Criticism by activist seen as a sign of waning Anwar influence


Zaidi Azmi
Written by Zaidi Azmi

KUALA LUMPUR – September 5, 2017: The ongoing cyber discussion on the latest criticism against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim by anti-establishment activist Hishamuddin Rais has led to some concluding that the former’s political influence is waning.

Those who think this base their thoughts on the belief that Hishamuddin has long been identified as an Anwar loyalist.

Yesterday, Hishamuddin blamed Anwar for supposedly aggravating the infighting in PKR, which had stemmed over disagreements among party leaders on the need for the party to cooperate with PAS in the next general election.

“Anwar Ibrahim tends to give different views to different people over the same matter. This creates confusion, like the one happening in PKR right now,” he wrote, following Anwar’s statement three days ago that observers said did little to quell the infighting.

Hishamuddin, who is also known as a prominent rabble-rouser, said that because Anwar is currently serving a jail sentence, he should not take part in petty quarrels within the opposition but instead focus on bigger issues, “like coming out with a latest magnum opus”.

When told about Hishamuddin’s latest salvo, someone who knows him well but prefers to remain anonymous spoke about the activist’s personality as he knows it.

In the couple of years before  Anwar’s problems with Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad were known openly, Hishamuddin often took a swipe at Anwar going back to his days as a student at the University of Malaya.

“He saw as a a big joke Anwar’s transformation into a man of the establishment — his book, the way he dressed, everything. In the first few days of the Reformasi movement he managed to remain as a bystander but it must have been too much for Hishamuddin the stone-throwing activist. Within days he was leading the young mobs in throwing stones.

“And within the next several months there was Hishamuddin on stage at various Reformasi rallies, clenched fist up in the air, voicing his undivided support for Anwar.”

This source also pointed out to Hishamuddin’s very conspicuous presence at Pakatan Harapan’s events fronted by Mahathir.

Said this source: “If Mahathir and wife Siti Hasmah think Hishamuddin has forgotten and forgiven Mahathir for putting him in detention under the then Internal Security Act, they are grossly mistaken because for Hishamuddin it’s not about loyalty per se…. it’s about opposing, throwing stones in the streets. If tomorrow Mahathir becomes prime minister all over again, trust Hishamuddin to be in the forefront of groups opposing the PM!!”

“Facebooker Abd Manan commented that the criticism could be Hishamuddin’s way of trying to chip away Anwar’s influence among the masses.

“Look at him. Asking the person who made him famous among opposition supporters to shut up. What an ingrate!” he wrote.

“Anwar’s clout is gradually eroding and by the looks of it, Pakatan Harapan (PH) has a new supremo and I think it’s none other than his former boss, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Pribumi Bersatu chairman),” Shapuan Hussin speculated.

“Wow! Now even Hishamuddin Rais dares to criticise Anwar! I guess everyone wants to be in Tun Mahathir’s good books nowadays,” wrote Zaki Yamani.

Hishamuddin’s critics, however, argued that his argument about Anwar’s opinion being flawed and formed out of misinformation was not logical.

“Anwar’s wife is the president of PKR and his daughter is one of the vice-presidents…so Hishamuddin is telling us that these two had been feeding Anwar the wrong information? Get a grip Hisham,” wrote Mohd Rafidi.



About the author

Zaidi Azmi

Zaidi Azmi

If Zaidi Azmi isn’t busy finding his way in the city, this 26-year-old northern kampung boy can be found struggling to make sense of the Malaysian political scene. Zaidi can be reached at [email protected]