Anwar’s latest thoughts on …
BELOW are Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim’s latest thoughts on the political developments in Malaysia and also on Americans’ current stand on the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Also included are links to a video clip on his latest thoughts:
ALL THREE PARTS OF INTERVIEW ARE IN ENGLISH EXCEPT FOR BRIEF ARABIC INTRODUCTION AT THE START
Thursday, 13 December 2012 14:18
Anwar: Good chance for PR to come to power, M'sia now lags behind Arab Spring nationsWritten by Wong Choon Mei, Alaa Soleiman, Malaysia Chronicle
Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said there was a good chance for his Pakatan Rakyat coalition to overthrow Prime Minister Najib Razak's BN government, which he described as "authoritarian" and trailing far behind many of the Middle Eastern countries that recently experienced regime changes due to people uprisings demanding an end to corrupt, despotic rule.
"Is there is a realistic expectation, I would say yes. In the 2008 election we won a simple majority 51% of the votes. We lost in the Sabah and Sarawak states mainly among the indigenous tribes. In the last 4 years, we worked hard and we are able to penetrate into the rural heartland... so of course, there is that possibility," Anwar said during an interview with Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV conducted in Kuala Lumpur on November 20 and aired on December 12 http://almayadeen.net/ar/Programs/Episode/udV3cAbf6kqr76ElAWpQyw/2012-12-12-.
Diversity - PR's strength, not destruction
The 64-year-old de-facto head of the Parti Keadilan Rakyat dismissed the possibility that his three-party PR coalition might snap due to differing political ideologies once the general elections were over. PR is made up of the multiracial PKR, the Islamist PAS and the secular DAP.
Anwar claimed unity in diversity would be the PR's strength and not its destruction.
"[We have] PKR, the Islamic party [PAS], the Chinese-based DAP, we are diversified. One is prone to secularism and the other to Islam. [But] we came out with clear policy guidelines, what we mean by freedom of expression, judiciary, conscience, economic policy that must promote growth, must be strong in justice, equity and equitable distribution and that ... Islam is the religion of the federation of Malaysia but it must ensure complete complete independence and freedom for the people to practise their beliefs," said Anwar.
PAS is not extremist
He also refuted talk that PAS was "radical".
"I have worked with the Islamic party and it's not fair to suggest they are radical because they have agreed to this common policy platform [on various issues including] ... on gender issue, even on religious freedom."
"As Muslims, we accept the Shariah, we accept the Koran. We accept that our dakwah, our message, should be represented... I take the view you should not deny the people from talking about Islam or Islamic state or 'hudud' (Islamic criminal law). Neither should you stop people from talking about secularism or secular laws. Our consensus is No.1, we are tied to a constitution and No 2. we must build a consensus before we embark on any new plans or program. So I am not too worried about the outcome."
Mahathir's sons are billionaires!
A former deputy prime minister, Anwar's political career was abruptly demolished in 1998 when his former boss Mahathir Mohamad jailed him on fabricated sodomy and corruption charges that have since been overturned by the nation's highest court.
Anwar said the lack of a strong political Opposition at that time contributed to the ruling administration's abuse of power and corruption, with anyone who took a different line marked down for challenging the status quo.
"Dr Mahathir did a lot of good programs. I was with him, I was part of the team but his children are billionaires," said Anwar.
"That is the problem with most dictators you may be familair with in the Middle East. The seem to think that by attacking one, they can stop the rest. They have been proven wrong."
He lambasted Mahathir and the ruling Umno party for continuing to harass him and his family despite having already "beaten me half to death", jailed him for 6 years, most of which were spent in solitary confinement.
"They demonized me. One day I am a Muslim extremist, another day I am CIA, pro-Israel, the next day I am a sodomite," said Anwar.
Don't under-estimate the wisdom of the people
He agreed with the results of a recent survey that showed the number of Malaysian who still felt that ethnic relations was good had declined 12% between 2006 and 2011, and that the number of Malaysians who believed that ethnic unity was good had declined from 54% to 35% over the same period, calling it a "significant shift in Malaysian thinking" that had benefited his coalition at the expense of the Najib administration's popularity.
