Politics of Malaysia
The world pays little attention to Malaysia. But on May 5, it should. That is the day that Malaysia’s 13 million voters, of whom 20% are casting ballots for the first time, will choose a new parliament and decide their nation’s future. Without question, these will be the most important elections in Malaysia’s history, as well as the closest and most hard-fought. For the first time, there is a strong and united opposition, and Malaysia’s voters have a genuine choice. Voter enthusiasm is high, and both government and especially opposition rallies are attracting people in the tens of thousands.
How does a Muslim village boy who faithfully attends Quran classes and goes home to the works of Lao Tzu and Confucius, grow up to view the world — and his country? The scope of Dato Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s worldview is matched by the breadth of his political ambitions. Having risen from the ashes, the leader of Malaysia’s opposition is raring to prove his mettle at the upcoming elections.
Much has been said about Datuk Dr. Hasan Ali, the former Selangor state commissioner of the party and (previously) a state Exco in the Pakatan Rakyat state government, in the past few weeks. Some had claimed that the reason for the decision to sack him was because of outside pressure from PAS’ partners, DAP and PKR and that the PAS leadership had bowed down to others. Others have said that the reason Hasan Ali was sacked was because of his so-called “activism” against apostasy and the set-up of a counter-apostasy unit borne by the department under his portfolio (religious affairs) and therefore Hasan Ali’s sacking is a detriment to the cause of Islam itself. Even more ludicrous is the claim by Hasan Ali himself that he was sacked on the orders of Anwar Ibrahim!