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Thu May 17, 2018, 03:24 PM

Exclusive: Malaysia's Anwar says 'shattered' Najib called him twice on election night

Source: Reuters

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysia’s ousted former premier Najib Razak was “totally shattered” the night he lost the general election and called his jailed rival Anwar Ibrahim twice for advice on what he should do, Anwar said on Thursday.

Najib was handed a shocking election loss last week which ended the dominance of the Barisan Nasional coalition that has ruled Malaysia for more than six decades.

BN’s defeat in the May 9 polls was attributed to rising anger over corruption and an unlikely alliance struck between 92-year-old Mahathir Mohamad and his former rival, Anwar, who got together to oust the scandal-tainted Najib.

Anwar, who was pardoned and released from his five-year jail term for sodomy on Wednesday, said he had received two calls from Najib.

“When he called on the night of the election, I advised him as a friend to concede and move on,” Anwar told Reuters in an interview at his home on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur.

Anwar said he asked Najib to come out with a statement quickly rather than delay and be perceived as trying to scuttle the process


Read more: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-malaysia-politics-anwar-malaysia/exclusive-malaysias-anwar-says-shattered-najib-called-him-twice-on-election-night-idUSKCN1II1U2



The only parallel I can think of going from prison to Prime Minister by a demand of the people is Mandela.

This is not simply a change of party or coalition but a fundamental opening of the system. Following independence the Malays found themselves a minority of the population and owning only 20% of the assets of their own country. In order to secure their position in their own homeland they expelled Singapore from the Malay federation which enabled them create UMNO and a paternal state that brought in favourable conditions for the Malays to bring parity against the Chinese and Indian populations that dominated the cities.

This election shows that the Malays no longer feel pressured to follow an ethnically balkanized Malaysia but now are pursuing typical middle class values of fairness, anti corruption and transparency in government. It is the most astonishing political development in Asia in 3 decades.

Here are statements from Anwar in the article that also echo some of the tempering that you could hear in Mandela as a result of the suffering he had in prison.



UMNO’s race-based politics and patronage system has been slammed by its critics and blamed for the bulging civil service and weak institutions like the judiciary. “Probably he seems to be the right man...I am a bit more moderate and have a softer image,” Anwar said.

“Because of how I suffered, I always think how any decision would cause sufferings to those affected. So I’m a bit more considerate...and that may not be good in these times when we have to make sure the elements of the old regime do not resurface.”

. . .

“I have given that message. We don’t want UMNO 2.0.”

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