CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

CENTRE for POLICY ANALYSIS

“Social progress can be measured by the social position of the female sex” - Karl Marx

ARTICLE


The Rise and Fall of the Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim


Former deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, as he is known in Malaysia, was pardoned last week by Yang di- Pertuan Agong, the head of the state, on the request of the newly constituted government of Pakatan Harapan coalition under the new premier Mahathir Bin Mohammad. He was given a full pardon recently so that he could restart his political journey without a hitch, because, otherwise, a jailed political leader, as per Malaysian law, cannot return to politics for five years post-their release. This is the best gift Anwar Ibrahim could have been offered on the eve of Ramadan.

Seeking a royal pardon for Anwar Ibrahim was pre-decided when the new opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope)- a constituent of four parties such as People's Justice Party or Parti Keadilan Rakayat (PKR), Democratic Action Party (DAP), Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM), informally known as BERSATU and National Trust Party or Parti Amanah Negara(AMANAH)- was formed to take on the scandal ridden Najib in the recently held 14th general election.

In view of its historic shock victory, as agreed upon, the nonagenarian Prime Minister Dr. Mahathir after his swearing in immediately proposed a royal pardon to the present elected constitutional monarch Muhammad-V for the release of Anwar Ibrahim who was once his arch political rival turned ally now for trumped up charges as claimed by Anwar Ibrahim, human rights groups and his supporters. His tumultuous political journey ended after the royal pardon, paving way for reinventing his political strategies and striving towards transformative politics in Malaysia. Now, he is the Prime Minister in waiting after the two years of reign by foe turned ally Mahathir.

Chequered Political Journey

Seventy-year-old Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim was born in the year 1947 in the state of Penang. He has been complimented highly as a talented orator in both Malay and English since his days of involvement in student politics. As a student he served as the president of the National Union of Malaysian Muslim students from 1968 to 1971 and also as a co-founding member and the second president of a youth Islamic organization titled Angkatan Belia Islam Malaysia (ABIM). It is clear that his radical politics dates back very far, as he was arrested under Internal Security Act without trial and spent 20 months in a detention centre for his student activism. He shocked his liberal supporters in 1981 by joining with conservative UMNO during Dr. Mahathir who was the president of UMNO and the Prime Minister.

Since then, his meteoric rise of political career started until his fallout with Mahathir in the year 1998. He was offered various coveted positions in his cabinet beginning with minister for culture, youth and sports, agriculture and education and eventually became the deputy prime minister and finance minister. Due to differences with him over handling the major Asian financial crisis plagued the Malaysian economy; he was suddenly sacked by him in the year 1998. In the following year, he was arrested by Mahathir for the charges of corruption and sodomy being sentenced to six years in prison.

Meanwhile after his ouster from the UMNO, Ibrahim founded the Reformasi Movement by mobilizing disgruntled sections of UMNO in favor of political reforms. This eventually led to the formation of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PR), also known as the People's Justice Party in 2003 which merged the National Justice Party and the older Malaysian People's Party. After he was released from jail in 2004 as the sodomy conviction was overturned, he became the de facto leader of the then opposition party People's Alliance also known as Pakatan Rakyat (PR) comprising parties like PKR, DAP and PAS. He was the driving force for the formation of strong opposition force by stitching together the various political opposition groups of Malaysia. The re-entry of Anwar into politics diminished the electoral base of the long ruling BN coalition in the 2008 and 2013 general elections. While he was gaining his popularity and strength, he was again sentenced for nine years in the year 2015 on sodomy charge appeal case, leading to arrest of him by then Prime Minister Najib.

In 2018, his party now being led by his wife Wan Azizah Wan Ismail joined hands with former his arch rival Mahathir under the newly constituted Pakatan Harapan swept the election, resulted in the formation of the first opposition government in Malaysia after the six decades rule of the BN coalition.

Initially, though he was a Malay nationalist when he was in the fold of UMNO, later, he has become an icon or champion of multi-racial politics in Malaysia, after becoming a political dissent.

He has been a voice for moderate global Islam, against the violations of human rights in the case of Sri Lanka and ardently supporting the cause of Palestine and so on.

Tasks at hand

Steering his coalition to a landslide victory being in the back stage, his coalition looks like a formidable political force as of now to bringing in desired social change in Malaysian political landscape. In this respect, he has to embrace upon various, drastic political strategies to cleanse the existing faulty system, but with devoid of vendetta politics.

