While Umno die-hards will answer a resounding "no", the spirit of Anwar continues to inspire hope in those who dream of a cleaner, fairer Malaysia.

By J D Lovrenciear
Ask any Umno leader or their hopefuls whether former Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim is still relevant for Malaysia’s future and the answer will be a resounding ‘mana boleh’. The recent statement by one Umno Cheras chieftain summarises the cloaked fears that his party warlords harbour deep in their hearts.

Let the poison pens be also reminded that age is not a factor for leadership. Experience, knowledge, character and determination to serve a nation passionately make a defining difference.

The country’s political landscape is unfortunately wrought with decades of patronage politics. Simply put, apple-polishing and a complementing reward system keeps charismatic leaders from rising above the scum.

That too well explains why today, despite so much of unhappiness over the current leadership – both within and outside the ruling Barisan Nasional government, we cannot see a strong, commanding and promising leader rise to give hope to the rakyat.

Loyalty is the premium. If you challenge the top, out you go. If you attract too much support, you’re packed off to jail. Hence Malaysian politics remains permanently third-world rated.

Truly, if Umno believes that Anwar is a spent bullet, why the determination to keep him in prison?

The truth is, in or out of prison, Anwar commands admiration and interest and is a symbol of hope.

Yes, the holier-than-thou Muslims will use sodomy as the sin against Anwar. However, the very people who have condemned him – including former premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad, know too well their fate if Anwar walked out of prison today.

The only problem is that Malaysians are far too weak-willed and morally crippled compared to their Asean neighbours. (Now do not get angry with Mat Sabu for calling all Malaysians ‘cowards’).

And so the current regime keeps capitalising on this Malaysian malady and remains supreme despite on-going investigations around the world on Malaysia’s suspected financial scandals.

For as long as Malaysians choose to let their country remain buried in corruption, the spirit of Anwar will continue to inspire hope in those who dream of a cleaner and fairer Malaysia for all Malaysians.

J D Lovrenciear is an FMT reader. 
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