Raising Malaysia’s Hackles

An angry youth protest highlights the Malaysian authorities’ insecurities over international criticism.

Opinion Asia | The Wall Street Journal

The prosecution of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is proceeding apace, but that doesn’t mean international pressure is useless. Witness the government’s reaction to recent international criticism.

A bipartisan group of 56 Australian parliamentarians sent a letter earlier this month to the Malaysian High Commissioner in Canberra, saying the fact that a leading opposition voice has been charged with sodomy a second time “raises serious concerns,” and urging the authorities to drop the charges. The letter cited an op-ed in this newspaper by Munawar A. Anees, who claims he was tortured by the police and forced to confess to sodomy with Mr. Anwar before the first trial in 1998. And it echoes statements by American and Canadian politicians also worried about the impartiality of Malaysia’s rule of law.

The reaction was swift. Some 500 members of the ruling coalition’s youth wing and sympathizers protested in Kuala Lumpur last week, calling the letter a “trampling” on “sovereignty.” Youth leader Khairy Jalamuddin told us in a telephone interview that the trial is a judicial process, not a political one.

Yet the Malaysian response, far from being a deterrent, only shows how sensitive the country is to international pressure. The letter’s coordinator, Labor MP Michael Danby, says Malaysia is one of Southeast Asia’s relative success stories and any threat to its fledgling pluralistic democracy should not be lightly disregarded. “You wouldn’t want us to be quiet on Aung San Suu Kyi, neither should we be quiet on what’s happening to Anwar Ibrahim,” he says.

International attention may not change the course of Mr. Anwar’s trial, but at the very least, it reminds Malaysia’s elites that their actions won’t go unnoticed—or, perhaps, without consequences.

  1. #1 by k1980 on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 1:04 pm

    Workers of the country, unite and vote BN out. You have nothing to lose but your GST

    Noting that the GST would cause new taxes totalling about RM6.7 billion from consumers, he calculated that each worker on the average would be required to part with RM558 every year due to the GST.

    In particular, 85% of the Malaysian workforce, who currently earn less than RM3,000 a month and therefore do not have income tax payments, would be required to make new tax payments with the GST.


  2. #2 by Thor on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 1:15 pm

    All these while, Unmo elites think that they’re on par with Iran.
    That’s why when western country interfere with our affair, they start demonstrating like idiots.
    What they did’nt know is that we’re multinational and we’re not stupid.
    What they did is on their very own accord and do not represent any of us malaysian.

  3. #3 by boh-liao on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 1:31 pm

    Malaysia’s elites? Huh, apa itu?
    Too kind lah, Malaysia’s par!ahs n cheats, more appropriate

  4. #4 by Evenmind on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 1:33 pm

    We’d soon be in same category as the other bananana republics like Myanmar, Iran and Zimbabwe, lead role o Mugabe being played by Najibtullah and and the rest of the Umno mullahs who says ‘Allah’ only belongs to them and only them, they are holier than their counterparts in saudi atrabia and the rest of the middle east, that’s why they want MalaysiASS tobecome the SODOMY capital of the World

  5. #5 by Thor on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 1:38 pm

    The Aussies, Americans and the Canadians have protested and voiced their concern.
    What about the English government?
    Are’nt they gonna do anything?
    They are the ones who gave us independence and they should voice out too, as Umno have broken many rules in governing the country.

  6. #6 by Thor on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 1:55 pm

    Youth leader Khairy Jalamuddin told us in a telephone interview that the trial is a judicial process, not a political one.

    Judicial process ehh!
    Go somewhere else and bullshit!
    Wait till the time you get kick out from the Youth wing and you’ll come to your sense then.
    Just remember that you’re sitting on a “three legged” chair .
    It’ll collapse anytime ‘cos you can’t hold for long!
    Wish you good luck then!

  7. #7 by Thor on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 2:07 pm

    Youth leader Khairy Jalamuddin told us in a telephone interview that the trial is a judicial process, not a political one.

