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Anwar Ibrahim’s Style of Politics

In Malaysia on September 25, 2008 at 7:55 pm

[Update – 27th Sept: At chedet.com, Mahathir has written a post mocking the United States. This was a day after this post went online. Altho’ commenter, “By kamal ahmad on September 26, 2008 11:03 PM” has posted a link here – I doubt Mahathir wrote in reference to my thoughts.

To be clear tho’, let me just say Mahathir is no exception – his style of politics is no different, if not worse.

See this article: “Mahathir Mohamad, a client of Abramoff’s who paid $2.2 million to arrange a visit with President Bush in 2002 (raw story)“. To be fair, Mahathir corrected the reports saying it wasmerely’ USD$1.2 million‘.

For a list of articles about Mahathir & Abramoff, a conservative lobbyist convicted for corruption in political scandals]

Comments on my recent post about Anwar Ibrahim went from ‘how did you find this stuff?‘ to ‘well, you really don’t like him very much, do you?‘.

I want to clear up a few points:

  • First, I have never met Anwar, so I don’t care about the man. I do care about who will lead Malaysia next and I don’t agree with his say anything, do anything‘ style of politics. He does not stand for anything, other than opportunism – as far as I am concerned
  • Second, use the Internet/web to get real info. Don’t depend on our media nor government. You are free to read and learn online. You just have to know what to ask. And whom to believe. I cannot make that decision for you [note: See above – ask yourself why Mahathir today (Sept 2008) is mocking the USA/Bush altho’ Mahathir paid a million or two to convicted felon, Abramoff to meet Bush a few years ago]
  • Third, a lot of what’s online is dependent on the writer/journalist. You know, they say history goes to the victor. In this case – history is made by the powerful.

After Anwar’s relase from prison in 2004, his effort to bridge the divide between Third World or Muslims and the West is to be applauded. But, ask why has he done this? Also, how did he do it?

Opportunity knocked in the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. The world was aghast. Bush was dreaming of heaven. Neocons such as Wolfowitz, Cheney, Rumsfield and friends were trying to create a new world order. Suddenly, Anwar was a good friend of Wolfowitz – a leading neo-conservative of the Bush administration. They are not so powerful today because their ideology has clearly been discredited.

By the way, another word for neocon is extreme right-wing philosophy. Which means they are sympathetic towards white minority rule in South Africa, a nuanced way of saying they support apartheid.

This is what Wolfowitz said of Anwar in June 2006 in a World Bank lecture:

… Anwar has cultivated strong credibility in many areas. He’s been described as one of the forefathers of the Asian renaissance for his passionate commitment to interfaith dialogue and his respect for human dignity (my emphasis).

All those doors opened, articles published, lectures given and letters of support only serve one purpose – to raise Anwar’s profile. I do not see the sudden emergence as ‘friends’ since the 1980’s between Wolfowitz and Anwar as pure coincidence.

The neocons and Anwar are some of the people on earth I do not care to meet, nor think about unless I have to. (If you want to monitor the activities of neocons, click here.)

Unfortunately, I have to because I am not so easily fooled by Anwar. Neither are real investigative reporters. If you saw Stephen Sackur’s interview, you can tell how difficult it was for Anwar to answer in straight forward manner (link is at bottom of this post, ‘Anwar and the Politics of ISA‘). That Hardtalk interview was in May 2005 and you can see Anwar defending his friendship with Wolfowitz.

Recently, more questions were raised, such as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ‘Rear View’ in March 2008:

This week we examine the political history of the former deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia Anwar Ibrahim. Today Anwar is seen as a beacon of democracy by the international community yet for almost two decades he drove the Islamisation of Malaysia with Prime Minister Dr Mahathir.

Who is Anwar Ibrahim and just how significant is he in Malaysian politics today?

This question: “WHO IS ANWAR IBRAHIM?”, has been raised by quite a few reporters / journalists. Me too, ‘Who is Anwar Ibrahim?“, though I am no reporter nor journalist by any measure.

Why hasn’t this been highlighted prominently by our local media? Don’t ask me. Ask them.

Why do I ask so many questions about Anwar? Because I don’t know where he stands, and as someone said recently, “Honour comes honesty“.

And Bill Clinton said during the DNC 2008:

People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.

So as Malaysian, I want to ask Malaysia’s Opposition Leader what is the power of his example, as opposed to the example of his power.

Wouldn’t you?

For Anwar Ibrahim’s example in activitism, click here.

PS. Rear View’s discussion is available online (see link above) and note Prof Clive Kessler’s observations about Anwar. I will post on this later.

  1. I don’t trust any politician. To me, Malaysia needs a 2-party system (3 would be even better) as a check on corruption and dictatorship by the ruling Barisan Nasional.And Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat is fulfilling that need. I would not want to waste time speculating on whether or not Anwar would make a good prime minister because, as far as the future is concerned, nothing is certain, nothing that is determined by the hand of man is etched in stone.

  2. I do not see why we cannot trust politicians. We should, otherwise there is no point electing them to make decisions on our behalf. We just have to verify thay they do so.

    “Who am I to verify”, if you were to ask – I’ll say: “You are a citizen of this country and have every right to check and check again that our elected leaders do their job”.

    This reminds me of something I once heard:

    “Never doubt that a small group of committed and thoughtful citizens can change the world”

    and someone replied:

    It’s the only thing that ever has.”

  3. Dear Mike

    I was struck, favourably, by your interesting riposte to my comment. I wish to add a qualification to my earlier comment – that thus far I cannot see any Malaysian politician in power I can say I even remotely trust.

    Power corrupts; absolute power absolutely corrupts and Barisan Nasional has had absolute power for 51 years now and Malaysia has never known any ruling party other Barisan Nasional.

    That’s why I have, in the past two years, made numerous comment postings on blogs asking Malaysians to vote for a 2-party system. And I am proud to say I was among the first, if not the first, to attempt to make Malaysians come round to that idea, even if the majority could not, in their wildest dreams, imagine at the time that this country would have any government other than BN.

    At the March 8 election I casted my vote, for the very first time –in the hope that Anwar Ibrahim would come to power and bring about, in his words, a new dawn.

    Anwar has a rather chequered political resume, which is why many harbour grave doubts about his leadership. The positives are his perceived religious creditionals (none of the Hadhari crap) and his fight for the poor and downtrodden during his days in ABIM. The one weak point: the perception of him as a racist persists, despite all his election talk of wanting to see a Malaysian Malaysia. His appointment of Malays as headmasters of Chinese language schools during his time as Education Minister will always be remembered in a negative light.

    So Anwar, for all his spiel, has yet to prove himself. And the only way for him to prove himself is to give him a chance to be PM (not that we have much of a choice; we wouldn’t want a mullah from PAS as PM, would we?)

    And if and when he becomes PM we, as you rightly pointed out, just have to check and keep on checking on him, reminding him to walk the talk – all the spiel prior to the March 8 elections.

  4. Outsider‘ has made some valid points.

    Instead of conversing thru’ comments, I hope to start a post on these points. This, I hope, will allow his/her comments to be read more broadly as I think it deserves the attention.

    As usual, everyone else is welcome to comment here and I will try to incorporate your points – if any.

  5. […] Finally, the next post will probably be a discussion of what one commenter, ‘Outsider‘ asked – one of which – “Anwar is the best of the worst, what choice do we have?” See the comments in full here. […]

  6. […] my post above generated 2 comments from ‘Outsider‘, which essentially said that he could not trust politicians but Anwar is the best of the worst, so we have no choice but to […]

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