Political immunity is a common feature in Malaysian politics, so, to get rid of this, an independent judiciary is need of the hour. As he himself was the political victim of all these years, he should make sure that the political influences on the governing institutions should be curtailed with an iron hand by giving more autonomy to the various organs of the government like judiciary, Executive and so on. Malaysian economy has been staggering for quite some time; he has to pull back its downslide by plugging in various loopholes to put the economy on right track. His fight against rampant systemic corruption of Malaysia should see the light during his reign by bringing in various effective mechanisms. Under the six decades of UMNO led BN rule, Institutional racism has crept into the governing institutions. So, the main task is institutional reforms for democratization, political stability and taking country forward to realize the vision 2020. Without any cosmetic changes, he should push for long term administrative reforms. He should ensure that the rule of law prevails under his regime.

As he is leading a concoction of various ideological groups as part of his coalition, it should not face any further splits in course of time, so, major policy and strategic decisions should be taken in consultation with his partners through consensus building process to avoid any political fallout. Further, being a major player in the coalition, no big brotherly attitude at all towards its other minor partners of the coalition as like UMNO led Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition in the past is an imperative for the political stability.

He has to rebuild his party to become a credible force of multi-racial politics by extending its sphere of influence with the Chinese and the Indian ethnic minority communities of Malaysia and the Malay majority further.

The Islamic fundamentalist party like PAS that stands for political Islam has regained his political strength in the recently held 14th general election. So, he should take steps to address the anxieties and concerns of the conservative Malays who are strongholds of PAS. As observed, he wields a strong charismatic appeal with the urban voters of all races of Malaysia in comparison with the rural counterparts, so should try to capture the political imagination of the rural voters of Malaysia especially rural Malays.

He stands up for the ideals like social justice, anti-corruption, moderate Islam and Malaysia for all Malaysians. He should follow these ideals in letter and in spirit without any compromises and political maneuvers. The most marginal and the oppressed Indian ethnic minority look upon him as 'saviour' to resolve their overdue economic plight. He should take drastic steps for the empowerment of the community. As Malaysia needs an overhaul on various fronts due to the prevalence of entrenched race politics for six decades, at least, he needs to carry out the much needed reforms during this reign without any delay. He is considered as a 'beacon of hope' by all Malaysians; he has got a chance now to prove that through his new avatar as the head of the government. Let us repose our faith and confidence on him given his progressive, liberal political ideals that he stands for now.