    Judicial process ehh!
    Go somewhere else and bullsh*t!
    Wait till the time you get kick out from the Youth wing and sent to the “cold room”.
    You’ll talk no more then.
    Just remember that you’re sitting on a “three legged” chair .
    It’ll collapse anytime ‘cos you can’t hold for long!
    Wish you good luck then!

  8. #8 by k1980 on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 2:26 pm

    Ah Khai Jalamuddin says, “Me get kick out from the Youth wing? Cannot one lah, my papa-in-law will never allow it one lah”

  9. #9 by Comrade on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 3:07 pm

    The 2008 political tsunami is a wake up call
    For Umno/BN to reform lest it will fall
    It is all out to destroy PR its bitter rival
    To ensure its political survival
    Instead of seriously carrying out self improvement
    To become a respectable government
    Let’s vote BN out in the coming general election
    For a brighter future of our beloved nation

  10. #10 by Bigjoe on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 3:07 pm

    I have long ago the quick and mass reaction from such ultra groups as UMNO Youth is a result of either or both FEAR or Opportunity.

    The fear came from unlike before, the comments about this case came from individuals and not a group of officials. There was also the fear of their leader KJ which just before was being pressured to get more radical. It was a perfect opportunity for KJ to demonstrate his credentials back to the grassroot of UMNO Youth.

    I don’t see much of UMNO Youth actions being that of actual issues and change.

  11. #11 by limkamput on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 3:10 pm

    Really what consequences? The last time I checked, even past leaders who abused and bullied and when retired, continue to spit venom and racism in the country and are still enjoying big fat pensions and privileges paid for by the national coffer. Yes, we should be concerned with Anwar. What about TBH.

  12. #12 by SGPR on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 3:25 pm

    Together we save Malaysia – GE13

  13. #13 by Dap man on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 4:04 pm

    UMNO leaders have been stricken by a not-much- publicised sickness called “Lunacy”.

    It is a psychiatric condition which affects the brain cells at their feet.

    Occasionally it sends them into a frenzy and uncontrolled hysteria that gives them a megalomaniac feeling…. and they behave as though they are God’s gifts to Malaysia.

    It’s already an uncontrolled epidemic in the country, afflicting the police, judiciary, and newspaper editors, AG chanbers and Muslim NGOs.
    There is no known cure or medication for this sickness.
    But psychiatrist say they ill return to their senses when they are voted out in the next general elections and eventually imprisoned.

  14. #14 by trublumsian on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 4:08 pm

    malayia’s downward spiral is a gradual one, slowly but surely. foreign criticism is just that, criticism, not amounting to any actionable pressure. at least not at the outset. but let the voices be heard, voices beyond our shores the evil empire cannot suppress w/ it’s many tentacles. and as the article put it, the defiance exhibited by umno youth and sympathizers shows more than insecurities of their “manhood” but sheer foolishness and backwater demeanor.

    the star published an editor’s opinion on muslim women caning, “persuasion, not compulsion”. promptly the home ministry slaps a show cause letter, spitting in the face of modern journalism.

  15. #15 by mauriyaII on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 5:20 pm

    KJ, that kera jantan oxymoron has no choice but to jump into the fray and show his manhood or he would be history in UMNO politics.

    Even if his brain cells admonish him not to follow his idiotic followers with the cowhead mentality, he has to do something, however foolish to maintain his crediblity among the UMNO warlords.

    Najib seems to be playing the good cop-bad cop scenario with his 1Malaysia drivel. He tries to portray that he and his actions are people-centric while he has his fellow UMNO warlords such as the imbecile Mooheeddin, etc to just to do the opposite. He has given licence to these jokers who do not mind being labelled as nincompoops with their behaviour and utterances just to keep up the ketuanan type happy.

    Since they control everything in the country, the police, legislature, judiciary, the blood hounds in the MACC and the mass media, they think they can do anything and get away with it.

