After 365 days, does Anwar want a mono-ethnic Malaysia or an ethnically diverse Malaysia?

AS HE clocks his first anniversary in office, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as Malaysia’s 10th Prime Minister (PMX) has to make his stand clear whether he still sees “anak Melayu anak saya, anak Cina anak saya, anak India, anak saya, anak Dayak anak saya, anak Kadazan, anak saya”.

Translated into English – in short – the Pakatan Harapan (PH) head honcho has deemed himself as the premier for all Malaysians – not only for one particular race but that of a multi-cultural Malaysia where people of all races and religions contribute to the richness of our cultural diversity.

In a country that is already torn apart because of incessant politicking revolving around the 3R (race, religion and royalty) sentiments, such idealistic stance by PMX has nevertheless won him the solid support of the non-Malay/Muslim community.

Shifting ground?

However, he needs to know that the ground is slowly shifting as more incidents are being played up to cause him to lose non-Malay/Muslim support. PAS lawmakers are focused on bringing their own agenda from Palestine to Shariah-compliant airlines – and anything that suits their political agenda instead of debating about well-being of the country’s economy.

Lawyer and social activist Siti Kasim has recently raised a red flag in what she sees as a systemic transformation of the country into the mould that PAS wants for Malaysia.

Although the issue that she raised is an isolated case of a worker in a Chinese Muslim eatery being dismissed from his job for wearing a Christian cross, this is symptomatic of what is happening all across the country.

In order to isolate him from his non-Muslim supporters, Anwar’s nemeses know that they only have to create situations where he as a pious Muslim cannot be seen going against the teachings of Islam.

Doubtlessly, Anwar is treading carefully in the way he responds to the Islamist party’s attempts to unseat him as seen from the way he rightfully intervened in the Coldplay affair so that the British rock band could perform at a concert last night (Nov 22) (the ‘excuse’ used was that “Coldplay supports the Palestinian cause”).

There were also attempts in the past by PAS to introduce shariah-compliant methods in airlines which was rejected by National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (NUFAM) president Ismail Nasaruddin who countered that “airlines should not face pressure to change”.

Meanwhile, attempts to amend the federal constitution to “give prominence to the Syariah court or Syariah law” has raised some concerns even among Sarawakians, especially when the state boasts more than 60% non-Muslim population.

Non-Muslims have to understand that PMX has to carry out a delicate balancing act to unite the country, a task that is difficult to achieve especially after 66 years of racial politics where May 13 has been used as the bogeyman in fear mongering.

In fact, the so-called racial riot has also been largely acknowledged as a coup d’etat to remove first PM and Malaysia’s founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman. After all, the legacy of twice former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has always revolved around the toppling of one PM after another.

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While Anwar panders towards the whims and fancies of the extremists and falls into the trap of his political enemies, the political coalition that he leads may end up losing a number of seats in the 16th General Election (GE16) slated for 2027.

This is despite with only slightly over 20% of Malays supporting the coalition, PH has won the biggest number of seats with 82 compared to Perikatan Nasional’s (PN) 74 seats – a testament of the backing of non-Malays/Muslims for the PH coalition.

If Anwar is not careful, more woes could await the unity government especially since he has right from 2008 portrayed himself to be more inclusive like the Tunku. Anwar’s removal as PM may pave the way for Malaysia to become a nation where hardliners will reign and light up the path of extremism. – Nov 23, 2023

Main pic credit: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Facebook

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