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Malaysia Opposition, Led by 92-Year-Old, Wins Upset Victory (nytimes.com)
119 points by ernsheong 10 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 42 comments

As a Malaysian, this win is so amazing. Literally against all odds. I’ve never been more proud of my fellow Malaysians.

Najib had control of the Election Comission, Registry of Socieities, Attorney General, Inspector General of Police, and his own political party.

With this power he shamelessly gerrymandered, deregistered the opposition coalition, appointed someone to proclaim him innocent in 1MDB investigations, locked up the opposition leader, and sacked critics within his own party including the deputy prime minister and a VP.

Then there was also the EC who set voting date on possibly the most inconvenient date, new laws to bar advertising of the opposition prime minister candidate’s face, the Sultan who spoke out against the opposition and the Agong who stripped some opposition leaders of titles.

This is indeed a historic moment.

As an Englishman that has lived in Malaysia for about 15 years no, I share that pride :)

As somebody who frequented Malaysia extensively in the first half of the 2000s (in the aftermath of the ruinous 1997 currency crisis) I’m very curious to see how the dynamic between Mahathir and Anwar plays out: the latter was a member of the former’s government during the crisis and the former had the latter jailed on what were wildly held to be trumped-up sodomy charges (as the article mentions). This is going to be a very awkward working relationship.

Mahatir is insane (or as the post notes below, perhaps shrewdly taking advantage of ignorant or powerless populace). Asides from faking the sodomy charges against Anwar (who was widely popular and hence seen as a threat), he also believes an international conspiracy of Jewish people caused the Asian Financial Crisis:



He also tried to have Schinldler's List banned in his country because he felt it would make people sympathetic towards Israel.

The downvoting for pointing out the documented anti-semitism is interesting.

I do not think it gets downvotes for pointing out documented anti-semitism. My guess is that the first sentence is a downvote magnet. Nothing else in that post points to insanity. IMO, it rather indicates a very shrewd politician working to control public opinion and get rid of opponents using all tools available.

I think asserting that there is a vast global Jewish conspiracy points strongly to insanity.

The fine point though is that asserting != believing. In population with largely anti-Israel feelings asserting it may give you short term political benefits.

They were very trumped up indeed. I am acquainted with someone who used to be on Anwar’s staff - he was put under severe pressure (threats to livelihood, family, life) to testify against Anwar - “sign this statement we wrote” type thing.

He ended up changing his name and seeking asylum in Thailand.

As to how this plays out - I am highly sceptical of Mahathir’s motives. You don’t have a sudden change of heart in your 90’s and give up a lifetime of authoritarian nepotism unless you’ve a strong motive - and what that motive is, I don’t know.

I just can’t help but think that this is a trap. BN brand is getting dirty, so transfer their animus to the opposition, resume business as usual?

> former had the latter jailed on (...) sodomy charges



"Sodomy, even if consensual, is punishable by up to 20 years' imprisonment and whipping under Section 377B of the Malaysian Penal Code.[18]"

"(defined as "carnal intercourse against the order of nature")"

It's not written in the article how much, but it seems Anwar Ibrahim spent quite a lot of time in prison, more than once.

That was the law in tons of US states until 2003 or so.


Thanks: In the US, according to Wikipedia: before "2003, the penalty for violating a sodomy law varied very widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction among those states retaining their sodomy laws. The harshest penalties were in Idaho, where a person convicted of sodomy could earn a life sentence. Michigan followed, with a maximum penalty of 15 years imprisonment while repeat offenders got life.[citation needed]"

To compare, in the UK the maximal penalty until 1967 was two year prison with the hard labor, until 1885 life imprisonment, and before 1861 death.

Kinney Friedman told a story about a famous Texas lawyer who got his clients charge of sodomy reduced to “following too close”.

I've read accounts in the local media (in Malaysia and Singapore) that Mahathir will work at getting Anwar pardoned. Once pardoned, Anwar will run for a seat in Parliament. Once in, Mahathir would step aside and let Anwar become the Prime Minister.

How this would work in practice is, of course, pretty much unknown territory for now.

> I've read accounts in the local media (in Malaysia and Singapore) that Mahathir will work at getting Anwar pardoned. Once pardoned, Anwar will run for a seat in Parliament. Once in, Mahathir would step aside and let Anwar become the Prime Minister.

That's correct, he said it again live during last night's victory speech.

What a surprise. I was certain that when Najib Razak will be cornered, he would've resorted to election rigging.

Looks like his rating tanked so hard, that even foul play on a level available to him did not gained much for him.

Congratulating Malaysian people.

The sheer number of ads and propaganda by the ruling party actually convinced me that the elections weren't going to be rigged. No one in their right mind would have invested so much time and effort winning a battle that has already been won

I have no idea why you have been down voted. That was on practically everyones minds in Malaysia.

