Super-liberals need to get tough

OCTOBER 5 — Super-liberals were predictably outraged at prime minister-in-waiting Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s coinage of the term to attack them.

Anwar was annoyed at super-liberals who criticised the way the Port Dickson MP was forced to resign just so he could run in a by-election to enter Parliament to prepare for his ascension to the prime minister’s office.

He also accused super-liberals of arrogance in trying to force society to accept human rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) minority.

The anger against Anwar seems to stem from disappointment in how the person they rooted for during his trials and imprisonment suddenly turned against them. Super-liberals were also the ones who attended Bersih demonstrations, protested against corruption and the Barisan Nasional (BN)
government, and campaigned for Pakatan Harapan (PH) during the past several general elections.

But surely super-liberals, armed with years of experience fighting against the powers-that-be for the protection of human rights, would know that there is no such thing as friends in politics.

Politicians will only take action (on any issue) if they believe that they will actually lose support by not taking such measures. If they perceive their detractors as mere empty vessels making the most noise, who aren’t actually going to translate their anger into votes for the other side, then politicians will simply ignore the loud but non-threatening criticism.

Curses and self-righteous rants on social media are about as impactful as complaining about politics at a champagne brunch, especially when critics of the PD Move don’t bother showing up on Anwar’s
campaign trail to challenge him, right to his face, about issues they consider important.

In the United States, after US Senate hearings on Dr Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who has denied the allegations, two sexual assault survivors confronted US Senator Jeff Flake in a lift and made him listen to them, refusing to let the doors close. 

After the elevator encounter, Flake, who had been a crucial swing vote on the Senate judiciary committee, said he would only vote to confirm Kavanaugh after the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was given at least a week to investigate allegations against the judge.

Super-liberals could have mobilised people and spent two whole weeks in an election — one with very high stakes for Anwar — to try to get his support on LGBT rights, a child marriage ban, or whatever other issues. They can threaten to campaign for any one of his rivals (so many to choose from) if he refuses to accede to their demands.

Even if some people dislike so-called “entitlement” to the PM post, the reality is that Malaysia’s prime ministers are not elected — she or he is appointed by the governing coalition, which is often done without any consultation with the public. The PD by-election is the closest thing to a so-called prime ministerial election (sans rival for the PM post). But super-liberals have yet to make full use of it.

Although some of Anwar’s remarks are a bit jarring, like rejecting the “tyranny of the minority”, he does have a point in saying that super-liberals are not very tolerant of differing views.
Super-liberals complain about being silenced and how the world does not understand their struggle, but they are the same ones who deny conservatives entry to their events. Sharing the same space with people of different views might enable the latter to understand them better, or even change conservative minds about some things.

But super-liberals like to protect their so-called “safe spaces” at the expense of promoting acceptance of their ideology among people who disagree with them. They prefer to win an argument from afar, rather than have dialogue with the other side.

Yet, for all their desire to win, super-liberals in Malaysia don’t dare, or are unwilling, to challenge the new powers-that-be to implement their agenda and actually win the war. 

What a pity, since the things they’re fighting for are worthy causes. 

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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