Is Malaysia turning into a theocratic state?

Anwar is also one of the founding members of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) in the US, which is under-investigation by US Federal law enforcement agencies since the late 90s, for the suspected financing of terrorist organizations such as Al Qaida.

Suvrokamal Dutta, MeriNews

Malaysia a very important country in South-East Asia, and a vital member of ASEAN. It has faced huge turmoil in the last couple of years with the hardcore Islamist fundamentalist hell bent upon in turning the country into a hardcore Islamist state based on the Shariat with Islam being the state religion. Already there are many provinces in Malaysia, which follow the Shariat such as Selangor, Penang and others. It is also an accepted reality that Malaysia turned Islamic way back in the 1960s when Islam became the state religion with 60 percent of the country’s population following one or the other form of Islam.
However, the constitution of Malaysia guarantees equal freedom and rights to 40 percent minority population, which consists mainly of Chinese, Indian and others, who follow and practice Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity. Malaysia does guarantee freedom of religion to all.

But all this might not stay rosy for too long. Malaysia does have a brutal history of ethnic riots with the country reeling under huge ethnic riots against the ethnic Chinese minority in 1960s and in ‘70s, and more recently against the Indians two years back in which many Indian minority people were targeted with hundreds getting injured, and many deaths reported.

The dangers loom large for this transformation with Anwar Ibrahim the leader of the main opposition People’s Alliance, which is a rainbow collation of many parties including the hardcore Islamist Party, whose soul motto and attempt is to convert Malaysia into a hardcore Islamic state based on the Wahhabi form of Islam, which is practiced in Saudi Arabia. Anwar Ibrahim is an active supporter of this. Anwar though tries to project a liberal democratic western educated face for himself but in reality has a different face altogether.  The kind of connection which he keeps and maintains with the hardcore elements of the Arab world portrays a different picture of Anwar.

At first glance people who don’t know Anwar’s brand of politics would have laurels for the kind of political thoughts that he preaches in public with advocacy of Liberalism on many issues with freedom of expression and religion in Malaysian society. At the same time the kind of friendly equation which he maintains with powerful Liberal Americans like Paul Wolfowitz and other powerful democrats as well as the US Vice President like Al Gore would in face value make him the darling of the Western world and the US. With elections looming large in near future in Malaysia and the gap between the ruling party and the opposition narrowing down with every passing day the recent activities of Anwar Ibrahim has raised many eyebrows.

The recent travel in early 2012 to the Arab world like Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar and meeting leading Muslim figures there like Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi a leading Islamic Theologian and visiting his personal house in Doha, Qatar raises many questions. Qaradawi is the unofficial Muslim leader of the Islamic world and he supports suicide bombings against Israel as well as female circumcisions. At Qaradawi’s house Anwar Ibrahim also met Khalid Mashaal as per unofficial reports. Mashaal has taken responsibility for numerous suicide bombings, killing and wounding innocent civilians, including helpless women and children. The trip as many have claimed could be a part of damage control on part of Anwar Ibrahim after his open support to Israel’s defense of national security claims a comment which was not appreciated in his own country Malaysia.

Not only this many say Anwar Ibrahim has close and personal contact with the Specially Designated Global Terrorists (SDGT) sources say Anwar had personal contacts with Youssef Al Nada until at least 2011 reports claim Nada personally visited Anwar when the latter was on a visit to USA in 2011. Nada an Egyptian banker has been designated by the U.S., the UN and Switzerland for having financed terrorism through an extensive financial network and providing support for terrorist-related activities, including those undertaken by Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaida. Nada founded Bank Al Taqwa, the financial institution known to have provided cash transfers and investment advice to Al Qaida in preparation for 9-1-1.

Other close friends of Anwar includes Hisham Al-Talib, former director of one of Al Nada’s companies and now with Ibrahim’s IIIT in the US; as well as Dr. Mohammed Manzoor Alam, co-founder with Al Nada of Al Taqwa Bank. Anwar has also served in the board of Al-Baraka Bank which has a questionable history which the US claims to be one of the main conduits for funding Al Qaida and other terror outfits. Anwar is also one of the founding members of the International Institute for Islamic Thought (IIIT) in the US, which is under-investigation by US Federal law enforcement agencies since the late 90s, for the suspected financing of terrorist organizations such as Al Qaida.

Ibrahim’s party’s coalition partner, PAS has been advocating the passing of Hudud laws based on Islamic penal code if voted to power Anwar has been quite on this with Islamic fundamentalism reeling roost in neighboring Indonesia and the government of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono taking no steps to prevent it such dangerous changes in Malaysia if it happens would be suicidal for the security of Asia- Pacific region including the US, China and India and it could be extremely dangerous for multi-cultural state like Malaysia as well for its large Indian minority. Government of India should not remain a mute spectator to the internal developments in South East Asia.

(About the contributor: Suvrokamal Dutta is a renowned television celebrity, political commentator, and foreign policy and economic expert.)