Malaysian liberals, the easy scapegoats

OCTOBER 3 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim isn’t afraid of liberals. No, he’s afraid of the “super liberals” a term he’s coined to apparently label anyone threatening the country including Soros, diabetes and Selena Gomez.

Of course, Twitter has made much mockery of the term. Including that social media fixture, the cartoonist who goes by the name hxsm. Who quickly drew up his own visual commentary which you can see here.

It is tiresome really. Whenever politicians want to play to the Malay conservative galley, out comes the convenient demons: liberals.

How, exactly, are liberals such threats to Malaysia in general? It was liberals, after all, who were huge factors behind such civil society movements as Bersih. Liberals, who collect donations and campaign for those victimised and persecuted.

It’s not the liberals campaigning for child marriage.

It’s not the liberals calling for the marriage age to be lowered.

It’s not the liberals gawking and lauding public canings.

Anwar throws the liberals under the bus so easily, as does any Malay politician be it from Umno, PKR or PPBM. Easy scapegoats because liberals don’t bite.

That’s the problem really. Liberals are, by their very nature (in Malaysia at least), too nice.

As much as Isma and their ilk love to paint liberals as evil and dangerous, the radicals and unhinged are rare in their ranks.

Our liberals aren’t the type to promote anarchy — no, they have gatherings to eat together, fast together, sing together and, well, get arrested together.

What is disturbing is how Anwar constantly makes excuses for Turkey’s Recep Erdogan, a strongman who has changed the Constitution to give himself a longer term and more power. Sound familiar? Anwar should know better.

Our future prime minister singing the praises of a man who persecutes dissenters and journalists — it makes you wonder how much Anwar condones Erdogan’s strongarm tactics.

Dictators make poor friends, dear future prime minister.

I can only hope that all this demonising of liberals is just more of Anwar’s typical political posturing but in the meantime, the only thing liberals can do is own the term.

Be proud of being super liberals. Super aware, super compassionate and also super tired of being taken for granted.

Don’t forget just how much you owe the liberals, Anwar, because a country where liberals don’t exist without fear is a country that will not and cannot prosper.

*This is the personal opinion of the columnist.