Malaysia

Anwar to meet Nik Aziz to explain Israel remarks

By Shazwan Mustafa Kamal
February 14, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 14 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim will meet PAS spiritual leader Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat to explain his controversial statement supporting “all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel.”

The PAS Ulama Council has demanded Anwar (picture) retract his remarks made during an interview with the Wall Street Journal. According to Nik Aziz, the council decided the opposition leader must withdraw his statement unless the newspaper had misreported his statement.

“If the Wall Street Journal was inaccurate in reporting what he said, then we hope he will sue the newspaper,” he told reporters in Kota Baru last night.

A PKR source told The Malaysian Insider today that arrangements are being made for the opposition leader to meet Nik Aziz, and that they were aware of the situation.

“Efforts are being made to arrange a meeting between the two in the nearest possible time,” said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

When contacted by The Malaysian Insider, PKR secretary-general Datuk Saifuddin Nasution said that the PKR leadership would be preparing an official response soon.

“We are currently meeting, brainstorming. Datuk Seri (Anwar) himself will be away for a one-day trip,” said the Machang MP.

The Wall Street Journal had quoted the PKR de facto leader as saying in an interview last month that he supported “all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel.”

But the newspaper said Anwar stopped short of saying he would open diplomatic ties with the Jewish state, a step the former deputy prime minister said remains contingent on Israel respecting the aspirations of Palestinians.

Nik Aziz said PAS was not in favour of the two-state solution to the Palestinian problem which Anwar subscribes to.

The Kelantan mentri besar said he had sent a letter expressing the council’s view to the Permatang Pauh MP.

Anwar came under heavy fire from Umno and its media after his statement was published by the Wall Street Journal in January.

He was forced to defend himself by stressing that his remarks in the newspaper meant that he supported a two-state solution, which he said was mentioned by Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman when the latter addressed the United Nations General Assembly in September last year.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad also labelled his former deputy a Jewish sympathiser and a leader who disregarded the plight of the Palestinians.

Malaysia is a staunch supporter of Palestine and has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

Muslim politicians have long vied for support from Malays by denouncing what they say are inhumane acts of aggression by Israel towards its neighbour.