Malaysiakini Letter

Remember Anwar brought hope for a better M'sia

N Surendran
Published:  |  Modified:

Who wants to be free? Who wants to be rid of the lies, deceit and oppression of the Barisan Nasional government? Well, certainly not those who dance to the tune of Zaid Ibrahim, former Umno man and ex-leader of the reactionary Muslim Lawyers Association.

At a time when a small and beleaguer opposition and civil society stood valiantly against a despotic government, the Muslim Lawyers Association was busy doing hatchet work for the tyrant Mahathir Mohamad.

Zaid even made the toxic suggestion that the law minister should be appointed president of the Bar Council. Such is the outstanding pedigree of this newly minted champion of reform and good government.

The light dawned for him only after the 2008 election, when he suddenly developed an aversion for the much weakened BN, which was still reeling from the election blow. Now he has embarked on an ambitious enterprise to prematurely end Anwar Ibrahim's long and astonishing political career; a career with which our country's destiny is inextricably tied up.  

 

I do not come to praise Anwar Ibrahim. I only say that after over 50 years of near hopelessness, the 2008 election success of Anwar's opposition coalition let in the first real hope that we would become a nation of free peoples.

If ever a man matched the moment brilliantly, it was Anwar in the run-up to the 2008 general election. He was masterly and inspiring, and he changed the country. Years earlier with his cry for reformasi , he helped create the conditions which would eventually lead to the March 8 tsunami.

His battle for reform from prison (and for his personal freedom) transformed civil society and energised the political opposition. Dissent against the State became widespread and dissenters bolder than ever before. And crucially, his battle cry caught the imagination of the young. Suffering but defiant, he emerged from six years of incarceration with the increased stature that he would need to mould the nation anew.  

 

Now a dangerous and irresponsible game seems afoot to undermine Anwar and retard our country's great journey to freedom. It is an outrageous alliance of fiendish plotters and petty intriguers who are responsible for this enormous disservice to all Malaysians. They madly exaggerate every trifle and speak sanctimoniously about nothing in an endless series of media conferences.

 

If we are to become a mature democracy and dismantle the lawless apparatus of the BN government, we must take this journey with Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat.  Political freedom will bring with it a fairer, and with time richer, and more efficient country.

The wastage of cronyism, corruption and lack of competitiveness will be ended. I do not say that all this is a certainty, but that Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat are the last best hope. As for the small-minded cavillers abusing Anwar and compromising PKR and Pakatan, I predict they will amount to nothing.  

 

The writer is a human rights lawyer.

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