The Stupid Act Of Converting A Hindu To Islam Could Backfire – Pulai By-Election Could Be Anwar’s Tanjung Piai

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Aug 25 2023
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Narcissist Anwar Ibrahim was not impressed that all his hard work during the six state election political campaign had failed to swing the Malay heartland. The prime minister thought he was incredibly popular judging by the large crowd he drew wherever he went. He particularly loves to climb up from his car’s door to salute the cheering crowd as mob-like crowd pushes to greet him.


PM Anwar tries very hard to make himself looks like Malaysia’s Jokowi, referring to the extremely popular Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo. In fact, the Malaysian leader learns to dress modestly like Jokowi, who usually dressed in a simple white shirt and black trousers to project a humble and approachable leader. The modest attires work like magic for Jokowi.


That’s why Anwar has been seen without the designer suits and necktie since taking office – a very different image compared to the period when he was the deputy prime minister more than 25 years ago, before he was sacked by his boss, PM Mahathir Mohamad in 1998. Jokowi’s plain and simple style also projects an image of a leadership that rejects corruption, which Anwar gladly copied.

PM Anwar Ibrahim - Popularity

Taking a step further, every Friday, the Pakatan Harapan chairman would wear a “baju Melayu complete with samping”, not to mention a “capal” (leather slippers). It makes him looks like a sociable Malay leader who is easy going and down-to-earth, so much so some opposition leaders have slammed Anwar to stop “acting” and start behaving like a prime minister.


Regardless whether he was acting or not, he enjoys the celebrity status. But unlike Jokowi, Anwar’s popularity – unfortunately – did not translate into votes he had hoped for. In the recent six state elections, Opposition Perikatan Nasional wiped out UMNO, the Malay nationalist party which Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan partnered with after the November 2022 General Election that produced a hung parliament.


The fact that the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) supporters abandoned their own party in favour of rival Perikatan Nasional speaks volumes about Anwar’s inability to convince UMNO-Malays. If he can’t even charm the Malays from his own allies, what more the Malays from Bersatu (Malaysian United Indigenous Party) or Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS – Parti Islam Se-Malaysia)?

PAS Islamist Party - Go To Heaven - Bersama Ke Syurga

Despite wiping off RM8.3 billion in debt accumulated by Felda settlers, raining cash on Mara, Risda, Felcra, Felda and other Malay development programmes and agencies, approving RM1.5 billion to fix Kelantan’s water supply problems, and rushing to help 40,000 flood victims in opposition states Kelantan and Terengganu, the conservative Malays decided to reject Anwar.


Heck, to demonstrate that he was more Malay than racist bigot Muhyiddin Yassin (president of Bersatu) and more Islamic than religious extremist Hadi Awang (president of PAS), Anwar had even shamelessly bullied a student of Indian ethnicity. Anwar, when asked about the timeline to replace discriminative “quota system” with a meritocracy system, had criticized the student for asking a sensitive question.


Even though Anwar-led Pakatan Harapan has managed to defend Selangor, Penang and Negeri Sembilan, the crown jewel Selangor lost its two-thirds majority. The premier quickly offered an excuse why the Malays did not vote for him – Malaysia Madani concept needs more time to understand. Did he realize that the Malays were not interested in his brainchild sloganeering?

Anwar Ibrahim - Malaysia Madani

Still unable to accept the reality that his perceived popularity was no match for racial and religious hatred spewed by the opposition, PM Anwar wants to continue play the game that he can never win. His latest dumb act was openly converted a Hindu youth to Islam after performing Friday prayers at a mosque in Klang, Selangor – sparking criticism among non-Muslims.


It was clearly a politically motivated stunt. Perhaps, Mr Anwar’s increasing obsession to be seen as a more pious Muslim leader has clouded his judgement. It didn’t cross his mind that as the 10th Prime Minister of Malaysia, who is responsible to all the people in the multi-ethnic, multi-religion and multi-cultural country, he should not have performed the religious conversion himself.


Such job is reserved for Muslim religious officials of the mosque. No past prime minister had done such silly drama before, no matter how desperate they were to impress upon Muslim voters. Perhaps he thought the conversion of the Hindu youth could miraculously boost his reputation and ranking in the popularity contest and win the grand champion of Malay-Muslim trophy.

Anwar Ibrahim Converting A Hindu To Islam

It was already bad that there were deep distrust, dissatisfaction and suspicions between Malays and non-Malays due to 60 years of racism and discrimination policies that favours the majority race Malay under the previous Barisan Nasional regime. It becomes worse now as the country becomes more polarized than ever along ethnic lines after the six state elections.


