Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Anwar Ibrahim may finally be different


Will Anwar take a different path?


The erstwhile opposition leaders who were critical about Mahathir in the past, have become our cabinet ministers waxing lyrical about their beloved prime minister today. At least, by comparison, Anwar Ibrahim is more of a man of principle

Photo courtesy: Bernama

When the Pakatan Harapan government led by Mahathir was singing in chorus the tune of racism, Anwar hummed a different tune.

In a recent statement made in the Parliament, Anwar said the new government could no longer continue with the 61-year-old race-based policies.

He said the government's future polices must no longer be established upon the foundation of race, but should be more accommodating in a bid to make Malaysia a more equitable nation for all races.

If PH were still an opposition alliance, such a remark could hardly be surprising at all, especially if made at a non-bumi convention.

Now that PH is seated in Putrajaya, this kind of discourse is an absolute rarity.

The much more commonplace are things like:

1. Mahathir said most Chinese Malaysians were loaded, and as such the government's economic policy would be steered towards continuously helping the Malays.

The Malays also deserved more scholarships as Chinese were mostly businessmen who could make a lot of money.

2. Economic affairs minister Azmin Ali said the PH administration must not be hesitant in pushing through its bumi agenda and should not feel apologetic at all so that PH could become the choice party for bumiputras (March 3, 2019).

Sounds like Perkasa's Ibrahim Ali, right?

3. Education minister Maszlee Malik said the government must keep the bumi quota because when the bumis were applying for jobs, they would be turned down by their prospective employers for not being able to speak Mandarin.

He also said we should start talking about the quota issue only after such discrimination was eliminated. (May 17, 2019).

“Private colleges are for the Chinese, because they can afford the fees.”

The 90:10 matriculation quota remains, but bumi students will have 13,500 more places vis-à-vis 1,500 for non-bumis.

Mahathir's ultimate objective is still a grand unity plan for the Malays. He welcomes Umno and PAS to join his PPBM to reinforce the Malay political power.

As for national unity, competitiveness and the vision for the country, they are buried deep after the general elections.

When Malay nationalism and Malay unity are the mainstay in Malaysian politics, Anwar begs to differ, uttering a sober-sounding set of governing principles. But, will Malaysians believe him? Is there any hidden agenda behind such a move? Can we look forward to a New Malaysia under him?

Firstly I'm not here to pour cold water. To be very honest, singing a different tune from the prime minister would require a great deal of courage and some principles.

Lest we forget, the erstwhile opposition leaders who were critical about Dr Mahathir in the past, have become our cabinet ministers who are waxing lyrical about their beloved prime minister today in a way his past deeds and talks appear to have been wholly forgiven or forgotten.

At least, by comparison, Anwar Ibrahim is more of a man of principle.

Secondly, with racism taking the centerstage today, Anwar has pointed out a different direction, that monoracialism is not the only path this country can take. There is another path that works better for all Malaysians and the country's development in future.

As the leader of a multiracial party and possible future prime minister, indeed Anwar can lead the country down this road.

Thirdly, Malaysia is in dire need of a leader with universal values, one who can at least tell the right from the wrong, and white from the black.

However, that does not mean we can unreservedly accept Anwar, as he is after all just another politician. While we look to him for something big, we still need to watch his moves.

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