No point being hero of Malays if it leads to division, says Anwar

PKR president Anwar Ibrahim says all the poor, irrespective of race, must be given a helping hand.

SHAH ALAM: PKR president Anwar Ibrahim said it would not be a problem for him to become a “hero” for the Malay community, adding that he knew what needs to be done to achieve that status.

However, he said he will not do that if it meant dividing the nation and destroying the harmony of the country.

“As a country, we can celebrate or divide, but we must choose. If we want to divide and make things tense, we can.

“It’s easy for me to be a hero for the Malays. I know what to do.

“But if doing so means I cause division and enmity, that’s actually a betrayal (to the country),” he said at a seminar on building the nation and a peaceful culture tonight.

He emphasised that it was good and important to take a stand for race and religion, but not to the point where one sows discord in the nation.

This comes after the Malay Dignity Congress on Sunday raised several issues pertaining to the Malay community, including reviewing the social contract, closing down vernacular schools and reserving senior governmental positions for only one community.

The organisers had said the congress would focus on problems faced by the Malays in the fields of education, religion, culture, politics and the economy.

The congress, jointly organised by several public universities, was attended by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and senior leaders of PAS, Umno and Amanah.

Anwar did not attend the gathering, however, saying his invitation arrived too late.

Anwar also stressed the importance of humanistic values, saying leaders should not only fight to defend the plight of the underprivileged Malay people but all races.

“We’re sometimes not brought up in that way, not just Malays, but even Chinese and Indians. But do we just accept this as the norm?

“The majority of this land has Malays. But if there are Indians in the estates or Chinese in certain parts of the city who are poor, they are also our responsibility.

“Where is our humanity?” he asked.

He said a person’s greatness is not shown by their arrogance or ability to strike fear in others but by their ability to fight for justice, adding that it’s their responsibility to shape the narrative instead of only responding to the narrative of others.