Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim must exercise point by point right of reply with PAS in particular on issues in conflict in the Biblical Holy Land, especially on the Hamas attack on 7 October, and not masquerade as Malaysia punching gung ho above puny weight in international affairs!
Commentary and Analysis . . . It appears that the chickens came home to roost when Harakah, the PAS daily, lost Malaysia government credentials in the form of the coveted Press Pass. There was political fallout for the Islamic party’s stand on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s disingenous takes and/or non-takes on Hamas staging the universally divisive 7 October attack.
It’s in the public domain that the UN has listed the suicidal militant outfit in the Gaza Strip as terrorist group.
PAS may be taking the cue mostly from three diplomatic notes that the US government handed Malaysia on Hamas perpetrating the 7 October attack.
Anwar has no publicly known response on the US notes taking issue on the widely reported Hamas attack on Saturday 7 October 2023 on the music festival in the southern Israel desert.
Anwar fled, almost immediately in the wake of the US notes, with tail between legs. He, having been purportedly installed by the US State Dept and the US Ambassador in Malaysia, was literally “shitting bricks”. The jury may no longer be out on whether Anwar may be dead man walking. He can probably be removed by the US Ambassador calling Agong again in favour of former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, among others.
PAS looked at the “leaked” versions of the diplomatic notes. Harakah paid the price for Anwar’s perceived “weakness” in the face of the aggressive US response. Earlier, the Prime Minister claimed, based on no proof, that certain European nations were “threatening” him on the 7 October attack by Hamas. PAS lawmakers just laughed in his face in Parliament and were labelled uncouth.
Malaysia Public Perceptions
The 7 October attack, dramatic departure from public perceptions in Malaysia, wasn’t directly per se about the plight of the people in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. It was about Hamas throwing spanner in the works on Saudi Arabia’s imminent rapproachement with Israel after over 70 years Cold War. The suspension of the rapproachement, albeit temporary, tells the story.
Again, that doesn’t mean that there are no serious issues in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
In fact, bound by common values, the Vatican and Iran may already be working on resolving the plight of the people in the Gaza Strip caught up in sudden war.
Hamas Attack Needs Explaining
The Prime Minister must exercise point by point right of reply with PAS in particular on issues in conflict in the Biblical Holy Land, especially on the Hamas attack on 7 October, and not masquerade as Malaysia punching gung ho above puny weight in international affairs.
Malaysia, already staying in glass house and throwing stones since the dictatorial Mahathir premiership began in 1981, has no clear stand on the post-1948 Palestinian (henceforth Palestinian).
Hebrew speaking Jew, before 1948 in the Biblical Holy Land, were also known as Palestinian, an administrative term codified by the Roman Empire. At that time, there were no Arabic speakers in the Biblical Holy Land. There’s no Palestinian language. There has never been Palestine nation-state in history.
The government in Putrajaya, based on the political grapevine, apparently advised local media against describing Hamas as militant.
Anwar, at the same time, may have contacted Hamas leaders. If true, it’s not known why he did that at this time when the temperature could not get any higher. There are credible media reports where Hamas expresses gratitude for Malaysia’s stand following the October 7 attack.
Anwar, ignoring crisis management and damage control, said “foot in mouth” ala shooting himself in the foot in a hara kiri moment, that Malaysia would not recognise US sanctions imposed on Hamas. He added that the government will only recognise sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council (UNSC). In fact, following the terrorist listing, the UNSC imposed umpteen sanctions on Hamas.
Anwar may be the worst Prime Minister on international affairs although the predecessors, equally obsessed with making political capital out of each and every “racial” and religious issue, were no better. He has reputation, based on his own words in the media, as political chameleon purely seeking the votes which will probably never leave PAS. Politicking and politicisation aren’t the be all and end all of life.
It was British Resident-General Sir Frank Swettenham who observed in “Letters” that “the Malay is an arrogant creature. He would not hesitate on harming you even if he suffers much greater harm. All he can think about was harming you. He doesn’t see the much greater harm that he would suffer. We must protect the Malay from himself”.
All politics, we learn from political science, are about the restructuring and distribution of power and restructuring and distribution of income, revenue and resources. Palestine aside, this isn’t happening in Malaysia too as evident from complaints from the people and states like Sabah and Sarawak. Let’s not go there. We have covered the issue previously but may visit again if the opportunity presents itself after the war in the Gaza Strip ends.
