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Anwar's poetic indignation - 'serpent that stings... now wears the crown'
Published:  May 17, 2016 5:41 AM
Updated: 9:03 AM

The eight-page handwritten letter from prison caused tremors in the political landscape. Penned in both Bahasa Malaysia and English, the language was eloquent and poetic.

But the message, however, was acerbic, and appeared laced with disappointment that some had strayed from the initial struggle.

Malaysiakini condenses Anwar Ibrahim's poignant letter on former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Citizens' Declaration, and provides the salient points.


  • Anwar notes that there are PKR leaders in cahoots with Mahathir and former finance minister Daim Zainuddin through the Citizens' Declaration. He warns that the strategy threatens PKR's struggle and its leaders must steer clear of the schemes devised by the power elites to retain an outdated system. He points out that both Mahathir and Daim were aggressive in defending crony capitalism.



  • He trains his guns on Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah. He claims that although the Umno veteran denies it, the latter used the statutory declaration of MPs who did not support Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to his advantage. He says Tengku Razaleigh placed himself as a compromise candidate in the midst of the clash between Umno vice-presidents Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Hishammuddin Hussein.



  • From the onset, Anwar establishes a distance with those involved in the Citizens' Declaration. He says the agenda of change must be in line with the objectives of the reformasi movement.



  • He says the Citizens' Declaration denies the moral importance of a reformation towards a democratic system with integrity. Its launch, he adds, appears to be fixed with no room for discussion.



  • Anwar argues that PKR's views were included at the eleventh hour into the declaration, suggesting that it was done as if to garnish the document, which in principle is Mahathir's document and is not in line with the views of reformasi.



  • He points out the declaration only focuses on removing Najib, and strays from the basis of PKR's struggle for freedom, justice, supremacy of the law as well as to fight corruption and abuse of power.



  • Anwar portrays Mahathir as a cruel and corrupt leader, but laments that there are those in the PKR leadership who seem awestruck by him and lower themselves before him as if still existing in a feudal culture.



  • He says Mahathir continues to attack him on a personal basis, but his friends remained silent about this. Anwar adds that he and his wife, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, felt compelled to object to defend their honour.



  • He claims that the power elites are only striving to save Umno, and describes Mahathir's current standing by quoting Shakespeare, 'The serpent that stings... now wears the crown'.



  • Anwar criticises those who pressured his wife and daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar, to meet Mahathir and attend his programmes. He says asking his family to make such sacrifices (after all that has happened) is heartless.



  • He denies talk of having struck a deal with the powers that be or that Zahid met him when he was in Hospital Kuala Lumpur. He says such rumours are created with the purpose of sowing doubts and creating rifts.



  • He rues that the idealism which once fired PKR appears to have been doused by the lustre of power and funds. He quotes renowned Indonesian poet Tawfiq Ismail on the existence of traitors and fake warriors in the struggle.


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Rafizi: Timely reminder from Anwar not to get carried away by Dr M

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Anwar's 'letter': Citizens' Declaration a flawed Mahathir document

PKR leaders at odds over Anwar's 'letter' on perils of tangoing with Dr M




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