Anwar’s Latest Attempt at Racial Polarisation: Dangerous and Pathetic
At his latest illegal rally in Johor Bahru, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim apparently did not merely call for a popular uprising against the Government. He also allegedly said that Hindraf, his political ally in 2007 and 2008 whom Pakatan Rakyat snubbed for no apparent reason in 2013, "is basically the Indian version of Perkasa", the Malay supremacy group, and calling both "extremist".
All because Hindraf chairman P. Waythamoorthy grew tired of being used as a prop by Anwar and accepted an appointment as Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department.
In the historical context of Anwar's rhetoric, the absurdity of Anwar's claims is not all that great. This is a man who fled to the Turkish Embassy when the Sodomy II allegations were levelled, claiming that the Government was trying to assassinate him. This is a man who promised in 2011 that Malaysia would soon see its own 'Arab Spring'.
In September 2008, he claimed he had enough crossover votes to form a new government. On election night 2013, he claimed he had won Putrajaya before the votes had even been tallied.
And of course at the rally in Johor, he suggested that the Government is using "tanks and guns" to oppress Malaysians, a statement that would doubtless surprise those gun- and tank-less police injured by the rioters Anwar allegedly unleashed at Bersih 3.0 in April 2012.
But in the context of today's politics and the racial polarisation of the rakyat, Anwar's rhetoric is crossing quickly from protected speech into racial incitement. Where Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has called for national unity and reconciliation, Anwar is claiming that a Hindu rights group with whom he openly allied for half a decade is a racist force.
In a subsequent interview, de facto Hindraf leader P. Uthayakumar rubbished Anwar's claims. "In 2007, during the height of Hindraf's activism, Datuk Seri Anwar actually endorsed Hindraf.
"He personally appeared in Klang Magistrate Court to lend support for myself and other Hindraf leaders on Nov 26, 2007 when we were charged for sedition. ... I want to know what racism in his definition is? Is it racist when we are fighting for the basic rights of the poor Hindus in this country?" he demanded.
He also noted Pakatan's notorious failure to address issues surrounding the Hindu community in the coalition-led states in its manifesto and the lead-up to GE13.
Anwar's illegal rallies and racial incitement are by now fairly clearly another ploy to be arrested and charged with sedition and racial incitement. Anwar is clever enough to understand that his ability as a nuts-and-bolts leader is very low, but his value as a symbol and martyr is much higher.
Anwar was open about this at his most recent illegal rally in Seremban. "I want to tell you...let (them) record this and hand it over to the Home Minister and the Prime Minister. Whatever your plan...to arrest me and to charge me because Anwar is a traitor," he is reported to have said.
Ordinarily, we would counsel that Anwar be ignored. Like a child acting out, Anwar will only continue his behaviour the more attention he is given. Most of Pakatan Rakyat have moved on from the cries of fraud: PAS have accepted the election results, and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang has of late pointedly refused to join in Anwar's cries for a 'Malaysian Spring', talking instead of court challenges, as would any responsible Opposition leader.
However, this latest increase in his rhetoric is as dangerous as it is delusional. Malaysia risks a level of racial polarisation that would tear apart most countries. Giving Pakatan's stated belief in racial harmony and equality, calling an Indian rights group "extremist" and racist out of mere politics is too much.
Anwar is making the case for Transparency International (Malaysia) founder and former DAP vice-chairman Tunku Abdul Aziz Tunku Ibrahim's calls for a government crackdown on the rallies, and for Anwar to get on his "rickety political bicycle and ride into the sunset."
Najib has recognised the danger of racial polarisation and redoubled his efforts at national unity in the wake of GE13. No matter his political ambitions, Anwar must do this as well.
If not, he must be prepared for the consequences of his attempt to further divide Malaysia by race.
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Intolerance is rampant at every level and in all age groups of the society, but it is more visible amongst the younger generation as our youth can be seen losing their altitude of patience over petty issues. We seriously need to think over it as what we are going to inculcate in them, which may help them seek success in future. Will it be tolerance or intolerance?
By Samra Arshad
International Conference "Expose War Crimes – Criminalise War"
“Wars increasingly involve the killings of innocent people and are therefore, abhorrent and criminal. Killings in war are as criminal as the killings within societies in times of peace. Since killings in peace time are subject to the domestic law of crime, killings in war must likewise be subject to the international law of crimes. This should be so irrespective of whether these killings in war are authorised or permitted by domestic laws.”