Fact Finding Mission
The first casuality, in the fog of war, was truth.
Malaysia needs fact-finding mission on the Middle East before adopting foreign policy initiatives on the region. We can’t fall back on allegedly misleading video footage and visuals which may not be from the war in the Gaza Strip. The hysterical Narrative in Malaysia goes all over the place and sows disorientation, confusion and chaos. Free Palestine from the Mediterranean until the river Jordan means different things for different people. The Jordan River, where Jesus was baptised by cousin John, evokes strong sense of history, brings back collective memories, nostalgia, and stirs deep feelings and emotions.
The public perceptions in Malaysia on Palestine are built on degenerating into rhetorics and polemics driven by simplistic notions viz. the Jew are stealing Palestinian land and torturing and killing them and language in similar vein which pits people in Malaysia against each other for no rhyme or reason. We are not speaking in one language on issues outside, much less on what happens in the country.
Many people don’t realise that Jew isn’t DNA, “ethnicity” or language.
It’s religion and culture.
All human being, i.e. homo sapien, have the same DNA which separates them through genetic barrier of millions of years from other species. DNA is the warehouse for genes i.e. the instruction manual for making the human being.
The Middle East conflict isn’t about “ethnicity” or religion per se.
Muslim can pray at the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem.
The conflict was about Arabic speakers in the Biblical Holy Land having no land titles and, again, Israel being Jewish state although subscribing to the rule of law.
Israel inherited the land policies of the Ottoman and British Empires. Both Empires disregarded the land claims of Muslim on the grounds that Islam came from outside.
Both Hebrew and Arabic are official languages in Israel. Jew outside Israel speak multiple languages. They don’t speak Hebrew.
Malaysia must have studied response on the policy position publicly taken by the European Nations on the Gaza Strip.
In thinking the unthinkable, the Junior Minister in Israel has publicly raised the nuclear option being employed in the Gaza Strip. If so, it may be more about excavating canal from northern Gaza until the Red Sea, if not reducing the territory as nuclear wasteland and buffer zone after transfer of the population. Russia has expressed concerns.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed no ceasefire in the Gaza Strip until Hamas was destroyed. He has assured that Israel will not rule the Gaza Strip again. Netanyahu does not rule out placing the territory under Israeli military administration. The Israeli Army, the media reports, are in Gaza City and have enforced de facto partition of the territory.
The old laws in Judaism, rewritten by Jesus, have come back. It’s “eye for an eye” and “tooth for tooth” that prevails in fighting Karma. The Messiah was about neutralising Karma — the law of cause and effect — as the 1st eternal law based on eternal truth. Sunnatullah, in Islam, is God’s law on cause and effect. The more that we fight Karma, the more that it will fight us. No one can escape Karma. Karma does not exist unless we create it.
The West Bank has been under Israeli military administration since the 1967 war with Jordan. The West Bank came under Jordanian administration in 1948 after the rump state of Palestine was stillborn. Earlier, Jordan itself was separated from the British Trans Jordan Palestine Mandate.
There are perennial calls in Malaysia for boycott of Jewish products. There are also demands that the government send troops to fight Israel in the Gaza Strip. It’s the democratic right. The government should not stand in the way of those heading for the Gaza Strip. Malaysian troops are in Lebanon but under the UN banner.
The people would not be misled, or divided so much, if the government had clear position on key issues which have emerged in the Biblical Holy Land viz. human rights, international law, self-determination, Jewish settlements and Jewish outposts in the West Bank, the al-aqsah Mosque in Jerusalem, stone throwing incidents and terrorist acts. There’s also the little matter of Palestine recognising Israel for the way forward.
The Hamas attack on music festival on Saturday 7 October 2023 in the desert in southern Israel remains the elephant in the room.
It’s open secret that Malaysia has so far avoided commenting on 7 October. Again, instead, we have media reports that Anwar and Hamas leaders may be keeping the communication lines open. All this no doubt made the US State Department express strong displeasure through diplomatic notes. Anwar confirmed in Parliament that Malaysia received three notes from the US State Dept. – NMH
Longtime Borneo watcher Joe Fernandez has been writing for many years on both sides of the Southeast Asia Sea. He should not be mistaken for a namesake formerly with the Daily Express in Kota Kinabalu. JF keeps a Blog under FernzTheGreat on the nature of human relationships.