Cmdr (rtd) Thayaparan on Anwar Ibrahim Letter from Prison


May 20, 2016

Cmdr (rtd) Thayaparan on Anwar Ibrahim Letter from Prison

http://www.malaysiakini.com

“This was my first real lesson in politics… If you are cast on a desert island with only a screwdriver, hatchet, and the chisel to make a boat with, why, go and make the best one you can. It would be better if you had a saw, but you haven’t, so with men.”

COMMENT by S. Thayaparan @www,malaysiakini.com–I have never had a problem defending political prisoner, Anwar Ibrahim.

Isn’t it always the case? You believe in the system until the system comes after you. Those of us, who were part of the system, find ourselves having to justify or defend our histories with the system. Anwar is the reason why there is a viable opposition after the long UMNO watch. Anwar is also the reason why the opposition sometimes finds itself in a quandary.

Tun Dr. Mahathir claims to be under House Arrest–Believe him?

Personality politics is treacherous. I have often described former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the de facto opposition leader of this country. Meanwhile imprisoned, vilified – sometimes even by opposition supporters as a has-been, chameleon or charlatan – Anwar has been forced to send scribbled missives through paper or brief exchanges in court, all the while attempting to maintain control of a fractured opposition, by proxy or goodwill. To my mind, he is still the de jure opposition leader of this country.

I cringe whenever I read some opposition supporter refer to the former Prime Minster as “evil”. What does it say about the masses who legitimately voted his party in all those years knowing he was at the helm? What does it say about the people who coalesce around him in the belief that it would damage a corrupt regime?

More importantly, what does it say about the evil that created concentration camps, perpetrated chemical attacks, perpetrated genocides or believe that collateral damage is an appropriate way to spread democracy?

In the same vein, painting Anwar as some sort of saviour who is the magic bullet to the UMNO cancer is self-defeating, indulgent propaganda of the worse kind. It promises everything but delivers nothing. A shrill clarion call to inaction of putting our collective destiny in another’s hand, while doing no hard work but voting. Change by proxy instead of being the change you want.

Which is why his letter to members of his cadre is timely and a little bit ironic. Timely because it puts the focus back on Anwar as a political leader when in recent times, the spotlight has shone on his nemesis, Mahathir, and ironic because of late, the Citizens’ Declaration has lost momentum buried beneath the Sarawak state elections and continuing scandals of current Prime Minster Najib Razak.

While there is merit in the claims that the letter is part of an ongoing power struggle between potentates within PKR, this does not detract from the reality that the letter is also a powerful reminder of the realpolitik that fuels oppositional politics.

While I have been sceptical of the Declaration, I have attempted with interviews with the personalities behind it, including Mahathir, to provide a platform for these diverse political personalities and let the rakyat decide if this is a good strategic move.

Anwar’s letter, therefore, addresses certain issues that has been allowed to simmer in the background, while the main agenda of removing Najib, comes to a boil.

Bridge needs to be built

Kudos to Malaysiakini for highlighting the main points of Anwar’s letter. As for Mahathir’s continued attacks on his former protégé, that is to be expected. Mahathir has never attempted to camouflage this Declaration as anything beyond removing the current President of UMNO. His continued attack on Anwar is merely a continuation of his war with a political rival.

While Anwar has been magnanimous is his overtures to form consensus with political adversaries for a greater good, the unrepentent former Prime Minster continues to demonstrate that he needs no consensus, only force his will and agenda to sustain the fight against his current nemesis. Whether this will prove his undoing remains to be seen.

Seed of PKR’s self destruction: “…the idealism which once fired PKR appears to have been doused by the lustre of power and funds”–Anwar Ibrahim

However, of greater concern is when Anwar says, “…the idealism which once fired PKR appears to have been doused by the lustre of power and funds”. Anyone who knows anything about the political funding of the opposition would know that the opposition has diverse streams of funding from the unlikeliest of sources.

Actually, it is incestuous. Rich men with money are always hedging their bets. The average opposition supporter would be shocked by who funds whom. Plutocrats who are routinely mocked on in the comment sections of Malaysiakini and the other “alternative” news (sic) sources, have always been amenable to funding potentially powerful power structures. Money politics isn’t just an UMNO thing.

However, the inclusion of Mahathir in the opposition mix has also granted the opposition with a new source of funding with the aim of toppling Najib. Now, not everyone avails themselves to this new funding source but there are many, who find that it is easier getting down to the work of removing Najib when they don’t have to worry about funding to sustain their position. Mind you, this is not solely a PKR problem.

