KUALA LUMPUR — Nurul Izzah Anwar is celebrating a new form of “politics of hope” in Malaysia following last week’s defeat of the country’s grand old party Barisan Nasional (BN).
Writing in British newspaper The Guardian, Nurul Izzah said that Malaysians should no longer fear their government and called for zero-tolerance towards corruption.
“A new politics of hope has been awakened, not just for Malaysians reclaiming their nation, but for people the world over,” said the daughter of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
“Truth, justice, human rights and the rule of law can be restored in a place of darkness, and it can be done through peaceful, democratic means.
“Never again must the people be afraid of the government. We want a strong, vibrant democracy where human rights are upheld with zero tolerance towards corruption. We want a government founded on principles and policies, not personalities,” she said.
The 37-year-old said that Pakatan Harapan’s collaboration with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was the right thing to do although many had questioned the decision.
“Many have asked me how it is that our reform movement has now joined forces with the very same former dictator, Mahathir Mohamad, who sacked my father in 1998 and saw him arrested, brutalised and incarcerated,” she said.
“My answer is simply that we must all firmly resolve to never let our nation sink to the depths it did again and Prime Minister Mahathir now has a rare second chance to put things right.”
The jailed opposition leader was released yesterday after being granted a royal pardon. He was previously sentenced to five years in jail back in 2015 over sodomy charges.
Anwar is expected to take over as prime minister from Dr Mahathir somewhere in the middle of Pakatan Harapan’s five-year term.
“The world is watching and now we must fulfil our election pact promises for comprehensive reforms,” she said.
“We need to focus on reforming education and healthcare and ensuring that we build an open, vibrant, multicultural, tolerant society where truth, justice, human rights, and the rule of law are upheld for all.”
Referencing the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) corruption scandal involving multiple high-ranking officials in the country, Nurul Izzah stressed that part of the pact’s promise was to ensure public funds were returned to Malaysians.
“Malaysia ranked among the most corrupt nations in the world, with the former prime minister Najib Razak at the forefront of the 1MDB corruption scandal, which the US Department of Justice described as the “largest kleptocracy case in history,” she explained.
“Our courts became kangaroo courts as the judiciary was stripped of its independence and the attorney general and chief of police became government mercenaries.”
“We need to reclaim the illicit billions of dollars that have been stolen by our fromer corrupt leaders and deposited in international bank accounts, and used to buy fancy real estate, paintings, yachts, handbags, and pink diamonds,” added Nurul Izzah.