ARTICLE

  • The Taj That is India
  • The BJP and Triple Talaq
  • Rohingya: A People Condemned!
  • GLOBALISATION IS THE NEW COLONISATION
  • 9 Key Qs Raised on First Day of Aadhaar Hearing in the Supreme Court
  • A Critical Analysis of Delhi's Human Development Index
  • 3 Army Divisions For 300 Terrorists In JK But No End to Violence: Certainly the Answer Does Not Lie in Force
  • TWO CENTURIES OF BHIMA KOREGAON
  • 'It is Not the Left But the Congress That's the B-Team of the BJP'
  • Kasganj: A Story of People's Unity Fractured by Engineered Hate and Violence
  • Invisible Children Of Delhi
  • India 81 in Corruption Index, Amongst the "Worst Offenders"
  • Economists Hit Out Against Move to Privatise Public Sectors Banks
  • Tripura Trades Decency For False Eldorado
  • Syria's Bloody War
  • Pakistan And China Fill Space In Maldives Willfully Vacated By India
  • The Big Private Crop Insurance Scam: Farmers Par Premium of Rs 482, Receive Rs 5 as Insurance!
  • US Attack on Syria Violates International Law, Total Hypocrisy
  • Death Penalty Is Not The Answer To Sexual Violence: Implement Justice Verma Committee Report
  • Walls on Every Side: Trying to Get Data in India
  • The Ascent of Multi-Politics In Malaysia
  • Why the Objections to Marxism are Mistaken
  • The Rise and Fall of the Malaysian Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim
  • BDS Has Placed Israel on Notice
  • CURTAIN RAISER: ELECTIONS IN PAKISTAN
  • Can We Promote Peace in India, Today?
  • Burying The Two-State Solution
  • Corruption And Class Rule
  • Is Ethnic Cleansing Coming to India
  • Our Real Heroes
  • Confronting Journalism's Misogynistic Trolls
  • ASSESSING THE RETURN OF AN UNLIMITED PRESIDENCY
  • After 17 Years of War, A Peace Movement Grows in Afghanistan
  • Taking Play Seriously: Time to Make Sports A Fundamental Right!
  • Law Commission Publishes Consultation Paper on Sedition
  • Foreign Policy: Between Folly and Foibles
  • Suu Kyi's Continued Denial And Bangladesh's
  • Economy Crumbles as Fuel Prices Skyrocket, Household Budgets Hit
  • Rupee's New Low: A Dangerous Drift
  • Are We Still Ruled by The British?
  • From Anti-National to Urban Naxal: The Trajectory of Dissent in India
  • Learning the Power of Lies: Facts vs. Falsehoods in the Age of Trump
  • The Indian Economy is in a Tailspin
  • China Walks a Tightrope on The Uighur Muslim Issue
  • Is Ram Mandir a Mere Election Strategy of the BJP?
  • The Harsher Counters of India's Drug Legislations
  • BJP's Election Strategy: Data is the New Opium
  • Geographical Indication - India's Untapped Resource
  • Climate Change to Make Prediction of Furious Storms More Difficult
  • Mountain echoes for India
  • Maldives: Has the Wheel Turned Full Circle?
  • President Sirisena Needs to be Reached Sooner Rather Than Later
  • Plastic Pollution in India
  • Prejudice by Any Name
  • 29 Years After Fall of Berlin Wall, Europe Has 1,000 Km of Walls to Stop Migrants
  • The Leftover Women of Afghanistan
  • Harmony of Music and Politics of Silencing
  • The Economics of Policy: Prohibition and Free Water Supply
  • Threat to Democracy in the Age of Social or Anti-Social Media
  • Intellectual Property- A Vital Discipline
  • What Happened in Britain, and What's Next
  • Assembly Debacle: BJP Got Taken in by Its Own Fake News
  • India: Secular Democracy or Hindu Rashtra
  • Adani is Byword for Government's Climate Inaction as Australia Gears for Elections
  • How The Modi Government is Killing Off MGNREGS
  • The Year of the Gazan
  • Assembly Polls: Ten Crucial Takeaways Ahead of 2019
  • The Real Effects of Fake Propaganda on Migrants
  • Why NGOs in Pakistan Are at The Brink of Extinction
  • Dogged by Brexit
  • In My Own Voice: Citizenship Amendment Bill And You
  • Oil Giant Shell Finally Faces Its Day In Court For Complicity In Rapes And Murders in Nigeria
  • The Geopolitics of Pulwama
  • Shah Faesal Cuts Through Calls for Blood and Lays Out a Roadmap for Kashmir
  • Modi's ABC: Avoiding, Burying, Confusing
  • The Kashmir Question: A 'Made in India' Problem
  • Opposition Must Take a Stand Against the War Politics of Hindutva
  • 'Patriotism' Made Easy in Times of 'WhatsApp Elections'
  • Urban Poor Have Set Agenda for 2019 Elections
  • Will the US End Up Putting Sanctions on Every Country That Doesn't Bend to its Will?
  • Minority and Indigenous Women Human Rights Activists More Prone to Harassment UN Report
  • Tribute to Speaker Rabi Ray (1926-2017)
  • International Participation is Necessary Where State is Part of The Problem
  • Italy Takes Belt and Road to The Heart of Europe
  • The Legacy of Shaheed-e-Azam
  • In My Own Voice: Heroes or Hiroshima
  • The Modi Years
  • Election in Israel: A Race to the Bottom
  • Why Bangladesh Overtook Pakistan
  • Digital Monopoly Platforms, Modi Regime and Threat to Our Democracy
  • Elitism and Development
  • Jawaharlal Nehru and Organised Religion
  • A Brief History of the IUML and Kerla's Muslims
  • The Immunisation of Human Rights
  • How Can India Win The Struggle on Poverty?
  • The RSS's Chanakya Neeti
  • Diversity, Belonging and Multiculturalism
  • The Chinese Ambition