Ambiga Sreenevasan made a well-reasoned argument that the Declaration was bridge which connected UMNO and Harapan supporters. Anwar’s letter is a reminder that the bridge needs to be built on a solid foundation.

Even if you do not buy that and believe that, the letter is part of a strategy to discredit certain factions within PKR using the polarising figure of Mahathir as a weapon of mass distraction, the words in the letter, the issues raised should be of concern to opposition supporters.

Here is what Mahathir said when questioned on his trust deficit amongst opposition supporters.

“It is not a question of trusting me. It is a question of getting together to do something that we hold common views. Both the opposition and myself think that Najib is a problem for Malaysia. If Najib is there, the opposition will suffer. If Najib is there, even UMNO will suffer, the whole country will suffer. I think the opposition is not supporting me, they are interested in removing Najib. I have the same interest. It is okay to work together – only on that issue, not on other issues.” (Dr. Mahathir)

Everyone should heed Anwar’s words but ultimately another Hamlet quote comes to mind:“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”

 

7 thoughts on “Cmdr (rtd) Thayaparan on Anwar Ibrahim Letter from Prison

  1. Here is the thing, why is Citizen Declaration not owned by PKR or Pakatan? How is it possible PKR or PH is not the one with 1.2m signatures? What Mahathir has done is point to the glaring weakness of the opposition.

    Why be wary of Mahathir instead of taking the leadership away from him. Because Anwar is in jail? Hadi’s PAS has broken off? These reason only point to hard work not done, that was avoided for convenience. It’s excuses that delay further things that must be done even faster. It’s too hard?, then it’s pointless. To each his own then. Let’s just wsh this nation down the toilet. It deserves it.

  2. No one in Malaysia currently know the real inner workings of the government better that Che Det, the architect of UMNOb and the new BN. Yet Che Det knew only too well that there is no freaking way to remove Jibby except through the actions of UMNOb. 1 million signatures or 20 millions signatures it doesn’t count as the laws in Malaysia have no provision of removal of a sitting PM except by a vote of no confidence. Jibby has surrounded himself of rather bought the loyalty of almost all UMNOb ketua Bahagian and thus assured that he will remain as President of UMNOb and PM of Malaysia.
    Che Det through his desire to consolidate power as PM has completely destroyed the 4 pillars of government in Malaysia, namely Executive, Legislative, Judiciary and the Malay Rulers. All 4 pillars now are subservient to the PM. Che Det is a victim of ‘you live by the sword”

  3. Dr. M has made it very clear that the sole object is the removal of Najib. He hasn’t promised any other things. He is forthright and those who expect more reforms from him will be disappointed. After the removal of Najib, it is back to UMNO for him. Don’t criticize him for being devious in this case.

  4. How can change come? It is either the political will of people in power, mass international pressure, or the people on the ground. All these things wont happen as in the first case-if change came-half the cabinet will be in Kajang prison ( and maybe more)-so they wont or desire to have the political will to have strong democratic institutions, the second-as we can see the West is pandering up to the so called moderate Islamic countries because of the growing threat of Islamic fundamentalism. So Obama plays golf, happy that Najib signs on the TPP agreement, Cameron among many others cajole and enter into business agreements with Najib-so they are there for their own ‘interests”. They dont care about Malaysia.

    What do have left? We have the people on the ground. The Malay community are the only majority race in Malaysia and have defacto control through UMNO of the country-MCA,MIC, Gerakan etc are IMPOTENT parties and happily taking the breadcrumbs that fall off the table, doing absolutely nothing for Malaysians.

    It is the majority population that needs to act. We already see that in the vast numbers of academia and civil society ( Civil servant retirees) coming out to protest this policy leading us to failure internationally. We need more than that-we need en bloc resignations from UMNO , peaceful refusal to participate in Amanah Saham-and outright demand that the country pursue a path as you would say the US. Decision makers in government should be selected on merit-not because a friend supports me in Pekan or Raub but because he will do the right thing. Hundreds of educated, hard-working Malays, Chinese,Indians and indigenous community are around to take the reins. Today we still have this list made up of ‘has been’ politicians-the Dynasty carries on. We need good schools that can compete internationally ( the Sultan of Johor suggestion to push English is the right thing to do); good hospitals ( today we see so many doctors cant speak English-how is this in Malaysia-and as a result they are quitting medical practice).We need sustainable policies-wind, solar and bio-degradable projects, moving with the times.
    For the past 40 years we have been bickering and bickering with many making millions while the NEP produces doctors who cant speak English. Wake up-support people like Anwar Ibrahim, Mahathir and many others who speak up-get up and let us win back Malaysia. We need a united front and this can happen.

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