Leadership Split in Malaysia's Government Puts a Promising Islamic Country at a Crossroad

By M, M. | Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, February 1999 | Go to article overview

Leadership Split in Malaysia's Government Puts a Promising Islamic Country at a Crossroad


M, M., Washington Report on Middle East Affairs


Leadership Split in Malaysia's Government Puts a Promising Islamic Country at a Crossroad

Prosperity breeds friends and adversity tests them. This adage has never been more pertinent than in the current Malaysian context.

There was a time, not too long ago, when Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammed, 73, and Deputy Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim, 51, projected a father-son image, although they are not related. It was taken for granted that Mahathir was grooming the Western-educated Anwar to succeed him when he retires.

Articulate Anwar Ibrahim represented Malaysia at almost all international forums and zealously defended the politics of his boss, especially in the fields of finance and foreign affairs. This was so until the Malaysian economy, as in so many other Asian countries, started sagging a year ago.

Mahathir Mohammed saw a Western hand in the downward slide in the region. Instead of listening to Western arguments for further liberalization, privatization and globalization to attract investments, Mahathir sought to insulate his country's economy from "outside manipulators."

Anwar disagreed, and did not stop there. He openly charged corruption within the ruling United Malay National Party (UMNO), and in Mahathir's administration.

It was only when Anwar Ibrahim publicly expressed his disagreement with Mahathir Mohammed that political pundits realized how deep was the division between the two top leaders. Relying on the popularity he enjoyed with the younger generation, and particularly within the student Islamic groups from whose organizational ranks he had risen, Anwar went to the university campuses and other political forums to make his speeches advocating Reformasi, a Reformist agenda that at one stage targeted Mahathir's retirement, if not ouster.

The Malaysian media gave Anwar headlines, and he received extensive coverage in the Western print and electronic media. Thus the conflict between the two reached a critical point of confrontation.

Mahathir, however, who has been the prime minister of Malaysia for 17 turbulent years, has a history of winning battles against his political adversaries, using whatever means are necessary. During his incumbency he also has campaigned on a platform of political morality, and denounced the West for its duplicity and lack of moral fiber.

Therefore few people were surprised when, on Sept. 2, he dismissed Anwar Ibrahim from the office of deputy prime minister, expelled him from the ruling United Malay National Party, and a week later jailed him under the Internal Security Act, a law that is a legacy from Malaysia's colonial past.

The surprise was not the charges of "seditious activity" leveled against Anwar Ibrahim, but the additional accusations of sexual improprieties. Anwar, a married man, has denied all charges and attributed them to Mahathir's intent to demonize him and to shock the country. The courts have refused to let Anwar out on bail, and there also have been reports that he has been physically mistreated in jail.

MAHATHIR'S DUAL POLICY

It now appears that Mahathir Mohammed, who has been hailed in the developing world as a forthright leader who pulled his country out of the economic doldrums and who has had the courage to stare down the West when necessary, has one private philosophy for running the internal affairs of his country, and another for public dealing with the outside world. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Leadership Split in Malaysia's Government Puts a Promising Islamic Country at a Crossroad
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.