Public service announcement

Afif PLC fully support and endorse Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim for Parliament.

A little food for thought by prominent writer M. Bakri Musa.

Last chance to save Malaysia.

Before last March 2008 elections, I urged Kepala Batas voters to perform a great national service by booting out Prime Minister Abdullah. That would have triggered a seismic shift in UMNO’s leadership. With its ban on contesting top posts effectively circumvented, the party would get to preview other potential candidates.

If Kepala Batas voters were to shy away from exercising that historic opportunity, I suggested that Malaysians could still teach Abdullah a lesson by substantially reducing his coalition’s victory. That would also trigger a challenge to his leadership, and we would have the same effect as with the first scenario.

Alas, Malaysians did teach Abdullah a hard lesson, but not hard enough. Besides, being a slow learner, Abdullah did not get the message. Now voters in Permatang Pauh, practically next door, will get a chance to deal Abdullah a third and final knock-out blow, one he would surely get.

This upcoming by-election will be more than just electing the area’s representative to Parliament. Permatang Pauh voters will get the unique opportunity to decide on behalf of entire Malaysia on who will lead our nation. It is as much an opportunity to vote for Anwar Ibrahim as it is against Abdullah Badawi, and to vote for Malaysia’s future – on whether she would progress to join the developed world or continue its present path to join the likes of Zimbabwe.

Anwar Versus Abdullah

In Abdullah we have a dull and apathetically detached leader who exploits the differences among us in order to remain in power. In Anwar we have a charismatic leader well regarded especially internationally. He nurtures our commonalities and challenges us to rise above our differences.

Abdullah’s “I am Prime Minister for all Malaysians” utterance rings hollow when he allows, nay encourages the racist taunting of UMNO Youth leaders. Again illustrative of his opportunistic and exploitative character, right after the March elections when his party’s position was threatened in many states, he initiated a series of secret meetings with the opposition PAS. In so doing he showed contempt for his Barisan coalition partners.

Abdullah was also insensitive, or more accurately contemptuous of the feelings of those non-Malays who voted for his Barisan candidates, UMNO and non-UMNO alike. The rewards he dangled must have been quite substantial to tempt the otherwise self-righteous PAS leaders to participate in those talks. Fortunately wiser heads prevailed in PAS; the futile discussions were aborted.

Anwar does not have as yet a formal leadership role. Yet as adviser to PKR he successfully created a viable coalition effective enough to deny Barisan its two-thirds majority in Parliament and dislodge it in five states, including such major ones as Perak, Penang, and Selangor.

It is a testament to his leadership skills that Anwar could forge an alliance comprising the DAP and PAS, two parties that represent the polar extremes of political views in Malaysia. Anwar was successful because he builds on their commonalities, their yearning for a clean, efficient and transparent government, one not blighted by cronyism and corruption.

It is also the wish of all Malaysians, whether they embrace “Malaysia for Malaysians” or the “Islamic State of Malaysia” political ideals. It should also be the theme and aspiration of any government.

I am also impressed with Anwar’s ability to attract many young talents. While UMNO had to content with such worn-out retreads like Ezam Noor, Anwar managed to attract many young educated individuals like Nik Nazmi and Sim Tze Tzin.

It reflects the priorities of Abdullah and more importantly, his lack of diligence as a leader, that on such important matters as our energy policy he remains blissfully detached except for making empty silly remarks. With rocketing oil prices threatening the global (and Malaysian) economies, Abdullah and his deputy Najib are content busying themselves that Saiful would swear on the Quran that he had been sodomized.

It is the height of obscenity to see this young man wearing his songkok and Baju Melayu, symbols of everything pure and pristine in our culture, entering the sanctity of the holy mosque in the heart of Malaysia to utter, “… telah memasukkan zakarnya ke dalam lubang dubur saya.”

All so clinical, and so well-timed politically! It would have been obscene even without the ugly smirk on Saiful’s face after he blurted his utterance. Thankfully, he spared us the lurid details. One’s fantasy can get quite vivid, especially when given some attention and encouragement. As for the frequency, he has yet to decide on that. He is waiting to see Anwar’s diary first!

With his hands above the Holy Quran, witnessed by the Imam and nationally televised, those crudities issued forth from his sullied mouth. Obviously the cleansing ablution he took only minutes earlier before entering the mosque was merely a ritual, and a meaningless one at that. Surely Saiful, and others beside him including and especially the pious Imam, realized that by just uttering those crudities he had effectively nullified his ablution. Yet there he was, piously declaring Allah hu Akhbar (God is Great!), and then proceeding to his prayers.

I cannot imagine a more despicable sight of desecration of our Holy Book. I would not stoop to this college dropout’s gutter level to even translate the obscenities coming forth from his soiled lips.

Someone had put a microphone on the young man so the world could hear his filthy utterance. How thoughtful! The event was broadcasted at prime time! I pity those parents who would have to explain to their young children on what had transpired.

Such are the priorities of this dysfunctional duo of Abdullah and Najib. And they want Permatang Pauh voters to endorse their leadership!

Contrast that with Anwar’s statesmanship. The day he forms the government, he declared, he would lower gasoline prices and release those prisoners of conscience held under the ISA. Regardless whether one agrees with his policies, there is no denying that Anwar has set his priorities and the national agenda right.

Respecting The Quran

I am appalled that many Malaysian Muslims are calling for Anwar to debase himself to the same sewer level as Saiful by swearing on the Quran. If the truth could be had so simplistically, we would not need the court system and extensive police force.

Those Muslims’ commitment to things Islamic does not extend however to their suggesting that the Sharia Court takes jurisdiction over this case. After all both participants are Muslims, and Anwar has already lodged a complaint to the religious department. Somehow at this particular instance and circumstance, those Muslims suddenly have more faith with our secular criminal justice system than with the Sharia.

I would rather Anwar swear on the Quran to commit that, on becoming Prime

Minister, he would uphold the constitution and lead a government that is efficient, not corrupt, and has the interests of the people uppermost, as encapsulated in his Ketuanan Rakyat declaration. I also challenge Abdullah and Najib to do likewise. That would be the proper and dignified use of our Quran, the symbolic enactment of the phrase, “Let Allah be my witness!”

It would also have been more meaningful and dignified had Saiful taken the oath over the Quran committing himself to be a diligent student when given the rare opportunity for a precious slot in a local university. And had he followed through with that and studied hard, he would have achieved something for himself and be of service to his nation. Saiful should have known that he was given an opportunity denied to too many other young Malaysians. Instead, he blew that chance for a moment of infamy.

A few years ago former Deputy Prime Minister Tun Ghaffar declared that UMNO could be had for a few billion ringgit, at most. He was referring to the endemic corruption in the party. Apparently that price has gone down considerably since. Today, a local college drop-out with only a promise of a cheap scholarship to a lousy local institution could derail the whole UMNO government and paralyze the country.

I would have never imagined that the future of our Prime Minister and his Deputy would hang on whether a young man’s posterior had been violated. That is what Abdullah’s and Najib’s leadership has been reduced to, and how it will end, on Saiful’s end.

If a struggling failed-freshman like Saiful could create such a havoc, I would not dare imagine what a smart, savvy, rich foreigner could do to UMNO and our country. There is one sure way to spare our beloved nation such a fate: get rid of UMNO and the incompetent and dysfunctional team of Abdullah and Najib.

By voting for Anwar in the upcoming elections, Permatang Pauh voters get to do just that, and thus protect our country.

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