Malaysia is at a crossroads where it can either emerge as a pluralistic democracy or implode from grand corruption and the pitting of different religious and ethnic groups against each other in a fight for limited resources.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim blames the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) government for the situation. The question is whether Malaysia, a country with immense potential, will rise to achieve it, or whether it will instead become a failed state, he says.
If left unchecked, it will pave the way for unbridled corruption, religious extremism, and inter-communal violence, he adds.
“This government has also stoked enmity between ethnic Malay Muslims on one hand, and ethnic Chinese and Indians of Christian, Buddhist, and Hindu religious affiliations on the other,” he says in an opinion piece in The Washington Post today.
He accuses Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak of imposing severe restrictions on public protest, imprisoning countless people for exercising their basic rights of freedom of expression, and maintaining almost total domination of the media. This is to maintain his grip on power, Anwar says.
“Yesterday, Malaysia’s Federal Court heard my final appeal to reverse the injustice of my politically-motivated detention at the hands of the Malaysian government. It won’t likely issue a final decision on my case for many months,” he says.
“What is really at stake in Malaysia, however, is a catastrophic slide to authoritarian kleptocracy by a country that was set to be the shining example of pluralistic democracy in a multi-religious Muslim majority country.
“My last appeal could well be the final opportunity for Prime Minister Najib Razak and the judiciary he cynically controls to set Malaysia again on a path of restoring its much tainted reputation on the global stage.
“But without the support of the international community and President Obama’s help, my fate is pre-determined.”
Anwar says he has struggled his entire life for the betterment of his country and the improvement of the lives of Malaysia’s citizens. “I am coming up on having spent 10 years of my adult life over the course multiple imprisonments in jail.
“I am grateful for the strong support of the United Nations and organisations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, which have concluded I am illegally detained and have urged my immediate release.
“Although this has been particularly hard on my family, I am most worried about the unprecedented existential threat to Malaysia’s democracy and stability. We are at a crossroads where we can either emerge as a pluralistic democracy in Asia and in the Muslim world or where our nation will implode from grand corruption and different religious and ethnic groups being pitted against each other fighting for limited resources.”
Anwar appeals to the international community to help free him from jail and also prevent Malaysia from becoming a failed state.
“But most democracies around the world have remained totally silent, and none have taken concrete measures to censure Najib and his government before the damage done by their corruption and authoritarianism is irreversible,” he says.
The Heat Malaysia Online