election.

The Umno-led Barisan Nasional coalition won by a landslide, landing 21 of the 28 state seats.

The other two wards were won by Perikatan Nasional, a pact led by former premier Muhyiddin Yassin's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia and Parti Islam SeMalaysia.

Mr Anwar's own party, Parti Keadilan Rakyat, lost all its three Melaka state seats in the Saturday polls.

Mr Anwar said he took responsibility for the Melaka debacle, but added that the opposition's defeat must be analysed in all aspects.

"We must look at all aspects because it is not as simple as that. Sentiments of the Chinese, Indians, and Malays are different," Mr Anwar said after attending a book launch in Bangi, Selangor.

Analysts have attributed part of PH's defeat in Melaka to its decision to field under its banner two assemblymen who defected from Umno.

PH fielded former Melaka chief minister Idris Haron and assemblyman Nor Azman Hassan as candidates, but they both decisively lost in their wards.

Commenting on PH's decision to field Datuk Seri Idris and Datuk Nor Azman, Mr Anwar said it was a decision made by the Melaka PH leadership.

"They were confident that this is the way to return the mandate to Pakatan. There were numerous occasions when Pakatan leaders in the state were appealing that we agree on the participation of the four to reinstate the mandate to Pakatan," Mr Anwar said.

"Mohamad Sabu (president of PH allied party Amanah) disagreed... But after a series of meetings, we were persuaded, so in a way, I cannot shy away from that responsibility," he added.

Mr Anwar also said that an independent committee would conduct a post-mortem on PH's results.

"We want to listen to independent views regarding our results," he added.