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DrAnees: Mahathir Smears Malaysia's Saviour
By web aNtu

11/10/2000 10:54 pm Wed

From: Dr. Munawar A. Anees


by Dr. Munawar A. Anees Former Prisoner of Conscience - Malaysia

[Amnesty International] Former Writer in Prison - Malaysia [Pen International]

Looking like the cat that swallowed the canary, Mahathir bin Iskandar of Malaysia is ambushed whenever he makes a public appearance outside the diminutive confines of Malaysia. He is met with small, but peaceful, crowds of Malaysian students and others protesting ongoing violations of human rights under his decades old iron-hearted rule over Malaysia.

First it was in a suburb of Chicago last month where he faced these people with their demands for justice. Coming at the heels of a flat rebuff by the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the presence of these protesters was nothing short of a coup de grace. He had pinned high hopes on masquerading as a Muslim "sympathizer" during his talk at the annual convention of this national umbrella organization of Muslims in North America. Unfortunately, Mahathir's dream of a public relations stunt in front of over 30, 000 Muslims was shattered when ISNA issued a unanimous statement retracting their earlier invitation to him. Citing the Quranic verdict on slanderers as liars, ISNA reprimanded him on the un-Islamic and unjust imprisonment of Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia. ISNA also demanded of this self-styled headman to make a drastic change in his decision on ceaseless political persecution failing which, they argued, "his presence will be a source of anger, protests and disturbance for the whole Convention. We certainly do not want to see this large convention of Muslims turned into an arena of protest and counter protest..."

Just when Mahathir was making a desperate attempt to recover from an event that exposed his vile acts, the student brigade of justice seekers struck again. This time they confronted him in Manchester, England. Yet again, the next day, students from Cambridge put him on the spot for his defrauding the nation in the name of democracy. These students were demanding the release of Anwar Ibrahim who is undergoing a cruel incarceration after a savage court order that put finishing touches on Mahathir's vicious conspiracy to end Anwar's political career.

It is known that the Cambridge meeting he addressed on October 7 has been the subject of a campaign by Malaysian students who are members of the Cambridge University Malaysia Society (CUMAS). Several weeks ago a website went up by the name of Cambridge Coalition for a Free Malaysia . Flashing an infamous police 'black eye' photograph of Anwar Ibrahim in a rotten blue uniform (usually reserved for suspects or convicts in police custody) with the detainee number plaque hanging around his neck, the website urged the University of Cambridge not to provide a forum to a dictator like Mahathir.

Talk about adding salt to the wound or insult to injury, yet another website was mounted recently with an explicit mention of Mahathir's name in the title: Malaysian Students Against Mahathir. It is "a coalition of independent groups of Malaysian students studying all over the world..."

According to a leaflet displayed on their website, protest against Mahathir in Manchester was "organised by Indonesian Society for Democracy and Reform, Malaysian Students Against Mahathir (Ma.S.A.M), Muslim Youths, Human Rights Groups" .

Moreover, Cambridge University Amnesty International, in a press release, had made their intent known that they would hold a peaceful protest during Mahathir's presence in Cambridge . Media reports indicated, "the demonstrators, mostly members of the Cambridge University Amnesty International (CUAI) chapter, displayed placards bearing the words "Freedom, Justice, Reform" and "Democracy for Malaysia." According to Rebecca Palmer, a member of the society, "the group decided to hold the peaceful protest to let Mahathir know that the world is concerned with the issue of human rights violations in Malaysia."

Before his departure for Britain, Mahathir oversaw the arrest of five people who demonstrated in front of Islamic University in Malaysia demanding his resignation. In a mindless reaction to this "illegal assembly" Mahathir is reported to have said, "People who resort to demonstrations are bankrupt of ideas. There is no need for any brain inside the head to demonstrate. A completely empty head can still demonstrate.'' Only Mahathir qualifies to decipher this nonsensical statement. But, apparently taking cues from such a venomous utterance against peaceful dissent, Hishammuddin, a Mahathir lackey, wasted no time in condemning Malaysian students, who demonstrated in Britain, as "traitors." He said, "These students will now have to rethink their action and the agenda of those who had influenced or incited such hatred in them for the leaders of their own country."

