Temuramah bersama Ezam mengenai halatuju PKR (aka Anwar)

Q: Why did you leave PKR?

A: PKR has diverted from the basic ideals on which it was formed in 1999. I regard it as a question of doing away with the basic fundamentals of the core values of this country – eroding and erasing Malays as the core of the party. When we formed PKN (as PKR was then), we agreed on it being a multi-racial party; but we also firmly agreed that it has to be a Malay-based party. That’s why you could see a lot of Malay towering figures in the Islamic movement there – ABIM, JIM – and I think it’s because it’s a Malay-based multi-racial party.

After Anwar came out of prison, he diverted from that. There’s never a statement from Anwar that PKR is a Malay-based multi-racial party. Suddenly he shifted to make it a purely multi-racial party. When I asked him, he was very evasive about it. He said, “This is a political reality. It’s very hard for us to get Malay votes, so politically we have to bank on the Chinese and Indian votes, so we have to show to them that we are multi-racial.”

This, to my mind, is a betrayal to the race and to the nation. This is the basis of this country. It’s a recognition by Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun Sambanthan, and on Tunku Abdul Rahman’s leadership as a Malay. You can fight for reforms, you can fight against corruption.

If you say the National Economic Policy (NEP) is wrong, I agree with that. In fact, I went to jail to expose corrupt practices of a few leaders. But, criticizing the NEP on its flawed implementation and criticizing the very basis and spirit of the NEP are two different things.

What Anwar was hitting on was the very basis and spirit of the NEP, which is not merely a policy; it is a policy based on a very unique experience of the country, and also the spirit of the constitution, which gives a very special privilege to the Malays. If there is no clause in the Constitution on the situation and privilege of the Malays, we cannot form the NEP. That’s how much the NEP is related to the spirit of the Constitution.

It goes to the very basis of the formation of this country. But Anwar diverted from that. He wanted to make it really multi-racial, and condemned the NEP, to the extent that even Malays see the NEP as the core of corruption, which is unfair, because it is not the cause of corruption. If the NEP is the cause of corruption, then, in Indonesia, there is no NEP, but there is corruption. So, this political maneuovering, at the expense of eroding the basis of this nation, which is multi-racial, but Malay-based, to me, is a betrayal.

Q: But as people have argued, the NEP was actually established to help any poor Malaysian – to bring up the entire Malaysian community. Is there anything wrong in that?

A: Of course not. I’m not saying we can’t come up with any new plan. In fact, the NEP has long been replaced by other policies. But my point is, you cannot condemn or undermine the basic policies which are important to the society. All the great nations of this world have high regard for their forefathers, although they may not agree with them. Kemal Ataturk is the forefather of modern Turkey. He’s very secular, and a lot of people disagree with that now, including (Turkish Prime Minister Reccep Tayyip) Erdogan. He comes from an Islamic party, which contradicts Ataturk’s secularism, but you never see Erdogan criticizing Ataturk.

What is happening now, Anwar is not fighting for the Indians and Chinese out of a real concern for the Indians and Chinese. It’s merely his political maneouvering to get the maximum votes out of the situation, at the expense of criticizing the basic principle of the founding fathers. And this is a betrayal, and a threat to the country, in terms of eroding the basic institutions and ideals

When Anwar was the Finance Minister, he was the one who introduced a specific scheme for Bumiputera contractors – skim kontraktor berwibawa – with the specific instruction to the contract division, to give each Malay company at least RM1 billion worth of projects without tender. Around 15 companies – almost RM15 billion without tender. I’m not complaining about the policies. I am complaining about the consistency of Anwar.

