Anwar attacks opposition for opposing local council elections

(MMO) – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today criticised the Opposition for fearmongering about local council elections, after it was brought up by federal government coalition member DAP recently.

The Pakatan Harapan (PH) chairman said the Malay community’s position in the country is secure, and the group should instead be encouraged to reach greater heights rather than being held back with a siege mentality.

“We’re only discussing it. Is it not even possible to discuss it? We’re not even at the stage of deciding on it,” Anwar told senior editors in a dialogue session in Seri Perdana Complex here, referring to the proposal to revive local council elections.

He also mentioned the recent proposal by Perikatan Nasional (PN) to amend the Federal Constitution to restrict the post of prime minister to only Malay candidates.

“Maybe in 20 or 30 years later, we can talk about [a non-Malay prime minister]. But at the moment, there is no issue of this happening,” he said, referring to the outcry over DAP’s Lim Kit Siang speech.

Last month, Lim, in his speech, said he hoped that it would not take long for Malaysia to appoint a non-Malay prime minister. He cited United States history where it took 230 years for a Black American to become the president.

Additionally, Federal Territories DAP had last week once again called for the reinstatement of local government elections in the nation’s capital after the Federal Territories Ministry was revived.

“Why are we training Malays to have a siege mentality? We are the majority, we are still strong.

“The King, the prime minister, the menteri besar [are all Malays]. Why is there such a feeling of fear?” Anwar asked.

In the same session, Anwar also expressed his concern over the abuse of religion in politics, and how elements of mediocrity and idiocy have permeated some religious lectures to the point of overriding critical thinking among Muslims.

“We don’t encourage, in the name of religion, creative thinking. The moment you criticise, they say you have no right to question the ulama,” he said, referring to Islamic religious scholars.

He also listed fanaticism, irrationality and religious bigotry among some Muslims as challenges for his administration — which can only be health with through education.

Anwar cited the controversial “Imam Al-Nawawi’s 40 Hadith” appreciation module introduced by the Ministry of Education earlier this year as an example.

During the Cabinet reshuffle last week, Anwar named Shariah and Islamic finance academic Zulkifli Hasan as a deputy to Religious Affairs Minister Datuk Mohd Na’im Mokhtar, believed as an attempt to bolster the bid to reform the institutionalisation of Islam in the country.