Anwar’s stupid act will only add fuel to the fire, without clear indication that the religious conversion has suddenly changed the heart of the Malay heartland. Instead of winning applause, the hardcore conservative Malays probably laugh at his desperation. Meanwhile, his mantra that “Malays, Chinese, Indians, Dayaks and Kadazans are my children” is being questioned by his own supporters.


Worse, the Hindus, especially the Tamil community, may decide to punish the Anwar-led unity government in the upcoming Pulai parliamentary by-election, which also involves Simpang Jeram state seat after the death of former Domestic Trade and Cost of Living Minister Salahuddin Ayub. Anwar’s recklessness could see a repeat of 2019 Tanjung Piai by-election.

Pakatan Harapan - Perikatan Nasional - Flags

In the 2019 Tanjung Piai by-election, Mahathir-led Pakatan Harapan was punished by the Chinese voters thanks to excessive racist politics played by the prime minister. Pakatan Harapan managed to secure only 10,380 votes (26.74%), having lost to opposition Barisan Nasional (25,466 votes or 65.6%) even though the constituency has 42% Chinese votes – supposedly strong supporters of Pakatan.


Losing by a whopping 15,086 majority vote was a huge humiliation to Mahathir. Barisan cleverly picked MCA candidate Wee Jeck Seng to take advantage of the ethnic Chinese’s displeasure and anger. The defeat was a message to 94-year-old Mahathir over issues like Khat Jawi, Zakir Naik, sagging economy, rising cost of living and poor performance of the government.


Dancing to the tune of then-opposition PAS and UMNO, silly Mahathir tried to market himself as more Malay than UMNO and more Islamic that PAS when he supported extremist Zainal Kling, who warned and threatened non-Malay minorities that their citizenship could be suspended. Mahathir had also used the Malay Dignity Congress to ridicule the Chinese that they were merely “orang asing (foreigners)”.

Mahathir Mohamad and Hate Preacher Zakir Naik

The ethnic breakdown of Pulai federal constituency is Malay (44.5%), Chinese (40.2%) and Indian (12.2%) with registered electors numbering 166,653. In the Nov 2022 national polls, Salahuddin Ayub captured 55.33% or 64,900 votes. However, because it was a three-corner contest, he won with a 33,174 majority votes. Based on recent six state elections, UMNO vote bank may transfer to rival Perikatan Nasional.


If Chinese voters turnout is 60%, the opposition can win even if it captures merely half (50%) of the total Malay votes and 20% of angry Indian voters in Pulai. Mr Salahuddin had won by a majority of only 5.33%, which translates to 8,811 votes in November last year. Indian voters alone were already 12.2%. So, if half of ethnic Indian decides to punish Anwar, the seat is lost.


The Simpang Jeram state constituency is an easier meat for Perikatan Nasional to capture. Salahuddin won it with a small majority of 2,399 votes and an unconvincing 40.94% majority vote last year. The ethnic breakdown – Malay (53.42%), Chinese (43.32%) and Indians (2.75%). The turnout was only 54.72% in Nov 2022, hence expect an even lower turnout this round.

Anwar Ibrahim - Under Pressure

The Indian community in Pulai might do to Anwar what the Chinese community in Tanjung Piai did to Mahathir. Sure, the prime minister didn’t break any law when he performed the religious conversion. But his moronic act has definitely offended the Hindus, who had trusted him to be a genuine leader sensitive to all Malaysians. Unfortunately, like Mahathir, Anwar is also dancing to the tune of PAS.


Anwar’s attempt to move towards Islamic conservative plays into the hands of the radicals and extremists of Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS – Parti Islam Se-Malaysia). Muslim students attending government schools are required to take up Islamic studies, Quranic studies and Tasmik where innocent schoolgirls are forbidden from wearing a pinafore because they are “Muslims”.


In Selangor, kids as young as nine-year-old Maisarah Azhar was told that she would be barred from Islamic studies classes if she continued to wear a baju kurung without a hijab to school. There were also reports that Muslim schoolgirls being physically checked to prove they were menstruating and therefore excused from performing prayers or fasting during Ramadan.

Malaysia STEM Education

Instead of introducing reforms in school such as empowering students and educators with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education, Anwar government has introduced even more religious syllabus – “Imam Al-Nawawi’s 40 Hadith” module. At least, former PM Mahathir has been consistent in pushing for the teaching of science and mathematics in English.


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