Is Gaza conflict Anwar’s way of diverting attention from national woes of sorts?

IS IT true that deteriorating economic, political and social situation has predisposed Prime Minister (PM) Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to engage in histrionics?

Here I am referring to the impression created lately that there are powers that are not happy with Anwar for his firm stand on the side of the Palestinians in the present on-going conflict in Gaza.

Certainly, the Malaysian public and I would like to know what Anwar has done to displease the powers to be. As far as I am concerned, Anwar has not done anything out of the ordinary to affirm his support for the 100-year-old Palestinian cause.

He has not done anything beyond what his other predecessors had done during their tenure. At least credit must be accorded to former PM Datuk Seri Najib Razak who visited Gaza to support the Hamas in 2013.

Maybe Anwar can tell us about his contribution to the Palestinian cause that might not be apparent to the public considering that the issuance of threats against Anwar is something that cannot be taken lightly.

The Malaysian police, I understand, have doubled up their efforts to give maximum security to Anwar. The onus is now on Anwar to give details of the threats such as where they are coming from or what he really did to infuriate them to the extent a sitting PM has been threatened.

1,001 lingering questions

If these threats are real and ominous, I don’t see why Anwar wants to exaggerate or lie. In fact, Malaysians must rally behind Anwar.

I might have differences with Anwar on his administration of the country but I am prepared to defend him if threats are hurled against him for taking up the humanitarian cause of the Palestinians.

If earlier PMs had no qualm about supporting Hamas, then why Anwar should be made an exception? So, the question that is foremost in the minds of many is what Anwar really did to alienate those who are threatening him.

However, there is another side to the story of threats against Anwar. Maybe there were no threats but some warnings could have been issued against the country.

Chances are that in order to capitalise on the threats, Anwar himself blew them out of proportion to the extent they were all personalised.

Maybe true, maybe not true. The question is: why would Anwar wants to exaggerate trivial matters? Was there a necessity for this?

Some of his critics are saying that there was no threats against Anwar. On the Palestinian issue, despite his rhetoric, Anwar has not done more than the PMs before him.

Given this, then how do we understand the phenomenon of threats against him? His political enemies who know Anwar well long before he became the PM think that he is pulling a fast one on supposedly threats.

Economy in bad shape

Since there were no threats as such, there could have been the possibility of threats been manufactured or exaggerated to camouflage some of Anwar’s shortcomings in the administration of the country.

It is going to be nearly a year of Anwar being a PM of the country. Although this might be brief to judge his performance, his management of the country thus far leaves much to be desired for.

The economy seems to be in bad shape due to debts amounting to RM1.5 tril. Against this backdrop, the ringgit continues to slide under Anwar’s administration against the greenback.

Whether it is a coincidence or not, 25 years ago when Anwar was the finance minister, the ringgit plummeted to a low level against the US currency.

Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy

This time around, Anwar is not only the PM but also the Finance Minister, a post that he does not want to give up to others. It serves obvious that the position of Finance Minister seems not suitable for Anwar given his other duties.

Elsewhere, the ringgit slide has come at time of severe food shortage in the country. Years of bad economic planning, the non-prioritisation of the agricultural sector, the over emphasis on plantation crops and others were responsible for the current food insecurity. It is not just rice shortage but also other agricultural products.

It is not that Anwar is playing the proverbial flute while the country is suffering but he somehow or rather has the penchant of diverting attention to other matters such as the current conflict in Gaza, according to his detractors.

For Anwar, the Palestinian issue is just not to divert attention but also a factor in ingratiating himself to the Malays on the grounds of Islam.

Since Anwar has no support among the Malays, he hopes that his rhetoric on the genocide against Palestinians and simultaneous demonisation of the Jewish Zionist state might earn him the much-needed political capital. – Oct 31, 2023


Former DAP stalwart and ex-deputy chief minister II of Penang, Prof Ramasamy Palanisamy was also the former Perai state assemblyman.

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

Pics credit: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s Facebook

Subscribe and get top news delivered to your Inbox everyday for FREE