".... The fact of the matter is, you do NOT have a choice between Anwar and your ideal, committed, consistent, sincere Malaysian leader.
Your choice, in the here and now, is between ANWAR and a REGIME built on racism, built on stoking the flames of mistrust and hatred.
Anwar is not the perfect vessel for uniting the country, but he is the FIRST REAL chance WE have ever had, to unite the country against the demons of racialism and parochialism.
But the simple and stark reality is, as far as WE, who live in the present are concerned, he is our best and ONLY chance to put a STOP to this insanity.
And for now, he is OUR ONLY chance.
He is the ONLY one who can cross ethnic barriers to proclaim a commitment to a Malaysia where Malaysians, not MALAYS, are sovereign, and actually win more support than before.
I support him, NOT because I like him as a person, but because I believe in the cause he champions, and because I believe that if there is any person in this country who can make that dream a reality, it is ANWAR IBRAHIM.
-John Lee Ming Keong
John Lee Ming Keong
(John Lee is a second-year Malaysian student of economics at Dartmouth College in the United States. He has a blog at http://infernalramblings.com/
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has already made history by being the FIRST Malay politician to ever actually win MORE political support through an explicitly NON-RACIAL platform.
It is practically impossible to underestimate how Anwar bucked the trend; he has completely turned our understanding of politics in this country on its head.
History has already made it crystal-clear:
MALAY politicians who try to unite the country by appealing to a common sense of Malaysian-ness inevitably wind up heading into political oblivion.Dato Onn Ja'afar's political career went up in flames the moment he founded the first multiracial political party in the country, in spite of it having every conceivable advantage — it was literally the incumbent party of the time because of Onn's towering status in Malayan politics. And it, of course, foundered completely.
Since then NOBODY has even tried to unite the Malays as Malaysians.
UMNO's Politics of "Ketuanan Melayu"
Unite the Malays as MALAYS, of course:
- Syed Jaafar Albar famously proclaimed in the 1960s that he was a Malay first and a Malaysian second.
- Syed Hussein Alatas made an admirable attempt to change Malaysian politics through Gerakan, and we all know how that turned out.
The one exception was Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who experienced some brief success with his Bangsa Malaysia idea. This only makes sense, considering Dr Mahathir's iron-fisted handling of anyone who dared to oppose him; it is thus a pity that he never took this policy beyond mere words.
The moment Dr Mahathir handed over the reins to his successor, Malay politicians were up in arms criticising Bangsa Malaysia as a "nebulous" and untenable concept for daring to acknowledge that the non-Malays have a place in this country too.
The State of MALAY Politics AFTER 51 Years
So here we are today - 51 years after independence.
The easiest way to tar a Malay politician next to calling him a Jew-lover is to accuse him of saying this country belongs to the Chinese and Indians too.
That is simply HOW Malaysian politics works:
To win the support of the Malays, you need to denounce the NON-Malays as foreign squatters, who are only here as a matter of privilege rather than right, a privilege revocable at any time.And what a coincidence it is — that is exactly how the Malaysian Government works too.
- If you're NOT an Indonesian who can be counted as a Malay, your application for permanent residency or citizenship can never hope to see the light of day.
- If you're NOT a Malay, you can expect to hear your fair share of racist remarks in a public national school — and not from students, mind you, but teachers.
- As a student you can expect a syllabus which teaches you about the meaning of ketuanan Melayu rather than bangsa Malaysia.
- As an employee you can expect a civil service where you're not welcome unless they need you to fulfil their minuscule quota of non-Malay recruits.
- As an entrepreneur you can expect a government — and many government-linked companies — which will not give you any business unless you are a Malay.
Half a century after independence, and that's what 40% ( ie NON-Malays) of this country has to look forward to.
And since this is how the government works, up-and-coming politicians and political activists realise this is how politics works too.
That is why even though you will never hear the typical Malaysian voicing such sentiments, political activists will readily denounce the non-Malays as foreign squatters here at the behest of a social contract which gives them the privilege, not right, to stay and live here.
For the past half century, to be a good Malay leader:
- you have either had to publicly proclaim your support for ketuanan Melayu — and not the mild ketuanan as in strong leadership, but ketuanan as in "blood will run in the streets if our demands are not met" — or
- you have had to simply avoid commenting on the issue and just hope you can be all things to all people.
Anwar - The Conscionable Malay Reformist
Anwar ran on a platform, not of vague meaningless nice-sounding platitudes, but a platform explicitly against everything ketuanan Melayu stands for.
