12 March 2018
Whispering into the ears of her husband and Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim during a visit to prison, Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail had once asked, in jest, if she could swop places with him.
Thrust unwillingly into politics after Anwar was sacked as deputy prime minister in 1998 and later jailed for sodomy, the Singapore-born former ophthalmologist had found herself in unfamiliar waters.
But Dr Wan Azizah cannot yet let go of politics to enjoy time with her nine grandchildren. Anwar is expected to be released from jail on June 8 and he cannot contest an election for five years unless he gets a pardon from the Malaysian King.
Still, despite her many years seen as a “seat warmer” for her husband, she is not seen as a natural leader or prime minister material, critics say.
“She’s perhaps perceived as too nice and not ruthless enough for politics,” said Mr Rashaad Ali, an analyst with the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies.
IDSS / Online / Print
Last updated on 12/03/2018