Once on the British soil, Mahathir was helpless in front of Malaysian students protesting against him. He neither had the subservient and brutal Malaysian police to crack down on those demonstrators nor a pliant party member to rescue him from this embarrassment. Nonetheless, his bag of tricks was not empty. He reportedly employed a number of accompanying plainclothesmen to take photographs of student demonstrators. Also going by the script of intimidation, a sheepish group of students staged an erratic demonstration in "support" of Mahathir.

It is widely known that most of the Malay students studying overseas at government scholarships are hounded by the fear of termination of their funds and harsh reprisal against them upon return to Malaysia. No wonder the audience in Cambridge that endured the agony of Mahathir's oft-repeated jargon were herded courtesy of government-sponsored free meal, free transportation and a free dose of new fears for participating students.

In addition to Amnesty's protest, Malaysian students solicited support of students from other countries in launching a demonstration against Mahathir. For instance, "Leaflets were also distributed by four Pakistani and Arabic students who voluntarily took up the tasks when asked by our Malay students in Manchester. They waited outside the Lecture Theatre and distributed leaflets to participants."

Mahathir, nonetheless, remained mute in Manchester. But he managed to prove later, in Cambridge, that his senility has its own share of shenanigans. He said that most of the people protesting, "never studied the (Anwar) case." "Most of the people protesting are not even Malaysian students. When I was in Manchester, the protesters were Pakistanis and had nothing to do with Malaysia." These protesters never examine the cause that they are fighting for. In many countries, it is possible to rent protesters," he added .

The Malaysian student activism against Mahathir and his oppressive policies appears to be a genuine movement for the restoration of justice, freedom and democracy. Sluggish and sparse though it may be, in the wake of long-drawn conspiracy against Anwar, there is little Mahathir can do to defend himself against the clamor that is gaining momentum outside Malaysia.

But nothing in the world justifies Mahathir's action in making Pakistani students a scapegoat for ever-mounting casualties in the Malay political heartland. He is squarely guilty of a big blunder. His statement is a diplomatic debacle for which the Government of Pakistan must reprimand him. He must be told in no ambiguous terms that his statement has made him a pariah in the community of civilized nations. His behavior is in serious violation of international conduct and the Government of Pakistan must demand a public apology from this foreign felon. It would be interesting to see if, following the mostly British students at the Amnesty protest, the megalomaniac Mahathir will dare to come up with a similar statement about Britain and then be ready to face the music from London. Predictably, he will not do so just as he has made every legal and illegal effort to avoid his court appearance in Malaysia.

Let it be known that since the birth of Malaysia till 1965, Pakistan has remained one of her major benefactors. It was Pakistani expertise that Malaysia sought in all spheres of national reconstruction. Be it the armed forces, national airline, educational or legal framework of this fledgling state, Pakistan extended full cooperation to Malaysia at every stage. There are countless Malaysian graduates of Pakistani educational institutions today who are playing an important role in national development. But when Pakistan endured an unprovoked war at its borders, Malaysia gave all out support to India for her oppressive policies in the Occupied Kashmir. Yet, in pursuing an altruistic foreign policy in the name of an elusive Ummah, even today Pakistan continues to assist Malaysia with highly trained doctors, nurses, engineers and academicians. A remarkably low presence of unskilled Pakistani workers in Malaysia, as compared to the Gulf region, is a partial commentary on the state of the Malaysian economy for it is unable to sustain high wage workforce.

The final verdict, in light of verifiable evidence: Mahathir bin Iskandar is personally guilty on at least two counts. First, for ordering the kidnapping of a Pakistani citizen (the writer), holding him hostage for 126 days under severe physical and psychological torture and employing the state apparatus including police, judiciary and the media to extract a totally false "confession" in order to give a fictitious credibility to his conspiracy against Anwar Ibrahim. Second, causing a grave hurt to the people of Pakistan for his witless remarks about Pakistani students and casting doubts about their moral integrity. Mahathir undoubtedly is in serious contempt of normal human etiquette for he speaks not the truth and remains completely oblivious of the Quranic pronouncement on liars and slanderers.


I have sworn upon the altar of God eternal hostility against every form of tyranny upon the mind of man - Thomas Jefferson