After Shah Alam ‘snub’, Anwar to deliver keynote lectures on peaceful co-existence

PETALING JAYA: The dust has yet to settle from the Oct 6 gathering that saw Dr Mahathir Mohamad joining hands with opposition leaders in the name of “Malay dignity”, but supporters of Anwar Ibrahim have been busy preparing several programmes with “more multiracial flavour” featuring the PKR president as the guest of honour.

On Thursday, Anwar will deliver a lecture in Shah Alam on the theme of peaceful co-existence in a multiracial society.

Another programme to be held at the end of the month will also feature him as the key speaker, in what a source said was designed to promote Anwar’s ideas and thoughts on current problems facing Malaysian society.

The event titled “Seminar Pembinaan Bangsa Malaysia” will be held in Bangi on Oct 26, according to posters of the gathering making the rounds on social media.

It is organised by groups led by activists aligned with Anwar, including the Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (Abim) and the National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students.

Speakers come from a variety of backgrounds and include Muslim and non-Muslim interfaith advocates as well as academics and civil society activists.

One source told FMT that the events featuring Anwar would provide an opportunity for him to make up for his absence at the Shah Alam congress, while promoting him as a leader with a multiracial vision.

“It is unlike the weekend event in Shah Alam which was criticised for its racial overtones,” the source told FMT.

On Oct 6, Mahathir delivered a keynote address to some 5,000 people at the Malay Dignity Congress in Shah Alam, where speakers took turns delivering speeches which earned criticism by non-Malay politicians from both sides of the divide.

Among political leaders who attended the gathering were PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu, PKR deputy president Mohamed Azmin Ali, as well as senior Umno leaders Annuar Musa, Hishammuddin Hussein, Noh Omar and Khairy Jamaluddin.

Organisers admitted that Anwar, who has been named by Pakatan Harapan to replace Mahathir as prime minister, had not been specifically invited to the event, fuelling conspiracy theories. Anwar later said that the invitation had arrived too late.

When contacted, Abim secretary-general Muhammad Faisal Abdul Aziz denied the Oct 26 event was a response to the congress last week.

“We have confirmed the participation of panel speakers since last month. The main objective is to bring society closer,” he told FMT.