"The result of that survey helped to fortify our position that under this administration, this government harping on racist rules, Malay supremacy, Malay rights,demonizing others, 'beware one state which under us is no good because it has been Christianized' - we ask where, what evidence? Nothing."
While he was optimistic about the Arab Spring, explaining that the emergence of 'people power' overrode the negative consequences experienced in some of the countries where the new regimes have turned out to be just as authoritarian as the deposed ones.
Anwar appeared confident that the same fervor to no allow corrupt despots to continue to rule will sweep into Malaysia at its coming general election widely expected to be held by March 2013.
"All the media here have no place for dissent or for the Opposition. I don't have minutes or airtime. Total blackout. But you cannot underestimate the wisdom of the people otherwise how do you expect them to topple the dictators, brutal regimes. People have that . So we have to work hard to engage. The development in the Arab world - the people revolution - has enormous influence on people, students who follow the developments particularly in the Middle East, Egypt to understand why. Why do the people suddenly rise to reject corruption, the abuse of freedom the un-freedom?"
Malaysia left behind
He also pointed out that the 'change' demanded by the Arab Spring protesters had resulted in many positive developments for their countries. Although it would take time for the consequences to fully unfold and bear positive fruit, the people's courage in standing up for reform had already helped their nations go one up on Malaysia.
"We used to be better but I think you look at Tunisia, Egypt, Turkey and all the problems they are facing, I am not discounting that, they are far ahead of us. They have a free media free, they have free fair elections and they are trying to get the judiciary independent and working and they are making various steps in amending the laws in Tunisia. Although it is a process... it is slow and people make mistakes, it is far more advanced and progressive than what we see here," said Anwar.
"Economically, we have a better a threshold. We started much earlier in terms of industrialization, getting infrastructure ready. I think we need to move on to the issues of freedom and cultural enlightenment."
Dictators & authoritarians MUST GO!
Perhaps with the ageing Mahathir, who has been accused of clinging to power, in mind, Anwar fired a final parting shot. The Arab Spring or people uprising despite its current shortcomings and hiccups are a conclusive signal that a new chapter, albeit tough and rocky, has begun for the Middle East and will spread to other developing regions including Malaysia, he said.
"A new world order is of course very relative whether you see it from Washington, London or Paris. If you look purely in terms of the change which is welcome, which is phenomenal. No one in their right minds would say it is not something that we welcome, it is painful, the process is painful and brutal as we are seeing in Syria right now but it's a process towards reform, democracy and freedom. Something positive. Dictators and authoritarians must go, there is no question. You must have legitimacy to be able to articulate policies and lead your society," he added.
Friday, 14 December 2012 00:33
Anwar slams US, Obama for "politics of ambivalence": Warns anti-US sentiment on the riseWritten by Wong Choon Mei, Alaa Soleiman,Malaysia Chronicle
Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim has slammed the United States and President Barack Obama for pursuing the "politics of ambivalence", urging Washington to drop its "aggressively" pro-Israeli stance and meet strife-stricken Middle Eastern nations at least half-way over the long-standing Palestinian issue, which he argued was a key factor for the growing anti-US sentiment around the Muslim world.
"People don't hate Americans because of rights or they are Americans but because of the contradictions, the injustices. How can you expect any woman or man who have lived in the era of human rights to accept the crimes committed in the Gaza," Anwar said during an hour-long interview with Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV conducted in Kuala Lumpur on November 20 and aired on December 12
"It is important for the US not to take a blinkered view. [For example] they can choose to disagree with Iran but they must engage with Iran...we talk about nuclear capability, the muslim world is saying why not to Iran and 'yes' to Israel. Why 'yes' to India and 'no' to Pakistan?
"[This is the] politics of ambivalence. On one hand, you talk about democracy and on the other you work with the Mubaraks and the Ben Alis and the Gaddaffis. There is a vast contradiction... the US is perceived to be condoning the excesses and this is continuing mind you.
"You must have consistent coherent policies so that people can trust you.
