WHY ANWAR IBRAHIM IS A RELIC OF THE PAST

December 31, 2015 by Suara Kebenaran

Category: politik

Anwar Ibrahim’s Blog published the article below, which was lifted from Malaysiakini. The article more or less presents Anwar as Mandela and Mother Teresa two-in-one and the only and most powerful weapon that the opposition has to use against Barisan Nasional.

While this may sound great as far as the Anwar image-building factor is concerned, this does not say much for the opposition. Are they telling us that Anwar is the only thing they have to bring down Barisan Nasional? They make Pakatan Harapan sound like a one-trick pony.

Let is dissect some of the myths mentioned in that article (the comments in italics).

It appears that only Umno knows and understands the severe threat that former deputy prime minister and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim still poses to the ruling BN coalition. Sadly, many in the opposition have declared that it is time to move on from Anwar or insist that Anwar is now irrelevant.

Anwar is from the 1960s-1980s era. That was the era when the likes of Tunku Abdul Rahman, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Gafar Baba, Musa Hitam, Harun Idris, Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah, Karpal Singh, Lim Kit Siang, Samy Vellu, Tan Koon Swan, Ling Liong Sik, Chin Peng, and many, many more whose names you probably can’t even remember were still relevant.

We are now talking about the era of the 2020s, which will be upon us in the next five years. We can’t keep talking about the Merdeka Era, the 1969 era, the post-NEP era, etc., or else we will be going too far back into the past and may start talking about the Portuguese invasion of Melaka, Hang Tuah and whatnot.

These people may have been good or even the best in the context of that era. Today, however, even Kennedy, Carter, Churchill and Thatcher would no longer fit in to the present era. Times have changed and what good these people may have done during their era could no longer be done today. Even Lee Kuan Yew would find himself like a fish out of water in today’s Singapore.

I mean, this is like saying that Elizabeth I could still replace Elizabeth II as the Queen of England. It is two different eras that need two different styles. Hell, they are even asking whether Elizabeth II is still relevant in modern England.

So Anwar Ibrahim may have been what Malaysia needed back then, in the 1970s, 1980s and probably even in the 1990s. But by the 1990s Anwar began to show signs of old style politics that no longer had a place in modern Malaysia where the new generation no longer thinks the way the younger generation of the past did.

Then, Anwar – having spent six years in detention under former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s regime – made a comeback in 2006 after fixing his back and taking a stint as a lecturer in the UK and the US.

In two years, Anwar was able to rally the diverse political parties to face off with the BN government, denying them for the first time a two-third majority in Parliament during the 2008 GE.

This is another fallacy. First of all Anwar was not under ‘detention’. He was serving a jail sentence for a criminal offence. Secondly, it was the Internet and the social media that hurt Barisan Nasional badly in the 2008 general election, and in the 2013 general election as well.

Anwar may have been ‘somebody’ in the grand scheme of things, but it was the Internet and the social media that made him ‘somebody’. Without the Internet and the social media Anwar would have remained a nobody when he came out from jail in 2004 (just like what happened to Harun Idris when he came out from jail as well).

And for four years from 2004 to 2008 the Internet and the social media projected Anwar as the force behind the fight for change and presented him as Malaysia’s hope and saviour. In short, we ‘marketed’ Anwar and I should know because I and my Malaysia Today was one of those involved in this marketing effort.

It was not because Anwar was good that he succeeded in uniting the opposition. It was because WEwere good in using the Internet and the social media to make Anwar appear good and to make the opposition appear united (when in reality they were not). Actually, Anwar was a fake made to look like the real thing by playing with public opinion and by using the Internet and the social media to achieve that.

In 2013, Anwar held the fragile opposition together to ensure two-cornered fights against BN. Apart from that, he has the experience and international clout to lead Malaysia its premier. Anwar, therefore, is really the catalyst to unity for the opposition.

Some say, PKR and Pakatan Harapan should move on from Anwar. On the contrary, why should we allow the BN government to force us to abandon the most powerful and unifying factor of the coalition?

Again, that may have been so in the past but today that is no longer true. Anwar no longer has that ‘magic touch’. He has lost his ‘magic touch’ and we can see that in the breakup of Pakatan Rakyat.

Of course, there are some who feel there is still some milk left in the old cow and if we can squeeze its tits hard enough a few drops may still come out. But that milk is too little and has gone a bit sour and it is too much effort for too little gain.

Pakatan Harapan needs to move on, beyond Anwar, if it still wants to remain relevant in Malaysian politics. Still talking about Anwar is like Perkasa still talking about Hang Tuah, a relic of the past and no longer relevant in this modern world.

Anwar has had his days, as have many others, Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin included. By 2020 even Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak may become irrelevant if he does not go for a makeover. And Najib knows this so he is doing something about it.

