Why I parted ways with Anwar

Abdul Rahman Othman

Abdul Rahman Othman

Many do not realise when and how the Chinese became so bold as to attack the Malay leadership. And by ‘Malay leadership’ I do not just mean Umno. It includes PAS as well.

It began some time in May 2006. At that time PKR discovered the great idea that to defeat Umno and to swing support for the Opposition they must attack the New Economic Policy (DEB) and its implementation.

Previously, the Chinese were unhappy with the DEB but they kept it to themselves. But since May 2006, for the first time, the Malay leaders led by Anwar Ibrahim in PKR attacked the DEB.

This emboldened the Chinese in DAP and even NGOs such as Suaram to openly attack the DEB. I had a row with Anwar on this. I told him and Tian Chua that the DEB as a policy is derived from the Constitution as part of the Merdeka agreement. The main problem with the DEB, however, was its implementation and abuse.

They disagreed that we should differentiate between policy and implementations. They wanted to attack the DEB in total to swing support away from Umno. And they succeeded. The 2008 general election result proved that the non-Malay voters had swung to the Opposition.

In the 1999 general election, against the cries of ‘Reformasi’, 60% of the Chinese still supported Barisan Nasional. In the 2004 general election, they still kept their unhappiness. But with the Malays leading the onslaught against the DEB, the Chinese set aside their fears and 90% of them voted Opposition.

I remain with the Opposition, PAS, but not at the expense of the Constitutional rights of the Malays and Muslims. That is where I parted ways with Anwar Ibrahim.