Dear Anwar

Posted on August 18, 2008


I write to you as one anak Bangsa Malaysia to another.

My friends and I were pleased to read in the Malaysiakini report of 14th August that you have forgiven your enemies for what they have done to you over the last ten years, but that you will never forget what they have done to you.

It is good that you have found it in your heart to forgive them, for otherwise you will end up bitter and vindictive like a certain ‘past the shelf-life’ politician who just simply refuses to fade away.

No, you don’t want to carry bitterness within you.

And indeed you must never forget, for it is the remembrance of what you have gone through that will serve you well in two ways.

One, to never do to others or allow to be done by others what has been inflicted upon you.

Two, so that you will not allow those who have wronged you the opportunity to do again what they have done to you before.

My sister, I like Chopin, has asked me to tell you that she has forgiven you your 16 years of involvement, at least by association and failure to dissociate, with the autocratic, dictatorial, corrupt Mahathir administration.

Yes, most of my friends and I, like my sister, have long forgiven you for your involvement in the atrocities committed by Mahathir during his reign of destruction and pillage, even if only by association and your failure to dissociate with his regime.

But like you, we, too, have not forgotten.

Just as remembrance will serve you well, so too us.

Will we ever forget?

I cannot speak for the others, but for me, I think that is really up to you.

Before I proceed further, so as to lessen the hurt, if any, of what I am about to say, let me first say that whilst I have the highest regard for YB Lim Kit Siang and YB Lim Guan Eng, yet in the matter of the politics and governance of this nation, I do not trust them implicitly and without question, because they are politicians and 50 years of BN politics has delivered a hard and painful lesson to many of us.

Don’t trust politicians completely.

Many times last year, I wrote in this blog that I wished you would give me a reason to trust you.

Whilst I have to be frank and tell you that I still do not trust you, three things have persuaded me to ‘take a chance’.

First, and this is the only rational factor of the three, this nation needs to be rid of the racist, divide and rule politics of BN. UMNO will not change, and the other component parties have shown themselves to be helplessly subservient to UMNO.

You and your party leaders, together with the leaders of DAP, have been taking policy positions or making policy statements that, by far and large, seem to be in line with the aspirations of the people.

I say ‘seem’ because much still remains to be seen.

I had actually wanted to say all the Pakatan leaders but, truly, PAS has been giving us some serious concerns of late.

The second and the third factors are, in truth, ‘gut’ reactions.

Raja Petra wrote a series to remind us of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into your ‘black eye’ beating at the hands of the former IGP.

My eyes teared when I read your testimony about the beating you received and the day after, the condition you were in, and the refusal by the police to afford you treatment.

Yes, I still think you owe the nation an apology for your 16 years in the Mahathir administration.

We, too, as a nation, though, owe you and your family an apology, for all that you and your family have been through these last 10 years.

I am sorry.

Then, on 5th August, I heard you deliver your ceramah in Bentong, Pahang.

I have attended many of your ceramah but, quite frankly, this was the first time that I heard you speak with humility, particularly your appeal to any who might feel inclined to go to Permatang Pauh to help in your election campaign.

What particularly touched me and my family who were present, something that has also got the mention of G. Krishnan in his blog today, was when you said :

‘Anak Melayu, anak kita, anak Cina anak kita, anak India, pun anak kita. Mengapa harus kita bezakan?”

Succinctly, you had articulated that which I have felt for such a long, long time and which, without more, sums up the spirit of anak Bangsa Malaysia that I hope one day will be definitive of us as a people of this nation.

It is this last matter that I have mentioned, irrational as it may seem to many, that has most moved me to ‘take a chance’.

A word of advice.

Don’t make the mistakes of Pak Lah.

You have made us many pledges and promises.

I quote you from the Malaysiakini report mentioned above :

“But how do you run a government and affect changes, move forward – we need a new Malaysian awareness, we need unity of all races, we need a new vibrant economy, we need to reform the judiciary and bring back confidence in a more professional police force – if you get yourself engrossed with the past?…If it (involves) 2,000 acres and two billion ringgit – it’s just not my right to forgive, they have to return the money. But otherwise, we cannot afford to drag the entire country back to the past.”

Keep your promises to us.

Where we can recover the nation’s wealth that has been stolen, we must.

You must not do favours for anyone from the past by interfering with our law enforcement authorities.

Restore what is rightfully due to the rakyat.

On Black 14, I heard you use the phrase ‘Ketuanan Rakyat’ for the first time.

Do not waver from this.

End race politics.

End the politicisation of Islam.

You must be brave enough to tell the Malays that this country belongs to all the anak-anak Bangsa Malaysia, to remind the Malays again and again that UMNO’s ketuanan Melayu is unIslamic and has been their evil tool to enrich themselves and divide this nation.

Do this, and be assured of the strongest support from the majority of anak-anak Bangsa Malaysia who, by far and large, are decent people.

In the run-up to the 12th GE, the rakyat launched an aspirational document called the ‘People’s Declaration’.

All the Pakatan parties, including yours, indorsed this document.

We took your indorsement seriously and for that reason went all out to work to get the votes for the Barisan Rakyat parties at the last general election.

We will hold you to that indorsement.

A final reminder.

The rakyat today are not like that of 16 years ago.

We understand national issues better, we are better informed, and we have a greater sense of commitment to the ideals of justice and equality.

And we have a newly found self-belief to pursue these ideals and to pursue change.

Understand and remember that we are no longer afraid.

We fully understand today that governance of this nation was intended to be in the hands of the people, and that when you and your party leaders offer to govern, it is with a view to serve us.

Therefore, understand and remember that it is we, the rakyat, who govern through those who have taken oath to serve us.

It is only by abiding by that oath that you might honourably be called a leader of men.

Any less and you would have proven yourself to be no better than those whom you now endeavour to displace.

In the run-up to polling day on the 26th, my friends and I will be in Permatang Pauh to help you in any way we can.

By God’s Grace, you will soon be returned to Parliament. May He also continue to bestow you with wisdom and courage to discharge you duties faithfully.