Malaysia

Anwar’s bumpy road to Kajang a reminder of Umno’s shenanigans

In the throes of Malaysians debating the correctness of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim contesting the Kajang state seat, comes a stark reminder that evil resides in Umno.

Umno and its so-called non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have started their campaign to block Anwar from reaching out to voters - the sure sign of how worried they remain of a politician they themselves have tagged as a has-been.

From Perlis down to Johor, every trick in the book has been employed against the opposition. At times, the royal households are used, sometimes the religious authorities are co-opted.

Often, laws are bent to suit the whims and fancies of Umno.

So it seems to be the case in Kajang where Anwar was barred from giving the tazkirah (a short speech before the Friday sermon) at the Impian Saujana mosque in Kajang on orders from the Selangor Islamic Affairs Council (Mais).

The PKR de facto leader was supposed to give the tazkirah before a Friday sermon delivered by party information chief Dr Muhd Nur Manuty.

“But after subuh prayers on Januari 30, the mosque’s caretaker told us that they were pressured by Mais to stop the event. So the mosque committee did not dare go ahead with the plan.

“So we had to quickly look for another mosque,” said the source, who is part of Anwar's team, explaining how the programme was later moved from the Impian Saujana mosque to the Kariah mosque in Batu 10 Cheras, which is part of the Kajang state constituency. This, too, was blocked by Mais at the last minute.

The source said Mais and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) threatened to arrest Anwar if he delivered the tazkirah, pointing out that he did not have tauliah (certificates of approval) to give talks or sermons in Selangor mosques.

Due to the ban, Anwar, Muhd Nur, Selangor Menteri Besar Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and other Pakatan Rakyat leaders who were present, performed their prayers at the Kariah Mosque.

They later spoke to the congregation after the prayers.

Of course, there are state laws that say such speeches are not permissible. But it is apparent it only applies to those who do not enjoy the favour of the powers-that-be.

This has also happened to other opposition leaders and preachers or lecturers who are not in line with Umno or groups aligned to it, reflecting institutionalised and feudal reverence to the dominant Malay nationalist party.

If anything, it plays into the hands of Anwar and his cohorts who say his candidature is to prevent such a scenario from happening - that agencies and departments will be used by Umno to recapture the country's wealthiest state from Pakatan Rakyat.

In other words, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy that the Selangor government is under threat and some departments are playing right into Anwar's hands when they act against the state government.

And its speaks volumes that such agencies and departments which insist that they are independent of any political party, are actually doing the bidding of one side to the detriment of the other side and the people of Selangor.

It will not get easier for Anwar or the opposition but these authorities should know that their actions will only push people to blame Umno for it and support the underdog.

It is perverse, but so are the authorities when they forsake their independence and act against the people. – February 2, 2014.

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