  • The Role City Govts Can Play in the Health of Citizens
  • Dr. Saifuddin Kitchlew: Forgotten Warrior of Our Freedom Movement
  • Fighting Climate Change, Building Resilience
  • Mridula Sarabhai(the orignal anti-national)
  • Right to Education: A Dream Half Forgotten
  • Decoding One Nation One Poll
  • Tunisia Heads for Polls Amidst Economic Slowdown, Squsbbling and Crack Down on Islamic Extremist
  • Lynchings, Litchis and No Water: What the International Media is Saying Abount India
  • Blood in the Nile
  • Will the BNP Ever Again be a Major Political Force in Bangladesh?
  • 'Real Estate Brokers' Cannot Dampen The Palestinian Spirit
  • The Indian Liberal's Conundrum
  • Hope For Democracy in Sudan
  • In Depth: Water Crisis Looming Across Tamil Nadu
  • Missing Secularism in New Education Policy
  • Religion, Nationalism And Insurgency in Balochistan
  • Dim Lights, Closed Blinds: History Lessons From a Party in Power
  • Loan Waivers Need Better Designing to Prevent Farmer Suicides
  • Makimg Best Use of Sri Lanka's Strategic Location
  • FDI in Coal: Look Who's Coming to the Party
  • Weapons and the Never Ending Space Race
  • Thirty Years the Berlin Wall Brought Down
  • Reclaiming the Opposition and Political Space in India
  • An Interreligious Conference to Build Bridges in Sri Lanka
  • On 'Correcting' History and Akbar's Invasion of Kashmir
  • The Evolution of the 'Nobel Prize' in Economics
  • Close Coordination Between Turkey and Russia in Syria
  • Sri Lanka's Election Time Promises Costly to Keep
  • The India Economy and The Cobra Effect
  • Fascism: Is Liberal Use "Trivialising" This "Destructive Phenomenon?"
  • Treating the Poor as Development Guinea Pigs
  • A Not sp 'National Education Policy: Analysis Reveals Exclusion in Education Sector
  • University Fee Hikes Pave the Way for Selling Public Assets
  • The Truth About Middle Class 'Revolutions?
  • 50 Years of US Arms Trade: The Lasting Impact on West Asia
  • India Abjures Secularism in Bangladesh's View, Will Regional Cooperation Take a Hit?
  • Amidist Resistance to "De-Tribalisation", A Look at Why Jharkhand Polls are More Critical Than They Appear
  • The Dangerous Game of Citizenship: BJP Creates Divisive Agenda Through NRC
  • Revealed: US Losing Aghan War Due to "Fatally Flawed" War Strategies and Lack of Clear Objetives
  • 'Politics and Prejudice': Can Dalit-Bahujans and left Progressives Join Hands?
  • State Power's Attempts at Rewriting History
  • Afghanista's Tumultous Fourty-Year Journey
  • Nepal: Citizen's Needs Remain Sidelined as Turbulent Game of Politics Continues
  • "Enough is Enough": Secular India Revolts Against a " Majoritarian State"
  • Looking at Cuba's Revolution 61 Years On
  • Soleimani Murder Set to Spiral Out of Control, US Expected to Pressure India Under LEMOA
  • The Rise of Digital Media and The Viral Phenomenon of "Nowledge"
  • Thus Spake JP: Beware the Writing on the Wall
  • Sri Lankan Government Must Pay Attention to Problem-Solving in the North
  • Drowning Nation Clutches at Military Might?
  • India's Neighbourhood First Policy Crumbles
  • A Gobal Assault by the Far-Right
  • Delhi Riots: Historical Patterns, Complicity of Forces Point to Planned Violence
  • Behind The Protests Defending Public Education
  • Putting The Judiciary on Trial
  • "Sanctions Are a Crime": During Coronavirus Pandemic, Sanctions Against Iran, Venezuela Causing Medical Shortages
  • Social Messiahs or Smart Entrepreneurs?
  • Justice Gogoi Joining Rajya Sabha Points to a Constitutional Crisis
  • A Russian "Plays Long Game" Firewall for Venezuela Against US Sanctions
  • RSS and the Question of Morality
  • Establishing COVID-19 Hospitals in Record Time
  • A New "Medical Internationalism" Needed: Cuba At the Pandemic Frontlines Even As Wealthy States Neglect Healthcare
  • Why They Suffer: The Human/Animal Conflict
  • More Books and Snowy Mornings
  • Statesmanship Required to Avert Constitutinal Crisis in Sri Lanka
  • Combating 'Hate Virus': Communal Forces Divide in times of Global Pandemin
  • How Biometric Authentication Has Excluded MAny From The Public Distribution System
  • Lessons From Iraq: Before Trump Sues China, US Must pay for Unjust War on Iraq
  • The American War System And The Global 'War of Error'
  • Demilitarising Patriotism in The Covid Fight
  • Muslims Need a Fair Media
  • Sri-Lanka: Shock of Covid-19 Wanes, Nationalist Sentiments Rise as Elections Approach
  • Covid-19 in Brazil: A 21st Century 'Reenactment' of the 19th Century Yellow Fever?
  • Iran's Fuel Tankers for Venezuela Sail to Safety Under 'Chinese Shield'
  • US Protests Bear Lessons For Sri Lanka
  • India and Nepal in For A Prolonged Standoff?
  • The Fifth Schedule: Tribal Advisory Councils and International Perspectives
  • The Asian American Response to Pandemic-Era Racism Must Be Cross-Racial Solidarity
  • Is Police Brutality Exclusive to the USA?
  • Libya's Future Seema to Rest on Arrangements Between Russia And Turkey
  • China's strategic Mind And Method: "Long-Term Planning" Behind Country's Geo-Political Moves
  • Returning Migrants: A Boon For Rural Industrialisation?
  • Why Refugees in Greece Are Afraid of the Word 'Camp'''
  •