Obama better than Mitt but still an under-performer in Mid East policy
Anwar, a well-respected figure who frequently tours and lectures around the Muslim world, minced no words when he questioned how the US if it truly "challenges itself as the bastion of democracy and freedom" could close an eye to the mass killings and plight of the innocent, especially women and children, in the Gaza strip.
He urged Obama, whom he rated as being "better than Mitt Romney", to break new ground in US foreign policy by putting greater pressure ad responsibility on Israel to come to the negotiating table with the Middle Eastern nations and on fairer terms.
"My stand is he's better than Mitt Romney in terms of rhetoric in his speech but not in the actions, not in the foreign policy, not in his response to the murder of women and children and killings in the Gaza. This is totally unacceptable."
Aggressive Israel can be reined in by the US
When asked if Obama or the US could rein in the Netanyahu administration, which has been accused of preferring military action rather than dialogue, Anwar pointed out that the US supplied the bulk of financial aid to Israel.
"Of course they (the US) can, they can do it in Afghanistan, they can do it in Iraq. I am not suggesting they go and conquer Iraq which I opposed the war in Iraq. But the US wields a lot influence. Israel is the largest recipient of aid from the US, huge, and the second very very low is Egypt. So can we say there is no influence? We are not even asking [the US] to influence what is improper," he said.
"Without the US, the Israelis will not be able to move."
A practising Muslim, Anwar also took to task the United Nations as well as some parts of the Islamic world including the current Malaysian government for failing to take stronger measures that could contribute to a more sustainable solution for Palestine due to fear of offending the US .
"The position of the Israeli can be considered to be extreme in the sense that all excess and all transgressions of international laws, all plunders and including the Occupation of Palestine seem to be condoned accepted and that seems to be the main contentious issue not only in the Muslim world but the world that believes in freedom and justice. That seems absolutely so difficult. Many of my friends in the administration and past administrations in the United States tell me, Anwar you can debate with them, you can argue with them, you can disagree with them on every subject except the Israeli-Palestinian issue," he said.
"I think the Israelis are misreading the situation purely and plainly because of their complete arrogance of power but my criticism of the Malaysia government's attitude is that nothing has been done except for resolutions and the resolutions seem to ignore the United States so we must also check on the Security Council and the United States because without US assistance, the Israelis will not move in that manner (to attack Palestine).
Don't give up: Vital for the Middle East to engage with the US
The bespectacled Anwar, a former deputy premier whom many Malaysia watchers rate as having a better than even chance of becoming his country's next Prime Minister, also urged Middle Eastern nations not to give in to frustration but to keep trying to engage with the US despite its "hypocrisy" and refusal to rein Israel.
"My position on the US is that you should engage with the US. I meet them, I engage with them but I also know the hypocrisies [behind] some of their policies. In Malaysia, they [the current BN federal government] can cheat in the elections and they [the US] can be muted
"[But] the US remains an important international player. It has its ideal which many of us share on democracy and freedom and justice and if you have the leadership that comes to accept this and has consistent, coherent policies, Muslims are not blikered in their acceptance.
"Just stop the killings, why is it so difficult for a country that is challenges itself as the bastion of democracy and freedom to say, 'whatever the excuses, stop killing the women and the children'. You can't do that and at the same time condone the excesses of the killing on the pretext of protecting your [Israeli] security.
Met with Hamas leader: 'Israeli security' remarks twisted by M'sian media
Anwar, who was accused of supporting Israel's right to security, slammed the government-controlled Malaysian media for twisting his words out of context and blowing up the issue to smear his prestige with Muslim voters ahead of a coming general election.
"There was no controversy. I met Khaled Mashal, the Hamas leader and he didn't even bother to ask me for any explanation," said Anwar, who has slapped a RM100 mil defamation lawsuit against the Utusan newspaper owned by the ruling Umno party.
"I have no problems with Israel contingent and conditional upon them withdrawing their troops from the Occupied Territories... recognizing the Masjid al-Aksa (the largest mosque in Jerusalem) and al-Quds (Jerusalem) and stopping the killings, the plunder, the victimization of the Palestinians. What the Malaysian media did was to cancel all of that and said that I have no problems with the security of Israel."