Mariam Mokhtar: Where is Anwar taking us?

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What is Anwar’s end game?


From ABIM President to Deputy Prime Minister to Jail Bird and now Prime Minister. His party rose from the ashes of Reformasi yet reform does not seem to be on his agenda.

He was elected member of parliament for Tambun because almost 100% of non-Malay votes went to him. Without them, he might have lost because he lost the Malay votes. Since his election, there is nothing I can point to that he has done for the people of Tambun. He has not even tried to help the farmers who were recently evicted by the State Government. But maybe a prime minister is too busy to deal with petty things like the welfare of his constituents.

Let’s look at the big picture. He promised a needs-based affirmative action policy where poor Malays as well as non-Malays will be assisted. Yet race-based policies remain in place.  On the other hand, he has done many things in his short stint as PM that make the non-Malays very nervous.

He has given Jakim more money than he budgeted for spending on helping the rural communities. He has given Jakim more power to influence the direction of our economy than his partners in Party Harapan. He plunged headlong into the Palestine conflict ignoring the possible backlash of American and European sanctions. What will his backing for Hamas signal to potential foreign investors?

His use of small children in his crusade against Israel was ill-thought-out. It certainly got a lot of publicity even if most were negative.

He thought his commitment to Hamas would win him brownie points with Muslims in the country. It failed to deliver Malay votes, going by the thrashing UMNO got in the Kemaman by-elections. It has not taken the wind out of PAS’s sails.

He sends money to Palestine when poor Malaysians go without. But what does all this do for our country as a whole, barring the syok factor for Malays?

Anwar must remember he is no longer the young firebrand ABIM President. As prime minister, he cannot act like a student leader leading a protest.

A wiser head would have still protested and made his point on Palestine but at the same time looked after the broader interests of the country. Even the most passionate supporters of Hamas; at the end of the day, have bills to pay, and we need jobs and investments; alienating our major trading partners the US and Europe is shooting ourselves in the foot.

If as it seems, Anwar is not prepared to implement needs-based policies which would have been a first baby step towards a united nation of equal citizens, can we assume he wants to retain the status quo – the never-ending privileges for Malays? Before you knee-jerk react and cry foul, I am on record as a supporter of Article 153 of our Constitution. What I am against is the abuse of Article 153 both in spirit and in implementation.

His “green” credentials plus his shift in the direction of the Conservatives, Malay Nationalists and Islamists do not augur well for Bangsa Malaysia.

Politicians exist on votes therefore it is pertinent to ask what is the end game of the Malay Conservatives and Islamists or for that matter that of Malays in general. How Malays regard the future of the country – as a Malay nation or a multi-racial secular Malaysian nation as intended by our founding fathers, matters a great deal.

We often talk of the silent majority – the liberal, tolerant and fair Malay Malaysians who want a Malaysian Malaysia. Is it a product of our wishful thinking? Do they exist? I am beginning to wonder.

There are the usual few “dissenters”- voices in the wilderness, but by no stretch of the imagination can they be considered the “silent majority”. There are definitely no voices from Malay political leaders calling for a united Malaysia; not even from the next generation of Malay leaders like Rafizi, Nurul Izzah or Syed Siddiq who have remained silent on Bangsa Malaysia.

Has Anwar decided that his political future lies in out-Islamising PAS, be the “jaguh kampong” rather than “jaguh negara”?

Is total domination the end game of Malays where non-Malays remain second class, living here at the pleasure of the Tuan; guests without proprietorial rights to the house (which they helped to build) and expected to take what is given and be thankful for it?

Post Tunku every prime minister has been Malay first and Malaysian second. They only vary in degrees. Is Anwar any different? – Rebuilding Malaysia