When he was in UMNO, he was the main proponent of affirmative action for the Malays. And now he is talking about equality, open-tender system. I want to remind Chinese and Indians, you have to be careful with this man. Likewise, I also want to remind the Malays – you can see the shift in his political directions. We formed Parti Keadilan on the emotions of the people, and we came up with a Malay-based multi-racial party, because there was also anger among the Chinese and Indians, and they also wanted to fight for him. Then, after he came out from prison, he sees the economy is having problems, but since the Malays are quite contented with Pak Lah, we cannot get the Malay votes. So, he shifted it to a multi-racial party. Now, after a few weeks after elections, he can sense that the Malays are against him. He can sense the policies of Pakatan are undermining the Malays. So, for the past few weeks, he’s getting all the big guns – the big names in Abim and a few other Malay organizations – into the supreme council of Keadilan. He wants to show that he is back to the Malay (struggle). So, how can we trust a person or a party that has had several political directions in the past few years? Some people might say, because Keadilan is new, it will keep on changing because it is new.

But, when DAP was new before, they were consistent with a Malaysian-Malaysia till today. And Pas is consistent with the Islamic State and pursuing Islamic ideals from those days until today. And so has UMNO – fighting for the Malays from Day One until now. But why has Keadilan been fighting and focusing differently from the first year until the ninth year? To my mind, the pursuit is not because of the idealism and objective of the party. The pursuit is because of the objectives of one individual to become Prime Minister. We cannot be serving the interest of one individual to become prime minister.

Q: Anwar has said he has changed. Perhaps that’s the reason for the inconsistency?

A: Yes, he is changed from after prison. But, he keeps on changing. To my mind, it is not because of prison experience; it’s a mere political expediency, which is basically serving a self-centred interest. What I cannot tolerate most is foregoing the basic ingredients of statesmanship. The strength of the founding fathers was not their political maneouvering, nor oratory skills. None of them can come close to Anwar in terms of oratory skills. But their strength is in their statesmanship – putting the interests of the nation before any other interest. This is the strength of the country – it’s very crucial for this multi-racial country. Tun Tan Cheng Lock and Tun Sambanthan tolerated each other, because they wanted to hold the nation together. But what I see from Anwar, he lost all elements of statesmanship. He put his interests very clearly above all other interests. And after the elections, he kept on playing the issue of hopping (coalitions) and creating a new government – which is against the interest of the nation, because you give the wrong signal to the investors.

Q: Perhaps he keeps giving these hints because he believes that Pakatan can take over, and that Pakatan would be a better solution than Barisan?

A: If you want to make a better solution, why don’t you do it quietly? Why do you have to make noise? If you do it quietly, you don’t detriment the country. If you have enough MPs, you go to Parliament, go through the necessary process and become the prime minister. But why are you making noise, especially as the noise you are making goes against the interests of the country? You are making noise because the objective is not to form the government. The objective is to bind Pakat
an Rakyat, which is falling. That’s why he has to come up with a strong imagination among Pakatan that he is going to be prime minister. Because, he can see from the very first day of governing in the four new Opposition states that there’s a lot of trouble there – especially in Perak and Selangor. And it shows all the testimony of a falling coalition. Anwar is a smart politician, and he knows that, so he has to come up with some imagination. So, he has to make it known, by making noise, that he is going to form a government – even at the expense of the country – because the target is not forming the government, but binding Pakatan Rakyat, which is falling.

Q: Why do you say that it’s falling? After all, it’s only now that the country actually has a formal Opposition structure. Except for Kelantan, and for a brief period, Terengganu, the Opposition has never been in government before, so surely it’s expected that it would have teething problems? Does this necessarily translate into ‘falling apart’?

A: Teething problems we can understand. But what happened is fundamental problems. Just a few days ago, the Pas president said in Harakah that there’s no chief in Pakatan Rakyat. That is a fundamental question for a coalition. How is it a coalition can’t even agree on one leader? This is fundamental – it’s not a teething problem. And then, of course, there is also the point he raised about Pas being undermined – this is official in Harakah. And it comes from the Pas president – he brought up all the fundamental issues, which, to my mind, undermines a coalition.

With the DAP, there are a lot of executive meetings boycotted by the DAP – this is a known fact. In the first 100 days, you can disagree; but boycotting meetings – coalition meetings – to my mind, is a fundamental flaw. And until today, there is no one policy which is uniform among the five Pakatan states.

