An afternoon with Anwar

All Blogs protem President Ahiruddin “Rocky” Attan organised a session with former Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim this afternoon. We met at his private office in section 16, Petaling Jaya. One of Zorro Unmasked‘s (www.zorro-zorro-unmasked.blogspot.com) students arranged the meeting and Zorro insisted that I attend.

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More than a dozen bloggers showed up. Then Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim appeared, in his dashing grey baju Melayu, a nice songket samping but without the songkok. PKR Vice President Azmin Ali and Anwar’s PA, Nik Nazmi were there too.

The session was conducted in an informal ambience. Mainly, we asked him questions and opinion and he answered. Most of it was about politics. It was like a PR exercise for him and PKR, with the vast spectrum bloggers.

Anwar Ibrahim felt that bloggers have a big role to play in the political interests now. He said bloggers provided a lot of information and created awareness. He also said that the Government is feeling the affect of it growing and they are beginning to react.

Anwar tributed a lot of his earlier struggle after being sacked from Government and UMNO to Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Malaysia Today. In his own words, “…strong supporter and immense contribution….” into his cause. He also admitted he reads Malaysia Today, often. However, he did not say about the other blogs.

Anwar had a strong resolution that PKR lost in Ijok recently, because of the phantom voters and cheating in the ballots. When I raised that PKR’s lost in Ijok is dubbed “Anwar’s Waterloo”, he coyly answer was “That’s interesting”. Anwar admitted that its tough to strike a balance between the getting the support of hardliners PAS supporters, especially in the interiors and the more liberal issues with the DAP people.

Talking about the current politics today, the matter about him opposing Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad’s and now Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s administrations. Anwar said, “At least Dr. Mahathir gets things done!”, with a full confidence of a clear distinction, “Pak Lah is not doing anything. What is going on now is a blatant rape and molestation of country’s resources”.

Asked about the chances to run against the current administration as opposed the previous, Anwar said its slightly easier now. He explained further, “Dr. Mahathir was more decisive in his approach and has no qualms about using force and resources”.

When posed to the question, why not he take on Abdullah in Kepala Batas in the next elections, he smirked, almost not ready to be ‘ambushed’ in that manner “That’s interesting……got to be looked into”. Then he rambled about further about the ethnic composition. He said “Its not easy”. When asked why he is relaxed on the attacks against PM Abdullah, he gave an excuse that some of Penang people asked him to ease of on the son of a well known Ulama’.

Anwar also reiterated “You cannot underestimate the intellectual capacity of Dr. Mahathir”. Clearly, its embedded in him that Tun Dr. Mahathir has put a mark in his system on the latter’s ability to achieve many things. When asked about him reconciling with his former Boss, he coyly said “I told Al Gore the same thing recently…. let us just move on”.

Asked about upcoming PKR Convention, two agenda would be focused which is Economy and Election Commission. He spoke of the abolishment of the NEP and have a market economy with a special policy to help the under developed Malays, which is majority of the population. It sounds suspiciously like NEP re-packaged in another form, being re-branded. He also admitted in the 70s, he also supported the NEP when he was a student leader. Of course he conveniently omitted the point that he was the Finance Minister which specifically implemented a lot of projects and programs under the NEP as we know it, for 7 years (1991-1998). Nailing him in front of fellow bloggers in his own turf might be regarded as ‘distasteful’.

Anwar also touched on the international inter-faith convention that was supposed to be held here in Malaysia but canceled. He sounded like he is in support of the “Article 11″ movement and he said he did explain the issue of engaging the different faith from a more liberal perspective at great length to the PAS leaders. He said he managed to contain the PAS leaders from antagonizing against the issue further.

The last word in this session with Anwar Ibrahim, the bloggers were asked to give more support for PKR. In response to that, Rocky said that it is important that All-Blogs remain impartial as it drew bloggers from adverse political affiliations including UMNO (this is where everyone “conveniently” turned to the back and glanced at me! Thanks a million, Rocky! Of course, Anwar gave another cynical smirk at me, again). Being a seasoned politico-bloggo-journo who is very matured in the political scene, Rocky said All-Blogs needed PKR support more than PKR needed them. All laughed.

When parted, as Anwar shook my hand, he gave a very cynical smile (as if we have engaged before). Most probably for an informal PR session, I threw too much prickly questions at him. At the end of the session, his daughter and aspiring PKR young politican Nurul Izzah Anwar dropped by to greet the bloggers.

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Published in: on May 11, 2007 at 18:09  Comments (24)  

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24 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. big dog
    you don’t seem to be beguiled or charmed by dsai’s charismatic presence.
    amir

  2. “Anwar admitted that its tough to strike a balance between the getting the support of hardliners PAS supporters, especially in the interiors and the more liberal issues with the DAP people.” At least, he admits that it is tough, which is honest of DSAI.

    “When asked why he is relaxed on the attacks against PM Abdullah, he gave an excuse that some of Penang people asked him to ease of on the son of a well known Ulama’.” I am puzzled. Son of a well known Ulama should not be critized or attacked? Sounds like to me more like an excuse than a reason. Anyway, that is just my interpretation.

    “He spoke of the abolishment of the NEP and have a market economy with a special policy to help the under developed Malays, which is majority of the population. It sounds suspiciously like NEP re-packaged in another form, being re-branded. He also admitted in the 70s, he also supported the NEP when he was a student leader.” Neither here nor there sort of comment: abolishment of NEP sounds like NEP re-packaged. Without an affirmative policy, DSAI will end up trying to please everyone but end up none.

    Any possibility of getting a transcript of the interview?

  3. thanks for the coverage boss, was good to see you :)

  4. “At least Dr. Mahathir gets things done!”, thats a nice thing to hear coming from anwar himself.

    it must be pretty awkward for u huh big bro? hehe…

  5. Malaysian in Riyadh,

    No I am not.