And the Anwarinas have to take a leaf out of Najib’s playbook and reinvent themselves to continue to stay relevant. Or else they are going to get left behind when the rest of Malaysia moves forward.

********************************************************

Why Anwar Ibrahim is still relevant

Yee Siew Meng

There are some in PKR who forget quickly; perhaps their amnesia is hastened by politics and blind loyalty to factions?

There are some who follow opposition politics from a distance and echo the statements of those in PKR who say that party president and opposition leader Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail is allowing her emotions and personal agenda to free Anwar Ibrahim, to take over the main agenda of the party and the coalition.

This cannot be further from the truth. Anwar Ibrahim is still relevant, and I will explain why.

In a report by Free Malaysia Today last Monday, Sepang PKR branch chief Arffain Mohamed insisted that deputy president Azmin Ali should instead helm the party – which only reveals his political intentions.

It appears that only Umno knows and understands the severe threat that former deputy prime minister and opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim still poses to the ruling BN coalition. Sadly, many in the opposition have declared that it is time to move on from Anwar or insist that Anwar is now irrelevant.

Looking at the diverse political ideologies within the opposition ranks, and the ambitious leaders within some parties, there is still a critical need for Anwar – who has played peacemaker before, bringing the many ideologies to unity.

Prior to 1998, Umno and BN had a free hand to use race and religion to manipulate the electorate. The opposition leader then was DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and it was so easy to make it look like a fight between a Malay government vs a socialist Chinese party.

The opposition was fragmented beyond imagination. There had been right-wing religious group PAS that was made to look like fundamentalist fanatics, and the leftist DAP whom BN portrayed as “communists”.

The situation was ideal for the BN government to pit these two parties against one another and to divide the opposition – such that they will never have more than one-third control of the Parliament. It looked like BN would rule forever.

The divide between the two main opposition parties existed right up till 2004. Then, Anwar – having spent six years in detention under former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s regime – made a comeback in 2006 after fixing his back and taking a stint as a lecturer in the UK and the US.

In two years, Anwar was able to rally the diverse political parties to face off with the BN government, denying them for the first time a two-third majority in Parliament during the 2008 GE.

The incredible feats of Anwar

When you think about the polar opposites of DAP and PAS, it truly is an incredible feat that Anwar was able to unite the opposition towards a single vision. Up to then, DAP and PAS were satisfied in their separate roles and agendas as opposition noise-makers. Anwar painted a picture of a new federal government and the possibility of winning the general elections.

Apart from uniting the political parties, he had painted a picture of a truly united Malaysia. He gave the masses a vision of “hope for a new Malaysia”. Following the 2008 victory, Malaysians from all walks of life celebrated the new-found freedom and boldness to voice out against corruption and injustices.

In all his rallies, he cast the vision of a new Malaysia for all Malaysians. There was no turning back for the rakyat. This boldness later spun off into Bersih rallies, solidarity marches and mushrooming civil societies, seeking greater civil liberties for all Malaysians.

In 2013, Anwar held the fragile opposition together to ensure two-cornered fights against BN. The hunger for change was in the air, and the BN government had little confidence of their own victory. Without the help of government agencies, indeed victory may not have been theirs.

Still Anwar, as opposition leader, led the coalition into gaining more ground in Parliament. He was a real and present danger and a serious threat to the BN government. They had to remove Anwar from the picture and they set out to do whatever they could to return him to jail.

The future of BN rested on the ability to remove Anwar as opposition leader. His ability to unite the opposition and rally the masses were frightening for Umno and BN.

Is Anwar relevant? He is, and remains, the most dangerous weapon the opposition has against the BN government. I have been at the fringes of opposition politics for 17 years since Reformasi, and am of the opinion that the power struggle for the position of opposition leader is intense because he or she may very well be the next prime minister after the GE14.

This jockeying for position may tear the fragile opposition apart before they even capture Putrajaya. Anwar, however – with his statesman stature and the respect he commands from Gerakan Harapan Baru as a religious man and from DAP as a man of integrity and strength – will be the respected choice of all for prime minister.

Apart from that, he has the experience and international clout to lead Malaysia its premier. Anwar, therefore, is really the catalyst to unity for the opposition.

Unfortunately, the BN government acknowledges this threat and is bent on keeping him in jail. Factions in his own party are obvious and the vying for party president position is intense for this very reason. If Anwar is out, many would be silent just out of reverence for the man who most deserves and is most qualified for the position.

Some say, PKR and Pakatan Harapan should move on from Anwar. On the contrary, why should we allow the BN government to force us to abandon the most powerful and unifying factor of the coalition? Anwar is the icon of the resistance. He is the Mockingjay.

We should shout for his freedom and demand that all the wrongs done to him be corrected. We should demand for the truth, for justice to be carried out for him, and for the many cases that have found no resolution or justice.

http://anwaribrahimblog.com/2015/12/29/why-anwar-ibrahim-is-still-relevant/

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