Super-libs get a glimpse of the future

SEPTEMBER 30 — IT is anybody’s guess what “super liberals” look like.

But it is highly likely they don’t care about anyone’s sexual orientation. One could be gay, even bisexual, and no fuss would be made.

With a super-lib, one does not need a “beard” to keep up with pretences. Nor does one need to stay in the closet.

To a super-lib, Malaysia’s anti-sodomy law is super archaic and must go. Everyone should be allowed to enjoy sex with whoever of whatever gender as long as it is consensual. And among adults.

If it were up to the super-libs, Anwar Ibrahim would not have spent the majority of the last two decades behind bars. In fact, that is what super-libs fought for; voting in Pakatan Harapan (PH) which also resulted in his eventual pardon.

So it is anybody’s guess why incoming PKR president and prime minister-hopeful Anwar took aim at these so-called super-libs... twice in one week.

First, it was at a Dewan Bahasa and Pustaka event where he said PH will not support “extreme demands” from these super-libs.

He reiterated this in an interview with Astro Awani, urging religionists to rise up against “arrogant” super-libs.

In both cases, Anwar insisted that super-libs should not “force” Putrajaya and Malaysia into accepting the LGBT.

“Religious people from all races and faiths and society should rise up and say that the majority opposes LGBT tendencies and their ideas, as they force all of society to accept them, homosexuality, lesbians and the like,” he was quoted saying.

Even though the super-libs fought for a new Malaysia, they have to realise that things may stay “same old, same old” for a while yet. — Picture by Commons.wikimedia.org
Even though the super-libs fought for a new Malaysia, they have to realise that things may stay “same old, same old” for a while yet. — Picture by Commons.wikimedia.org

These comments conveniently ignore the many laws, societal pressure, and religious indoctrination that keeps suppressing Malaysia’s minorities and force them to conceal themselves.

But then again, this tendency to attack one’s own supporters seems to be common within PKR.

It was just last week when PKR vice-president Rafizi Ramli attacked “ultra liberals”, for hounding Anwar’s wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail on the issue of child marriage, which basically falls under her portfolio.

It is hard to accept that Anwar’s attack against super-libs is part of a premature campaign for the forced Port Dickson by-election, even when the campaigning period had yet to start.

After all, PD is a highly diverse seat where Malays make up only 43 per cent of total voters, followed by Chinese at 33 per cent, and Indians at 22 per cent.

PD is a far cry from Anwar’s home ground of Permatang Pauh, where Malays make up a significant 72 per cent of voters.

It is not as if Anwar has a slim chance of winning PD.

PKR would surely not have forced a by-election if it was not confident of an Anwar landslide victory. Anwar was going to be parachuted into an easy seat, so he would have the easiest chance possible to get back into Parliament.

Anwar will not face anyone from Umno, whose boycott has failed to send any message and just gifted him a victory. PAS’ candidate, just like independent Stevie Chan, is not a PD boy. Saiful Bukhari and Isa Samad... well, they are Saiful Bukhari and Isa Samad.

No candidate looks to profit from the support of super-libs, that it would warrant a pre-emptive strike from Anwar.

Except perhaps for Chan whose candidacy and hype was buoyed by that liberal demographic. But support and popularity on Twitter does not necessarily carry to the ground, and Chan’s success would depend largely fall on his grassroots network, not the super-libs.

PKR has won the last three elections there, and it is likely to win this forced by-election as well.

The challenge of these super-libs will come after he is made MP. In a sense, it is the super-libs who will perhaps make his road to becoming prime minister hard, and they will be his hardest challenge when it comes to keeping power.

In the months since he got out, Anwar has worked to burnish his Malay-Muslim credentials. The super-libs are a reminder that this tactic may not necessarily still work after two decades.

The super-libs will not forget how Anwar brought about the Islamisation of Malaysia.

They watched Anwar’s Al Jazeera interview, noting how he slammed Malaysia’s anti-sodomy law to the international audience, but made homophobic remarks instead to locals.

Super-libs called out Anwar for insinuating that all religions oppose the LGBT, when that is factually not true.

It was so the super-libs who criticised his attempt to “subvert” democracy by forcing a by-election; it was also they who questioned his pardon and validity to run in an election.

Super-libs will remember how Anwar had praised Turkish autocrat Recep Tayyip Erdogan, even as the latter brought his country to ruin in his quest for absolute power. And they would surely stand up to any attempt to replicate that.

They know Nelson Mandela. They know Mahatma Gandhi. And they know not to compare Anwar to either.

By being attacked this early, super-libs know to prepare for the future.