There are some very clear policy differences between Kelantan and Penang – even on dresscode it differs. And nothing is being done about it. So, what this shows is a falling coalition – it’s not a strengthening coalition. We agree there are teething problems, but it must be moving towards strenghthening, not moving towards weakening. And Anwar, being a seasoned politician, knows this very well. That’s why he has to push hard on this imagination of going to Putrajaya by 16 September.

Q: Does this mean Anwar has changed as a person or politician? Or is it that this was not something that you realized?

A: I think this is Anwar. He keeps on changing, he’s only loyal to himself, he doesn’t have loyalty to any organization or ideals. He’s purely someone with a pure and sole ambition of becoming a prime minister. I didn’t realize that then in UMNO, because he was right on that path and only needed to follow through.

Of course, people ask, “Why did it take so long (for you to realize this)?” He was in prison for seven years, so I cannot evaluate him then, because he is in prison. It was always my principle that I would make my decision only after he comes out from jail. Because I don’t want to be seen leaving a boss when he’s in hardship. That’s why I made my decision one or two years after he was released, because in that two years, I could see the real him – no statesmanship, no loyalty to the struggle and ideals, and basically, no long-term plan; it’s all short-term. You should be talking about the long-term Pakatan Rakyat coalition. You should be talking about a long-term building up of Keadilan, which is very weak in structure.

Even in Selangor, which Keadilan is controlling now, the fundamental structure is very weak – for a ruling party. And Anwar doesn’t come up with a long-term strategy to strengthen, because he always looks at the short-term. That’s why he says now 16th September. If he passes 16 September, he will come up with something else for the next three to four months. This is Anwar. And I don’t think I can serve a leader with that sort of modus operandi – self-centred and short-termed. In a way, I can accept the betrayal, but you are playing politics to the extent of eroding the basic structure of the country, which is multi-racial, but Malay-based, to me, it’s a great betrayal of the country, and I don’t want to be part of that.

Q: If he didn’t betray the basic policy of a Malay-based country, but he was ‘playing politics’, it would be okay?

A: Once you go beyond the line – to me, you cannot go beyond the basic principle of religion, race and country. That is beyond repair.

Q: You’ve now rejoined UMNO. But you’ve spent the last 10 years cristicising and slamming UMNO. What makes you now have faith in the party?

A: I joined UMNO in 1991 after meeting Anwar, on the basis of making change. Making an effect on change, reform. That is the principles of the prophets, the genuine freedom fighters – they always fight for change, for the betterment of society. That has always been my principle. That’s why I joined UMNO through Anwar.

Then, I was expelled. I didn’t choose to be out of UMNO. My only sin was to criticize the president of UMNO then (former Prime Minister then Datuk Seri Dr Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamed). I have been punished enough. In fact, even after being re-admitted into UMNO, I am still being punished by not being allowed to contest. I have no complaint about that. I want to make it clear that my rejoining of UMNO is also on the same basis of reform. I always believe – especially after what happened to me in the last 10 years – that corruption is the core issue in the society – especially the Malays. We can see the change from the post-petroleum days – in the 80s, when Petronas was formed, you can see all the big fights in UMNO – through the 90s, and 2000a, which involved the big figures – president, deputy president, former president and present president – I’m not pointing fingers at anybody, but I am saying that there was something wrong there. I remember a hadith which says, “Every generation has its challenges.” For my generation, the core problem is the management of wealth, and of course, this involves the corruption of power. So I keep that very strongly in my heart, and set up an NGO to fight corruption. Of course, after 2004, Pak Lah had announced certain measures against corruption, but it’s not really serious in terms of implementation at that time. But after the recent elections, he came up with a blueprint for setting up the independence of the Anti-Corruption Agency, which, to my mind, is the most significant step for reforms in this country. Because, the problem among Malay society, and Malay leaders at large, is because of corruption and the management of wealth. We’ve never had a prime minister making that kind of commitment before. Even Anwar, when he was the deputy prime minister then, or now, never said anything that was even close to what Pak Lah said. People might question Pak Lah’s motives, but I’m not interested in that. I’m interested in the future, and now we have a prime minister who has that sort of commitment. People will say, “Why don’t you fight this in the NGO?” My answer is, “Now I have a choice.” Before, I didn’t have a choice, that’s why I was in the opposition. But now I have a choice to help the powers that be, who are fighting corruption. That is my basic reason of joining UMNO.