- This is a man, mind you, who celebrated the end of his ban on active politics by damning ketuanan Melayu and consigning it to the dust heap of history.
- This is a man who has publicly and repeatedly proclaimed that his commitment is to the sovereignty of the people — ketuanan rakyat — rather than the dominance of the Malays.
- This is a man who has never wavered from his stand that the philosophy of government assistance based on racial origin, rather than economic status, is fundamentally and morally wrong.
- This is a man who has repeatedly, wherever he goes, whoever he speaks to, driven home the same point, again and again: "Anak Melayu, anak saya. Anak Cina, anak saya. Anak India, anak saya."
- And this is a man who has had everything in the traditional playbook of Malaysian politics thrown at him. He's been labelled a heretic, a sodomite, a liar, a hypocrite, a traitor willing to sell the Malays and Malaysians out at a moment's notice.
- The ruling coalition has done everything in their power to make it known far and wide that this is a man committed to non-racialism; committed to a Malaysia where everyone belongs.
Where so many brave Malay leaders have fallen and failed, he has won an incredible victory.Onn Ja'afar was vilified simply for opening up his political party to Malayans of all creeds and colours; Anwar has gone above and beyond, explicitly declaring that this is a country for all Malaysians, whoever they might be. And he has won a resounding victory.
It would be one thing if he scraped through with a majority of less than 5,000 votes in the recent by-election, but the fact is, it was not even close — not with a landslide majority of 15,000, larger even than the majority his wife won before he explicitly condemned ketuanan Melayu.
Anwar has succeeded where everyone else has failed; he has carved out a broad base of political support, not on a platform of rights or privileges for one community, but a platform of justice and equality of opportunity for all communities.
Criticise Anwar all you like for his inconsistent and wishy-washy stands on other issues.
Criticise his coalition for its internal dissension and strange hypocrisy all you want. You can even say you have no intention of trusting a man who might just stab you in the back the moment he gains power.
The Choice Between Anwar and Others
The fact of the matter is, you do NOT have a choice between Anwar and your ideal, committed, consistent, sincere Malaysian leader.
Your choice, in the here and now, is between Anwar and a regime built on racism, built on stoking the flames of mistrust and hatred.
This regime of hatred has delivered its promise of ketuanan Melayu. Why should we expect things to be any worse under a regime promising Ketuanan RAKYAT?
At the worst, it's the same old shit under a different government; at best, we might finally have a government and a political system which works for all Malaysians rather than whoever yells the loudest and threatens the most blood.
As far as taking power is concerned, this is still a long shot. Anwar may yet turn out to be a flop on delivering if he ever gets the chance to govern.
But the simple and stark reality is, as far as we who live in the present are concerned, he is our best and only chance to put a stop to this insanity.
Anwar is not the perfect vessel for uniting the country, but there is a reason he scares the powers that be:
He is the first REAL chance we have ever had to unite the country against the demons of racialism and parochialism.And for now, he is our ONLY chance.
He is the only one who can cross ethnic barriers to proclaim a commitment to a Malaysia where Malaysians, not Malays, are sovereign, and actually win more support than before.
I am no huge fan of Anwar, but I recognise what he has done, and how far he has come.
I support him, not because I like him as a person, but because I believe in the cause he champions, and because I believe that if there is any person in this country who can make that dream a reality, it is Anwar Ibrahim.
-John Lee Ming Keong
ANWAR'S SPIRIT REIGNS
Read here article by Dean Johns in Malaysiakini
Excerpts: Read here for more
Anwar Ibrahim. A classic example, if ever there was one, of the truth of some of the maxims I’d like to kid myself I have the courage to live by: ‘Never say die’, ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going’ and ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’.
I started thinking how spectacularly Anwar puts me to shame.
What have I done since 1998 to help my family and friends in Malaysia free themselves from the curse of the Barisan Nasional?
In the same 10-year time-frame:
- Anwar’s defied Mahathir,
- fired-up the Reformasi movement,
- got beaten blue-black,
- locked-up for years in solitary,
- reinvented himself as an academic,
- formed a political party,
- helped forge the Pakatan Rakyat coalition,
- got hit with another trumped-up morality charge,
- addressed countless ceramahs,
- won a by-election by a landslide and
- taken his place as leader of the Malaysian opposition.
What a guy! What a survivor, striver and inspiration to us all.
No, I’m not an Anwarista, an unquestioning idoliser of Anwar. Nor do I see him as Malaysia’s political messiah or some kind of cult personality.