    Dee Ann,

    No transcript. The session was not recorded. I took notes. I dunno about the rest. Some of the issues not published in my story.

    Kerp,

    Zorro insisted that I come and ask questions. So, I asked. What I was looking is not the answer. Its the body language. Anwar is a seasoned politician.

    Nat Tan,

    Thanks for having us.

  6. Salam,

    Good to see you there. It was a fruitful discussion, I believe.

    Just a few corrections:

    Malaysian Economic Agenda vs. NEP: MEA is not NEP rebranded. The essence of NEP is alleviation of poverty regardless of race and to remove economic function from race. DSAI has acknowledged NEP’s contribution in poverty eradication and creation of Malay middle class, but believes that with the greater Malay middle class and globalised world, the way forward is to build competitiveness while at the same time continuing to assist the marginalised regardless of race. This means that poor, deserving Malays will continue to be assisted without exempting poor Chinese or Indians.

    Religious Dialogue: DSAI has been a proponent of cultural, civilizational and religious dialogue since his days in government. But he believes that this should be based on mutual respect and tolerance. He organised an Intra Muslim Dialogue which invited Muslims from across the spectrum to attend, but this was largely ignored by the liberals after DSAI had struggled to convince the so-called religious groups to have a dialogue with them.

    He commented on the same issue in Malaysiakini today and a statement on the matter will be issued tomorrow.

  7. Tahniah bro. , kadang-kadang tu lawak gak bila fikir anwar ni .. ingat semua orang nak sokong dia kaa .

  8. The PR session, as you put it, took place on an auspicious date – May 11. Pure coincidence?
    aMiR

  9. Thanks for the effort anyway. Ha ha…looking the body language not the answers. I am learning something everyday.

  10. 11 May is UMNO’s annual anniversary.

    Seasoned and experienced politicians know exactly what to say when dealing with unexpected. But their body reaction is the natural depiction of what is inside their mind and hearts. Body languages usually not easy to hide.

  11. Good cap on the meet Biggie(like Notorious B.I.G abit haha), you didn’t tapau the kuihs for us arr?

  12. There was enough kuih. I missed lunch (due to Friday prayers – I usually hv lunch after prayers). I went straight from mosque to the place. And the kuih plate was infront of me! yum, yum :) (Jed and Jeff, sitting next to me seemed to be interested more in the session than the kuih). So I ate :)

    Had I did not keep my mouth busy with chewing, I’d ask more questions! You know lah me and staunchness for UMNO and today is UMNO day! Hahahahahhahahahahahhahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahhaa :)

  13. He (Anwar) was what he was and is what he is. I buy his story, views and stand. The opposition has got me hook-line-and-sinker — especially after witnessing Umno’s Klang gang in action during the Ijok by-election.

  14. yea, love him or hate him, we cant deny anwar is one heck of a politician but again
    i’m stressing out here…he messed with a better man in Tun.

    padah akibatnya.

  15. When asked about his reconciling with his former Boss, he coyly said “I told Al Gore the same thing recently…. let us just move on”.

    Hmm …. intriguing answer. What does Al Gore got to do with reconciling with TDM? Fodder for conspiracy theory.

  16. [...] An afternoon with Anwar All Blogs protem President Ahiruddin “Rocky” Attan organised a session with former Deputy Prime Minister Dato’ […] [...]

  17. Looks like he’s still very much beholden of his former boss.
    What more is there to say?

  18. DSAI also said that he would be happy to help with anything that All-Blogs might need to get going. That was a really nice gesture.
    Btw, BigDog, we need to find out who their caterer is. The kuih-muih were really good.

  19. Rocky,

    I’d second that. The kuih kacang is good! yum, yum. All-Blogs should hv a Tuesday Kuih Day, for a change :)

  20. Cynical smile…? It means everything… Yang pastinya, tanda bukan seorang pemimpin… tiada ilmu dalaman dan tidak Islamic berbuat demikian ke atas seseorang. Bukan cara Nabi saw.

    TM.

  21. As you put it: ‘Nailing him in front of fellow bloggers in his own turf might be regarded as ‘distasteful’.

    Nailing him down would be nice. And..cynical smile? You sure it means what you think it means? heh..heh..heh…

  22. Sutradari,

    I was invited by the protem Exco of All-Blogs and it was a courtesy call on Anwar Ibrahim, who is also a blogger. It was not a media conference by him or PKR nor it was a political forum. Therefore, as a guest at his private office, I have show some level of respect for the host and not insult him, with questions that seen as “nailing him”. I had this long list of questions when I went there and the ambiance was not right to be hostile. Maybe, at another opportunity, I will ask more.

  23. [...] This one taken from BigDogdotcom [...]

  24. Biggum Dogmannsteinberg Says:
    May 18th, 2007 at 11:54 pm
    Sutradari,
    I was invited by the protem Exco of All-Blogs and it was a courtesy call on Anwar Ibrahim, who is also a blogger. It was not a media conference by him or PKR nor it was a political forum. Therefore, as a guest at his private office, I have show some level of respect for the host and not insult him, with questions that seen as “nailing him”. I had this long list of questions when I went there and the ambiance was not right to be hostile. Maybe, at another opportunity, I will ask more.
    BRO..!!
    I LIKE UR WORD.. “RESPECT”.. SO IM SURE U DIDNT ADRESS HIM OR CALL HIM “ANWAR AL-JUBRI..” (ur fav word in MyKMU)… hahahaa.. bigguy..bigguy..

    That is SO WRONG! I don’t use the adjective “Al Jubs” in MyKMU.net. Why the hell should I use it now?

    Do not confuse me with other people! Get your bloody facts right, FIRST!


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