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Anwar, time to take a rest?


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But first, there are three areas that need his attention, says Kassim SA.

Back in July 1997 when Anwar Ibrahim was appointed acting PM by then-Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, some politicians began to have an idea of what Anwar could turn out to be if he eventually became PM.

They knew Anwar’s stand on corruption was something they definitely did not welcome. This fear of Anwar becoming PM started a series of schemes by some politicians. These schemes were all designed to ensure he would never become the PM – not then, not ever, no matter what it took.

The late MGG Pillai knew exactly how to describe Anwar in his writings in the late 1990s: “He Who Must Be Destroyed At All Costs”. How right he was. Anwar is still the target to this day.

Many things have happened since 2 September 1998, when Anwar was sacked as Deputy Prime Minister. Remember the trials and tribulations he had to endure to end up where he is now. Many Malaysians are unaware of or have forgotten what took place during that era of Mahathir’s authoritative rule. Those events revealed how our system of justice and human rights were destroyed.

It all started with a book 50 Reasons why Anwar Cannot be PM”. Reason no. 11 as stated in the book – which is in public domain anyway – alleged that Anwar was involved in a “scandal with another man’s wife – the wife of his personal secretary Mohamad Azmin Bin Ali, named Madam Shamsidar Taharin had been revealed by Azmin’s sister, Ummi Hafilda Binti Ali….”

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I am amazed that, to this day, Anwar’s former personal secretary has chosen to ignore his sister’s allegation which involved his wife.

The world was intrigued by the government’s moves to brutally suppress demonstrators who wanted reforms in government administration. They demanded the resignation of one whom they called the dictator: the one who in September 1998 unilaterally pronounced Anwar unfit to be a leader. Not the cabinet. Not Umno members. Not even the Malaysian voters could decide. Just Mahathir alone.

And after mobilising government machinery – including the police with their water cannons and the judiciary – they only succeeded in finding Anwar guilty and jailed for corruption. And how much money was involved in those corruption charges? Zero.

Most politicians in those days chose to remain neutral about the trumped-up charges against Anwar. Even if they wanted to, there was not much they could do. The Internal Security Act – under which anyone could be detained without trial – was dangled above their heads.

As for the people, in those days they relied solely on the government-controlled mainstream media to be kept informed and entertained. And what they were told by the government was only what the government wanted them to know.

That said, many in the urban areas were offended that the government thought they would believe what they were told. Some others saw another aspect of the ISA. The dictator decides, and you obey. The dictator does as he pleases. It was Ikut Suka Aku.

Anwar held on to his conviction, his belief and his faith in the face of criticism and insinuation from some Malaysians, who include concerned citizens, thinkers, analysts and bloggers whose apparently “intimate knowledge” about Anwar did not go beyond August 1998.

For example, there were nine education ministers in succession who took over his portfolio since 1991. Yet, to some Malaysians, only Anwar is to be held accountable for the failure of our current education system, for the Islamisation of our school syllabus, and for the arabisation of Malays. They overlook that it was during Anwar’s term as minister that the National Advisory Body for the Education of Children with Special Needs was formed in 1991.

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This attack on his character continues to this day. Whatever facts writers rely on to judge him and to assassinate his character are based entirely on such “intimate knowledge” which do not go beyond August 1998. These writers have readers and followers who are equally as clueless as they are about the events that led to Anwar’s dismissal as Deputy Prime Minister.

Deep inside, Anwar forgave Mahathir for what he had done to him, even though Mahathir had not sought his forgiveness. What Allah says in Surah 42:43 certainly found a place in Anwar’s heart.

Contrary to what others might say, Mahathir’s nawaitu (motive) was questionable. He reneged on the transition agreement he had with Anwar’s coalition partners, yet Anwar continued to trust him.

It must have come as a shock to Mahathir when, during the Pakatan Harapan supreme council meeting on 21 February 2020, the fireworks he had anticipated turned out to be a true demonstration of sacrifice illustrating what it takes to put the future of the country before oneself.

It is all now water under the bridge. Allah has given Mahathir a life longer than he deserves, perhaps to enable him to witness the misery he brought to Malaysians that he has to account for when he meets the Maker.

As for Anwar, we pray that Allah will grant him a place on this earth long enough for him to witness the success of the Permatang Pauh Declaration, primarily:

  • establishing justice for all
  • championing economic justice
  • wiping out graft and abuse of power
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Anwar has done everything that he possibly can with the blessings of Allah, and he must continue to lead. There are three areas that need his equal attention:

  1. keeping tripartite unity based on the Permatang Pauh Declaration
  2. getting the DAP do more to show itself as a political party that cares for the country and its people, unlike the MCA and the MIC that promote only the interests of the respective ethnic group they represent
  3. developing and leading the second line of leaders in PKR, many of whom already have the right skills, calibre and dedication and are ready to move up and move forward

Maybe after that, it is time for Anwar to take a well-deserved rest – and sit back and watch the realisation of the Permatang Pauh Declaration.

Kassim SA, a long-time reader of Aliran, is a crusader of the truth based on facts

The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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21 Mar 2020 9.23pm

It’s really shocking why so many political elites dislike Anwar. It’s not that this man is an angel. He has his weaknesses and had made mistakes but he has learned his lessons. Today he is the only credible leader deserve to lead the country. Not only Anwar but his whole family suffered at the hands of a dictatorial leader and a subservient judiciary. I dont remember any local politician who had to make such huge sacrifices like him. I believe he will come back much stronger and I hope this materialises while the old fox is still around.

23 Mar 2020 11.21am
Reply to  Santana

1. The dislike towards Anwar by political elites is driven by the fear of what Anwar would do to fight corruption. Do listen to his “Amanat Terakhir” which was recorded on 20.09.98 in his house just minutes before armed police in balaclava raided his house to arrest him.

2. The dislike towards Anwar by others, including bloggers, is driven by either their disappointment with his eventual acquittal for sodomee, or their lack of knowledge about events that precede the unilateral decision by Mahathir in Sep 1998 that Anwar was not morally fit to be a leader.

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