    What they fail to realize is in this globalized world, they may be able to control the minds of the poor kampong folks with their brand of brainwashing, but they cannot fool all the educated Malays and non-Malays who do not want their future generations to inherit Zimbabwe.

    The present regime under Najib, Hishamuddin and the other warlords has beome so intolerant that anything and everything they do cannot be questioned or criticized. Look what Gunasegaran of the Star is subjected to. The Home Ministry was so quick in issuing a show cause letter to him but it has given a carte blanche to all the racist scoundrels in the newspapers under their control to spread fear and chaos in this multi-racial and multi-religious country.

    The ever willing and ready hounds in the police force and the MACC are after Opposition MPs and ADUNs on any report made against them but do not lift a finger to act against known felons in the ruling coalition. No need to mention the judiciary. They have shown how partial and subservient they are in so many of their verdicts. So highly educated but without morals and intergrity. Shame on them!

    If this is the idea of impartial justice of the BN, then the rakyat would be only too willing to impart their sense of justice in the 13th GE.

    UMNO and the other coalition partners in BN would feel the rakyat’s wrath. It would be worse than the 2008 tsunami that hit them.

  16. #16 by undertaker888 on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 5:22 pm

    Demo-crazy monkeys at it again. No demonstration on trampling rakyat’s right? O I forgot. Beggars and prostitutes have no rights. Only monkeys do.

  17. #17 by yhsiew on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 5:32 pm

    Witness the government’s reaction to recent international criticism. (Kit)

    The government reacted strongly to international criticism because they know that they have done something evil against their conscience and are worried that the international community is going to expose their evil deeds. If the government have not done anything evil against their conscience, they would have reacted calmly to international criticism and pressure.

  18. #18 by Black Arrow on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 7:24 pm

    With Anwar’s trial and the GST Bill to be tabled in March, the future looks bleak for Malaysia.

    Even before GE13, we will be demoted to 4th world status. We are truly doomed. The only way to arrest the decline is to vote out BN in GE13.

  19. #19 by HJ Angus on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 7:49 pm

    I agree with the sentiments on Anwar’s trial and the need for Malaysians to vote in a new government so that Malaysia can once gain progress as a nation.
    However GST could be a reasonable way to raise funds provided the government reduces its overall budget and reforms some tax measures.
    Instead of all the GST being controlled by the federal government, I would introduce a new tax system whereby the state government is entitled to say 40% of the GST collected so we can move away from the disgraceful and deceitful manner in which Kelantan has been denied their oil royalties.

  20. #20 by lopez on Friday, 26 February 2010 - 8:49 pm

    the judiciary is correctly aligned, so can hide behind their wigs.

  21. #21 by negarawan on Saturday, 27 February 2010 - 8:39 am

    I can already see the rallying call in the next GE: Vote PR to free Anwar from prison

  22. #22 by negarawan on Saturday, 27 February 2010 - 10:13 am

    UMNO is no different from the junta in Burma and apartheid is South Africa. Foreign intervention from EU, the US, and ASEAN is necessary as UMNO is practising authoritarian and repressive politics mainly through the judiciary and police force.

  23. #23 by dagen on Saturday, 27 February 2010 - 11:57 am

    So umno youth is angry huh? Perhaps the aussies are a little too far away. And singapore is a little too small. So in either case umno youth can demonstrate its anger and issue threats as and when they saw fit (what is fit is a relative perception, really).

    Wot about indonesia? Yeah, when some stupid indons burned our flags and belittled us like no body’s business over some claimed copyright (over some cultural thingy) infringement, wot did the hairy youth monkey do? Unless my memory failed me, he very much kept quiet. No. No. No. Umno youth said something like “malaysia too can get angry.” Wooow.

    Stupid idiots. They thought the aussies would be bothered by the protests? Just like singaporeans, I am sure the aussies are most likely to treat umno youths as a bunch of meritless, senseless and illogical goons in crutches. I would. Just like everyone else in malaysia, would.

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