Empty seats, Mahathir’s speech fill social media chatter as Malaysians evaluate Anwar’s first UN address
Pictures of a near-empty hall at the United Nations General Assembly make waves on social media hours after the prime minister’s speech.
(Malaysia Now) – Comparisons have been made between the speech yesterday at the United Nations General Assembly by Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and the one delivered by former leader Dr Mahathir Mohamad five years ago, with many pointing to the audience size to show the level of interest by the international community.
Several video clips and pictures have been making waves since last night, showing a near-empty hall as Anwar addressed the UN for the first time since assuming top office last year.
In one video, Mahathir was seen addressing the same venue with a much larger audience, comprising diplomats and representatives.
“The last time Tun M spoke at the UN assembly, it was full house,” wrote Condor Hero on Twitter, referring to Mahathir’s speech in September 2018. “PMX spoke for only 15 minutes to an almost empty hall! No one is interested in what Madani is!”
Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaks at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018, among the pictures shared on social media as internet users compare the audience size of the former leader’s speech to that of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
A picture of Dr Mahathir Mohamad speaking at the United Nations General Assembly in September 2018 is among those shared on social media as internet users compare the audience size of the former leader’s speech to that of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.
Anwar, in his speech, touched on his Malaysia Madani slogan.
“Early this year, I introduced Malaysia Madani, a vision built on the pillars of core values that we believe are indispensable in any harmonious, thriving, and peaceful society: compassion, respect, trust, innovation, prosperity, and sustainability,” he said.
Checks during the live telecast of Anwar’s 15-minute speech showed a largely empty hall with only a sprinkling of delegates, including a group of Malaysian ministers who accompanied the prime minister on the trip.
One commentator recalled how Pakatan Harapan (PH) supporters used to mock past leaders for speaking to empty chairs during the UN speech, considered a highlight of international limelight for any prime minister.
“I remember PH supporters used to condemn, vilify, and make jokes about past PMs’ speeches at the UNGA, from the language used to the attendance. Now? Serves them right.”
Mahathir had several times addressed the UN, where he was among the few leaders from the Muslim world at that time who would take on major powers as well as criticise the world body over veto powers.