Sebelah Sayap

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Anuar's "Gesture Politics" Raises Eyebrow

Datuk Seri Anuar Ibrahim often likes to potray himself to the world as Malaysia's great crusader, peaceably agitating for change against a seemingly unbending, authoritarian regime. After BERSIH 2.0 last year, he played a victim quite persuasively, mobilising his friends in the foreign media to attact the goverment for taking "brutal action" against peaceful protesters.

But after his questionable role in BERSIH 3.0, Anwar's star appears to be waning. In fact, things have gone downhill that-- far from heralding him as a democrat--many  are now accusing Anwar of inciting violence. Video footages from BERSIH 3.0 posted in youtube shows Anuar making a curious rolling gesture with his hands to PKR deputy president Azmin Ali.

Within second, PKR supporters breaches the police barricades and charge to Merdeka Square, prompting the police to respond with tear gas and water cannons to prevent a stampede. In an interview with radio australia on tuesday, Anuar denied that his hand gesture was a signal to protestors to breach the barricades, instead of claiming implausibly that it meant, "negotiate with the police".

People will make up their own mind about the truth, but so far, few outside observers appear convinced. "Mr Anuar has some explaining to do", was the economist's verdict and, here in Malaysia, Anuar's role in BERSIH 3.0 has been similarly criticised by people from many ends of the political spectrum.

At a PKR press confrence on monday, independent film maker Benji Lim accused Anuar of endengering the lives of the protesters, as well as jeopardising BERSIH's cause. The protest "was completely hijacked by the opposition", he exclaimed before being bundled unceremoniously out of the room. Even BERSIH 3.0 chief organiser Ambiga Sreenevasen has lamented BERSIH's politicisation by opposition leaders, telling journalist that she "cannot control what they say".

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