Nurul Izzah Anwar:

The daughter of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim retained her parliamentary seat with a narrow win in Malaysia


Minggu, 01 Sep 2013 12:25 WIB


Rebecca Henschke

Nurul Izzah Anwar:

Malaysia, Nurul Izzah Anwar, reformations, People

The daughter of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim retained her parliamentary seat with a narrow win in Malaysia’s general election this year.

Nurul Izzah Anwar is the vice president of the People’s Justice Party.

And it’s her second term in the office after winning what she described as the “dirtiest” election in Malaysia’s history.

Petitions have been filed for the alleged fraud that has paved the way for the ruling coalition of Barisan National to stay in power.

Asia Calling had an exclusive interview with Nurul Izzah Anwar on her visit to Jakarta.

“Just because you win some seats doesn’t mean that you negate the fact that fraud took place. And that’s why we’re doing our best. There’s a BERSIH, the NGO for free and fair election tribunal, to investigate these claims. It’s important. Like it or not, you want to have a proper system where greater transparency can take place. And I won, mind you, with 2,200 early voters – all policemen who did not vote for me. It’s not easy... sometimes it’s really in a deep end.”

Q. Many was saying that the election this year was your father, Anwar Ibrahim’s last chance to be the leader of Malaysia. How did he respond to the fact that the dream wasn’t realised?

“We talked about winning... You know, this is the 15th year since Malaysia reformasi in 1998. I feel very proud because a lot of the ideals that we shared that he spot... the need for political reform, the economy reforms, the fight against corruption. These are issues are being accepted by the mainstream, including multiracial politics. So just because you’re not at number one spot, doesn’t mean that your ideals can not transcend and impact society.”

“So he is very much the reason why we are still here today, fighting till our last breath. We are still proud and optimistic we got the majority of people’s support.”

Q. What impact did his story have on you? You were 19 at that time when he was arrested, dismissed and charged?

“I was 18... I think like it or not, not just for me, a lot of younger Malaysians, I call them the reformasi generation, the 1980 babies...  we were heavily impacted. We can see how institutions in the country were trampled upon by the executive, just because you decided desent was an odd of the day. Anwar Ibrahim was the symbol. It doesn’t end with his release. We are fighting for a more democratic Malaysia. And I would like to think that it has made me the person I am today, and make my colleauges embrace multiracial politics and he has strengthen our party, the People’s Justice Party... because what you want to suceed for the future of Malaysia is multiracialism. You want diversity to form our basic of strength. We’re moving towards that direction... it’s not easy...”

Q. What would you want to go into politics after what you saw what happened to him?

“Ah... the same exact question that my mother-in-law asked to me! Because.. again, we should not personalise it. Whatever we faced, it was a challenging moment and that goes to many Malaysians... so many were persecuted. There were so many other political prisoners, it was not just Anwar Ibrahim. And if you don’t change the system, then you allow the same government to victimize others.”

“So for me, it goes beyond our family. It’s important to see that reforms take place for the future of my kids. I got two kids, and I really want them to live in Malaysia with equal opportunity and fairness.”

Q. You’ve been described as the Benazir Bhutto of Malaysia... how do you feel?

“It comes with a great responsibility... You must believe in collective leadership. No one can do it alone. It takes an entire generation that believe in the idea of reforms, in order to succeed.”


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