Mariam Mokhtar: Anwar’s review of Tommy Thomas’ book was full of waffle

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There are many politicians in Malaysia, who like to do the equivalent of “blinding us with science”. Their talks are presented in a complicated way, with a lot of name-dropping (philosophers, poets, writers, statesmen) and the use of technical jargon or long words.

With the right audience (meaning Malay/Muslim), out come the long Arabic phrases. Are these meant to impress us?

One such politician is the Opposition leader and prime-minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim.

He has the habit of littering his speeches with a lot of unnecessary quotes, and the long list of names, as if to show-off that he is well-read, or an intellectual. Why can’t he keep things simple?

More importantly, why did Anwar have to insult the rakyat’s intelligence, when he reviewed Tommy Thomas’ book?

The memoir written by the former attorney-general, Tommy Thomas, besmirched many reputations, but not his own. Those who claimed to be upset or sit on the fence, like Anwar, probably have something to hide.

On his Facebook page, Anwar begins his review by insulting the rakyat with his comment, that Thomas’ book, “…recently hit the streets and thanks perhaps to the public’s yearning for sensational news about anything other than the coronavirus or new SOPs, has been selling like hot cakes.”

Reuters

No, Anwar! You are clearly misguided or have misread the public. Malaysians are not looking for sensationalism. Malaysians want an honest account of the workings of the state, not more excuses.

Thomas made some interesting revelations about former judge Hamid Omar and proved Hamid’s damning role in the Constitutional Crisis of 1988. It was one of the darkest moments in Malaysian history. It also shows how easy it is to corrupt members of the judiciary. What has Anwar to say about this?

For several decades, Malaysia has been plagued by an inefficient government, corrupt politicians, mediocrity, a lack of transparency, cover-ups, threats and bullying. Affirmative action policies have given rise to a civil service which lacks integrity, and principle. Has Anwar forgotten that he was once part of the Umno hierarchy, until he was swept-off his pedestal?

Thomas is not stupid. Why would he make things up just to sensationalise his book? Perhaps Anwar is pandering to the Malays in his perpetual bid to remain a career politician.

Anwar’s verbose and lengthy criticism of the book, on his Facebook page, is a novella in itself. What is the use of flowery fluffy language, and quoting the poets John Milton and Robert Frost? There is no need to impress us with his literary knowledge.

Can Anwar remember how we were embarrassed by the performance of government lawyers during the inquests for Teoh Beng Hock, fireman Adib Muhammad and Mongolian model Altantuya Shaarriibuu? Can he recall how the former AG Apandi Ali did not think the felon Najib Abdul Razak was guilty? Is Anwar not furious that former Sabah Chief Minister, Musa Aman, was given a full acquittal by the current AG, despite the allegations of large-scale corruption?

Malaysians are not daft. They realise that Thomas did not insult all civil servants, as he was full of praise for his team and those with whom he enjoyed a working relationship.

Anwar may have forgotten that Malaysia is a multicultural country. He may have neglected to realise that many of our youth have seen that Malay leaders had brought the country to its knees, long before the Coronavirus pandemic.

To revive the economy, all Malaysians, from all sections of the community, must work together, and be helped by a clean, efficient, hardworking civil service. Thomas realises that race and religion are detrimental to the nation. Does Anwar?

The obsolete former PM and nonagenarian, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Anwar, the current Attorney-General, the former AG, Apandi Ali, and a host of other Malay leaders, politicians and individuals have been upset by the revelations in Thomas’ book.

134 police reports have been lodged against Thomas. This is a waste of police resources, time and manpower.

Why don’t his critics work on the shortcomings mentioned instead of issuing police reports and lawsuits?

Thomas’ experience of the civil service is what most of us have experienced too. The only thing is that Thomas probably saw it in greater detail than some of us. More importantly, he put to paper what most if not all of us know, to be true. At least, Thomas has shown what areas could be worked on, or reformed, to show improvement. Will Anwar acknowledge this, or will he continue to pander to the Malay masses, especially those in the civil service?

The country has yet to see a leader who is not afraid to speak the unvarnished truth. We are desperate for a leader who has the courage to say what has to be said and is eager to make a difference, to effect real change and meaningful reform.

So far, we have had a succession of leaders who only show us that they have not lost their Umno genetic make-up

We expect Anwar to use ghostwriters, but he should get better ones. This one has made a hash of the review of Thomas’ book.

For instance, Churchill’s original wartime quote during the Battle of Britain was, “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”, meaning that the general population owed so much to the Air Force pilots who fought off wave after wave of attacks from the Lutwaffe.

So, what did Anwar mean when he paraphrased Churchill’s quote, “… never in the field of memoirs have so much been written by so many about so few”?

Anwar continues to pander to the Malay masses, so he may as well say goodbye to his desire to be the PM of Malaysia.

A man, who cannot see how race and religion are driving the nation into the ground, is not fit to be an MP, let alone a PM. – Rebuilding Malaysia