KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 11 — Pakatan Harapan’s (PH) victory over Barisan Nasional in the 14th general election while maintaining a coalition that consisted of former rivals and of various ethnicities is an achievement the world should take notice of and learn from, said PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Addressing the Raisina Dialogue at the Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi, India, yesterday, Anwar spoke about how PH’s victory was the beginning of a new era for Malaysia, while conceding it was no easy task maintaining a multiracial and multiethnic coalition.
“If the world were to take one lesson from the Malaysian story it is this; mind you — managing a coalition of bitter rivals and different ethnicities and religions is at times Olympic in the effort required.
“But we must not shy away from what is fundamentally right and good only because it is hard. I believe the generations which follow will look back at this inflection point in our history with appreciation that we fought tooth and nail for a country that embraces all,” he said.
Anwar is in India for a five-day trip that began on Tuesday, where he is expected to hold talks and dialogues with government and business leaders.
Organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) think-tank, in collaboration with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the Raisina Dialogue is a multilateral conference committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community.
Anwar said Malaysia’s firm stand on communal and race relations had aided the peaceful transition of power following the elections, and that despite the Opposition employing race-based politics while campaigning, desire for inclusivity prevailed.
“The fact is the majority of the people rejected it in favour of cultural and religious inclusivity.
“The test for us — apart from ensuring the successful stewarding of the economy — is to remain firm on our policy of eschewing all forms of extremism and fanaticism and respecting diversity and embracing communal and religious harmony,” he added.
Anwar also drew reference to India’s former prime minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru‘s pre-independence speech, where the latter describes India’s “tryst with destiny” and how “at the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom”.
“Well, in Malaysia it wasn’t exactly at the midnight hour but on May 9, 2018, the people of Malaysia made their tryst with destiny by voting out a regime that had ruled the nation for more than six decades.
“At the 14th General Elections, with that stroke of the mighty pen, Malaysians from all walks of life — Muslims, Hindus, Christians, Buddhists and indigenous tribes — signed their warrant to hand over power to PH — the Alliance of Hope, if you will — and with that a new era has begun for Malaysia,” he said.