Infernal Ramblings
A Malaysian Perspective on Politics, Society and Economics

Anwar Worship: The Wrong Track

Written by johnleemk on 9:27:18 am Jun 5, 2005.

Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, has been upheld by many parties as a righteous man capable of taking the helm and steering Malaysia towards a brighter future. His violent arrest and detention, they say, is only proof that this man who supposedly endangers the Malaysian status quo of corruption and communalism posed a serious threat towards the ruling government's hegemony. Unfortunately, this hype appears to have obscured the true facts about Anwar and his supposedly capable leadership.

First of all, Anwar as education minister implemented a hopelessly useless moral education program. The fellow even had the cheek to declare that it would inculcate Islamic values in non-Muslim students, as if Malaysians could not be morally upright without being Muslim. But more than that, the implementation has been disastrous. Some of the most dishonest and immoral people I know can get As for Moral Education without breaking a sweat. The grading is far too geared towards an academic one-off test of what you "know" about morals.

In the first place, the syllabus itself assumes there can be only one definition of morals, and only a limited few ways of practising them. That is all that is tested; one definition of a moral value, and a few ways of practising moral values. If the wording is off just a little bit, you lose marks. If when presented with a situation of someone owning up to a mistake, and you name the moral value as trustworthiness instead of honesty, you lose marks. And we're supposed to believe a minister who creates this ridiculous subject can run a country?

People point to Anwar's exposure of Mahathir's cronyism and corruption, and the mass protests he led, as proof that Anwar can put a stop to the endless money politics and bribery ominpresent wherever the word "government" is attached. I, for one, am not convinced. After all, didn't Mahathir out Anwar as well at the UMNO general assembly? Anwar is as guilty as Mahathir when it comes to playing the corruption game. And just what caused his change of heart? Why, the fact that he's no longer in power! Are we going to entrust the management of our country to this man?

His Islamism does not bode well either. In a multicultural and multiethnic nation such as Malaysia, a man who has no qualms about joining forces with a political party that has set its goal as turning Malaysia into an Islamic state with laws preventing the mixing of genders in public is not a man I want running the country.

Why on earth is everyone in the opposition crowding around Anwar to cheer him on, then? I simply cannot fathom the answer to this question. Anwar is incompetent and unfit to rule. People like to bash the book, 50 Reasons Why Anwar Ibrahim Cannot Become Prime Minister of Malaysia, but fail to realise that some, if not most, of the allegations there are true. Take reason 37, for example: "Anwar Ibrahim only holds a degree in Malay Studies from University Malaya. He failed the first year. As such, he has no idea at all about business and economy. He cannot be relied upon to administer the country’s finances." Is anyone denying this?

"Ah," people say, "but all the UMNO politicians are just like that too!" In that case, allow me to straighten things out: Mohammad Mahathir: Cronyist, Islamist leader, and medical doctor. Bad. Anwar Ibrahim: Cronyist, Islamist, and Malay Studies graduate. Good. Somehow, I don't get the picture here.

Of course, some of the charges lobbed against Anwar are simply ridiculous, such as reason 46: "Anwar was recorded squatting down while eating in public and even used chopsticks while eating with the Prime Minister." Nevertheless, focusing on them avoids the painful truth: Anwar is not fit to be running this country. Nor, for that matter, are most of the ruling party's politicians. Even so, the reality is, Anwar cannot be placed on a pedestal nor hailed for his proficient governance. While given the chance to lead, he led Malaysia through disastrous policies, and when ousted, used whatever means he had to attempt to regain power, including playing the anti-corruption card. Anwar is not fit to be Prime Minister of Malaysia.

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Infernal Ramblings is a Malaysian website focusing on current events and sociopolitical issues. Its articles run the gamut from economics to society to education.

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