Today if you type in "where" on Google search Malaysia the first suggestion is "Where is Najib", the second is "Where is Najib now" and so on

I don’t understand the spin. The article doesn’t mention that he was prime minister for more than 20 years previously until halfway through.

By most accounts a decent prime minister. But also a virulent anti-Semite: http://www.jcpa.org/jl/vp506.htm

Because the leader isn't the point; the political parties are. He's a unifying figure for an ethnic-minority and liberal-opposition coalition very different from the one that's ruled the country since independence.

“The Europeans killed six million Jews out of 12 million. But today the Jews rule this world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them.” - The Prime Minister Elect of Malaysia.

He’s the liberal opposition?

He leads a breakaway party (the Malaysian United Indigenous Party [1]) that jumped over two years ago from the ruling party to the opposition coalition. That party is only a bit over 10% of the coalition that won this election (12 / 113 seats); he's basically a figurehead/placeholder with good name recognition, holding the spot until the leader of the largest party in the coalition (Anwar Ibrahim of the People's Justice Party [2], with 49 of the coalition's seats) finishes the jail sentence for his politically-motivated sodomy charges.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaysian_United_Indigenous_Pa...

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/People%27s_Justice_Party_(Mala...

Not him personally, but at least 2 out of the 4 parties are, by Malaysian standards

Mahathir was the Prime Minister who cleaned up the mess George Soros made in 1998, and I'm sure that when he talks about Jews, he means one in particular. That isn't an excuse.


No there isnt a secret cabal of jewish warlords ordering christians around. Or Muslims. Or atheists even for that matter.


> everything the US and the NATO does is to protect Israel

"Everything" is pretty strong word. Let's see if it's born out: https://www.nato.int/cps/ua/natohq/news.htm

There is a large Jewish^W Israel-Fan-Club demographic in the US that puts the treatment as Israel as the highest importance when deciding who to vote for. Due to the way that, in the U.S. political system, power shuffles from one extreme to another at the movement of a few thousand votes, both sides have to keep that demographic on board, and that means supporting Israel's right to exist (Israel being a tiny country in the middle east, which has been invaded by it's neighbours on more than one occasion)

There's a strong argument that the US diplomatic stance (especially the vetos on security council resolutions) is pro Israel because if it wasn't, the sitting party would lose a lot of votes.

However I'm not aware of any military action taken by the US, let alone NATO, at the behest of Israel.

If the U.S. democratic system was actually representative, and didn't favour a 'winner takes all' one party system, perhaps the treatment of Israel would be less of a crucial matter.

There are 5-6 million Jews in the US, that’s a small demographic any way you cut it. You could say it’s a large demographic in New York City, but I don’t think you could say that about any other part of the country.

Americans as a whole (not select demographics) overwhelmingly support Israel. Here’s a recent poll


The pro-Israel policy isn't driven by Jews, it's driven by evangelical Christians.

If any Malaysians can answer: Recently Malaysia has been in news for increased religious extremism/fundamentalism. Can any improvement on this front be expected by the new government?

N.B.Malays’ is an ethnic group (the supposedly-native ”people of the land” (bumiputra) Muslim majority); nationality of Malaysia is fairly mixed including Malays, ethnic Chinese, ethnic Indians, and even orang asli (”original people”). The correct term for this aggregate is Malaysians.

I stand corrected. Thank you

Correct. Just a minor typo at the end: it should be Malaysians.

Thanks, corrected.

From my observation as a Malaysian Malay, I do not think that this change of government will stop the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. This Arabicization of Malaysia was started by Mr. Anwar Ibrahim who was imprisoned by Mr. Mahathir Mohamad and now became good friends and partners. Mr. Anwar is the de facto leader of the coalition that won the election.

Seems like a step in the right direction though? If BN had won in coalition with PAS, they would have had to bend over regarding sharia, hudud, etc.

Acronym decoder:

BN = Barisan Nasional = old ruling coalition

PAS = Parti Islam Se-Malaysia = take a wild guess :)

Yes it can.

Some objectives includes true da'wah. An effort to demonstrate a kind, tolerant and true Islam. Best example you can see today is the atmosphere of the election itself. Near non-existent violent / provocation or mass street demonstration has occurred. This is arguably the most peaceful turnaround of power ever in history of democracy. And we even accepted a 92-year old as our President.

I am not living in Malaysia anymore, so I haven't followed the news lately. But wasn't part of this coalition, strong especially in east coast, very conservative party that wants to bring some very lethal punishments for petty crime (like chopping hands) as part of their agenda?

No, the Islamic party split with the coalition a few years ago over an attempt to bring the bill on implementing hudud laws to parliament

The conservative party you mentioned are no longer in coalition with the new government.

>Malaysia Opposition, Led by 92-Year-Old, Wins Upset Victory

The future is theirs!

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