3 tell-tale signs make Indians wonder if Anwar is the same leader that they and others once trusted

THREE incidents in the recent past that occurred one after other seem to suggest that the unity government is not for the non-Malays or for that matter, not even for the Malays.

The Malays by virtue of overwhelmingly supporting the Perikatan Nasional (PN) coalition had rejected the Pakatan Harapan-Barisan Nasional (PH-BN) alliance.

As such, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim needs very much support to ingratiate himself with the political Islam has basically insulted the non-Malays in general and the Indian community in particular.

First, the incident in which a PKR re-elected state assemblyman in Selangor made a racist statement against the Indians was enough to decrease Indian voter turnout in the recent state elections particularly in Selangor.

Second, Anwar’s condescending rude reply to an Indian student about the necessity to continue the quota system of entry into the matriculation programme was not something acceptable to Indians in general.

Indians expected that Anwar would give reply that will be based on wisdom and the concerns of the Indian community especially on educational matters. It was unbecoming of him as a national leader to tell the student that her question would spook the Malays.

The third incident was a very recent one. It was beyond imagination that Anwar actually performed the conversion of a Hindu youth to Islam in a mosque in Klang. No other prime ministers (PM) before Anwar had done this.

Anwar might be a pious Muslim but why the necessity to convert a Hindu youth? What was so special about this conversion that needed Anwar? He could just be a witness to the conversion ceremony conducted by the relevant religious authority or simply politely turn down the youth’s request for him to conduct the conversion ceremony.

Wrong signal

Was Anwar sending the message that religions other than Islam cannot co-exist with Islam? Or if Anwar was sending a subtle message to the non-Muslims that conversion is the answer to disunity in Malaysia.

The loss of Anwar’s face in the recently concluded state elections is beyond doubt. He realises that political Islam is here to stay, hence maintaining the present status-quo might not be able to contain the conservative forces of political Islam.

The alternative is to do something to slow down the juggernaut of political Islam as embodied in PN and related organisations. It was thought that the logical move was on the part of Anwar to move to the right to deflect the ominous forces of the right.

Such a move was thought in terms of policy measures in the economic realm, not so much the cultural question. However, Anwar baffled the non-Muslims and Muslims by adopting a crude form by engaging in the conversion of a Hindu youth.

To give him benefit of doubt, Anwar might not have thought that the conversion process would hurt the feelings and sentiments of the Indian community who are predominantly Hindus.

It is not that other religious officials cannot perform the ritualistic conversion. Whatever can be said, the conversion could be interpreted as an insult and shame to the Indian or Hindu community in Malaysia.

How can the Indian community continue to support Anwar in the future when he openly insults them? He has no regard for them, their religion, their culture and as citizens of the country.

These three incidents are enough to suggest that Anwar has little or no respect for the Indian community whose ancestors had sacrificed so much for the well-being of the country.

He has completely forgotten the past Indian support for PH in the 2018, during last November’s 15th General Election (GE15) and the recently concluded six state polls. Not to mention the Indian support towards his 1998 reformasi movement.

It is clear that Anwar with power and without power, seems to be two different persons. Maybe he is a Machiavellian in the making whose ends justify the means.

A time has come for Indians and others to think about their future in the country. Can Anwar be trusted to lead the non-Malays out of the present despair and predicament? – Aug 19, 2023


Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy is the former DAP state assemblyman for Perai. He is also the former deputy chief minister of Penang.

The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.

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