Self-styled messiahs, like Mugabe or Mahathir have a way of mightily messing things up. And cult personalities like Mao Tse Tung have a supreme way of turning into ‘poisonalities’.
As big an ego as he surely must have to survive all the trials and tribulations he’s been through, I DON'T see Anwar as a megalomaniac.
More as a symbol of dissent and a catalyst for change; a man on a mission to demonstrate to the rakyat that reformasi is achievable despite the odds BN has stacked against it.
Or to put it another way, I see Anwar as a more a firebrand Gandhi-style figurehead than the Machiavellian political plotter that many opponents perceive him to be.
In all his spellbinding speeches he largely talks about not what he proposes as an individual, but his vision for the nation’s institutions.
The very institutions that, once restored after decades of degradation by BN, would be the peoples’ best protection against relics of past Mahathirism or potential future Anwarism.
He’ll certainly go down in history as the man who, more than anyone else, empowered, inspired and gave new hope to today’s generation of opposition candidates, voters, activists and bloggers.
Not to diminish other ‘never say die’ opposition figures like Lim Kit Siang and Karpal Singh.
But only a Malay Muslim like Anwar could effectively cross the racial divide that Umno so flagrantly fosters, just as only a Malay Muslim like Raja Petra Kamarudin could achieve a similar supreme feat in the bloggosphere.
Nor could Anwar have achieved all he has without what to me is the most telling factor in his favour, his wife, Wan Azizah. What an amazing woman she is: doctor, mother, first female leader of Malaysia’s parliamentary opposition.
Would a person of Wan Azizah’s quality stayed with and supported Anwar if he’d been even half as evil a character as he’s been portrayed? I don’t think so.
But nor do I think he’s perfect. Anwar himself has admitted he’s “no angel”. But compared with so many of his corrupt and incompetent demonisers in Barisan Nasional, he’s virtue personified.
He’s also very much alive and kicking, despite blowhard Khairy Jamaludin’s boast that BN would “bury” him in the Permatang Puah by-election.
Zaid Ibrahim for Pakatan Rakyat
There's only one BN figure I can think of who I wish would take Anwar up on his invitation to switch, and that’s another Ibrahim.
Zaid Ibrahim is far too smart and principled to be stuck in the current dumb and sleazy government.
As he said himself in a speech to the Asia-Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions reported by Malaysiakini just a month or so ago, his advocacy of judicial reforms and greater press freedom “has caused consternation to some elements within my own (Umno) party, to the point that I am accused of espousing opposition policies and thus I should resign.”
Will Zaid Ibrahim ever jump and join Pakatan?
Can whole parties like Gerakan, PPP, MIC or MCA be persuaded to cross over?
Now that I’m well and truly back in the land of the living, I’m dying to witness what Anwar and his allies can do to finally kill-off the deadly BN, or at least hasten its inevitable demise.
Umno may have found its match in Anwar
Read here article by Abdar Rahman Koya in Malaysiakini
(Abdar Rahman Koya is a former news editor of Harakah. This article was written for London-based Islamic political newsmagazine, Crescent International)
Excerpts: Read here for more
The Malays’ political loyalty – and indeed the respect they have for the ruling Umno – had been affected badly by Anwar’s dismissal and his launch of the reformasi movement, and indeed it now seems to be lost almost permanently.
Such a loss in Malay support is worse NOW because of the almost complete desertion of the ruling coalition by the non-Malays, namely the Chinese and Indians, caused by a number of factors, the most important of which is the perceived discrimination against them in the distribution of the socio-economic pie.
No amount of assurance by government leaders that judicial and economic reforms will take place has removed the suspicion that change can only come through Anwar and the coalition of parties he leads.
That the larger show of support comes at a time of intense propaganda against Anwar’s character also confirms how little credibility (scarcely any) the ruling party has managed to retain since 1998/99, which is when Mahathir allegedly orchestrated the campaign to destroy his deputy’s political career.
Even an oath sworn upon the Qur’an by the accuser in the latest sodomy allegation against Anwar, which was broadcast repeatedly during television news bulletins almost every day throughout the campaign, had failed to persuade voters to forsake Anwar.
The result is that a clear line has been drawn, and for the FIRST time in Malaysia’s history the government, despite all the machinery on its side, has found its match.
Although Anwar could not have pulled off such a feat without the full support of the Islamic PAS and the Chinese-dominated Democratic Action Party (DAP), the fact is that neither could the two opposition partners have achieved the kind of political storm that is now rapidly changing Malaysia.
-Abdar Rahman Koya