Q: You’ve said with Anwar, that because he wants to survive politically he’s willing to say things. Might not the same thing be said of you, that because you want to survive politically, you’d be willing to sell out on a friend?

A: It’s fair for people to say that. But I think my record shows that I’m very serious about reforms. I don’t see myself as a pure politician. And I’ve proven that it’s not easy to find a politician to miss the opportunity of contesting in the elections. I chose to miss two elections. I
only contested once in 1999, which I almost won in Shah Alam. But I missed 2004 because of my commitment to fight against corruption by exposing documents (for which I was convicted for breaching the Official Secrets Act). I was advised against it by lawyers, because they said I would miss the opportunity to contest. But I said my focus was not to contest, because I don’t see myself as a politician; I want to do something good for the country. And in the last election (2008) I was offered safe seats by many parties to constest. But I still refused because at that particular moment, I think that my contributions towards society is much more meaningful through strengthening the civil society. So, that proves that my focus is not for myself. I only joined UMNO much later, after I left Keadilan, and after all the hardship of building up an NGO, and only after a significant move by the prime minister on reforms. And until today, I’ve not been given any post, because that’s not the deal. The deal is for me to be here and to do what I can. So, the whole process about me in politics is not about myself and my position. This is completely opposite to Anwar, because his whole purpose is about his position and about himself in politics. I think that’s the difference.

Q: Why is it Anwar kept the six boxes and never revealed them?

A: I don’t know. The few days between the time when he was expelled and jailed, 14-18 days, things are in havoc – there was no proper planning and strategy then, so what we have is that Anwar just showed them – I don’t know his purpose in showing them; maybe to convince me or to strengthen my resolve to fight. I really don’t know the motives and I really don’t know how he got it.

Q: Why didn’t he reveal them when he was in power?

A: That you have to ask him.

Q: Hishamuddin Rais said you said you have some boxes full of photos of (murdered Mongolian) Altantuya (Shaariibuu). Do you?

A: No. It is totally false. I’ve never even talked about Altantuya with Isham.

Q: Had you met her?

A: No, of course not. I don’t even know her. It’s very unfortunate. I have a high respect for Isham – he’s my good friend, I have a high regard for him, he’s my friend from Kamunting – he’s an avid reader and I really admire his commitment in reading. But, it’s very unfortunate for him to make such a baseless accusation. It never existed at all, even in conversation. Not just the photo, but even the name Altantuya has never been in our conversations. It’s a totally false statement.

Q: How do you feel about the fact that everytime you are interviewed, it’s always about Anwar and your relationship with Anwar? Do you think you exist in your own right?

A: I think it’s fair. I take it quite naturally; people ask a lot of questions about Anwar now, because they are thinking quite seriously about him, because he claims to become a prime minister soon. I don’t feel uncomfortable with it. And it is also my obligation to tell people who is the real Anwar. Because for the past 10 years, I’ve been doing a lot of convincing jobs to convince people that Anwar is someone whom we can hope for. And I think it’s my responsibility to un-do that. On whether I have my own identity, when the time comes, it will prevail. It is for me to prove myself. As far as I am loyal to the idea of reform and to my race and religion – people will judge me fairly. It has always been an UMNO process that the delegates and members will rise to the occasion, in making the right choice in putting the right leaders (in the right positions). My focus now is to move forward to save this country from the false imagination of someone who is really crazy for power, and to do whatever I can to effect reform in UMNO and BN, so that we can go back to the days when we are very stable.


One Response

  1. During my childhood, i admired Anwar so much. But then, after i finished my studies in university, i keep asking myself…if Anwar right, then why so many of his colleague one by one leave him. Ezam especially. If Anwar love people lives in harmony, he shouldn`t become the mastermind behind all this street demonstration. None of these demos benefits our people except for himself. I`m so sorry, I do admire your spirit to fight back Anwar but not the way u doing it and of course, not you….you just a man with lots of ‘sweets words’.

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