Activist claims Anwar Ibrahim’s controversial meeting with royals was a power play to strengthen his hand with Dr Mahathir Mohamad, and that Malaysians know it.
Fadiah Nadwa Fikri, the activist currently under investigation for sedition, says Malaysians are not naive about why PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim met with royalty shortly after his release from prison two months ago.
Fadiah, 35, from Alor Setar, Kedah, whose sedition probe has begun because of her comments on the issue, said Anwar did so because he believed getting the support of the Malay sultans would help keep him in the prime minister’s good books as Dr Mahathir Mohamad himself has a somewhat strained relationship with the monarchy.
Or was Anwar simply currying favour with the sultans?
Fadiah, a legal officer with the C4 group (Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism), wrote on Malaysia Muda, a blog she co-founded to challenge the status quo by airing controversial issues, that Anwar’s recent kissing of Johor ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar’s hand was perpetuating an “indefensible feudal culture”.
Reiterating her point to FMT, Fadiah said Anwar’s actions were proof that the past hype from him about freedom and the greater good was nothing but rhetoric to garner support from voters and to bolster his standing in the new political era.
She said he now found it in his interests to backpedal on some of his previous positions and appeared quite willing to do so.
“What Anwar did reflects our current political culture: politicians will still do whatever it takes to ensure that their current and future positions in power are secure, thus perpetuating the feudalism that runs deep in Malaysian politics,” she added. “There has been no proper change yet.”
Fadiah said she was not naive enough to believe that politicians would ever come to the rescue of their electorate against their own best interests. However, she said she was nonetheless disappointed in Anwar and felt betrayed by his actions as she had supported him in the past and had high hopes for real change in the country.
Despite being called in by the police for her statement to be taken, Fadiah is showing no signs of backing down. In fact, she plans to write more articles critiquing the powers that be, including Anwar and the monarchy, and calling it as she sees it – wherever that may lead in the sedition stakes.
It could be a perilous path to follow, but she says she is drawing strength from the support and solidarity she has received.
“I am so glad we can talk about things these days. I don’t want to impose my views on anyone, just to stimulate discussion of previously taboo issues, and perhaps be instrumental in bringing real, positive change.”
She also said it was ironic that in the past, she had supported those accused of sedition but now found herself in that very situation.
“Malaysians can no longer be punished for talking about issues deemed controversial to the state. Institutions have to be held accountable by the people,” she said.
“In light of this reality, it is imperative that people use their new freedom to critique those holding power. Malaysians have to reclaim the true meaning of democracy – power for the people and by the people. Otherwise, we will be complicit in perpetuating the inevitable abuse of power.
“I expected more people to voice their disquiet about Pakatan Harapan not abolishing the Sedition Act,” she added.
“We must continually remind the new government to keep its promises because we cannot rely on our political overlords to bring about necessary change without our continual prodding.
“We must mobilise our collective energy to build a just and progressive Malaysia for everyone.”
Fadiah is expected to be questioned by the police again in the coming weeks. – FMT