Reformist Anwar now warns the pitfalls of hasty reforms



26 Nov 2023 06:00am
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. - Bernama photo
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim. - Bernama photo

PUTRAJAYA – In a shift that critics are likely to not miss, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim now asserts that reforms should not be hastily pursued, as an immediate implementation may not yield commendable results.

Instead, reforms must be done cautiously, stressed Anwar – the PKR president -- as he delivered his policy speech when officiating PKR’s 17th Annual Congress at the PICC Putrajaya, here, last night.

“History has shown that reform movements often falter due to soaring expectations that overshadow fundamental issues. As expectations peak, disappointment quickly emerges among the people,” Anwar claimed.

To drive home point, he cited several examples of foiled reform attempts that ended up causing more harm than the good it was intended to.

The first example was the French Revolution of 1789 – 1799, which saw the emergence of the Jacobin elite group, obsessed with the ideology, hastily taking ruthless actions to realise their ideals, side-lining the concerns of the people.

“The fervor of a few elites demanding immediate change led to the overthrow and beheading of Robespierre. Studies even indicate that 10 years after the revolution, the condition of farmers in France was worse than before under the monarchy,” said Anwar.

He even cited a fictional tale from the novel ‘The General in His Labyrinth’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez to lend gravitas of his view on hurried reforms.

“It is the story of a formidable freedom fighter Simón Bolívar or 'El Libertador' (The Liberator), who successfully led the liberation movement in South America from Spanish colonial rule.

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“Although the novel is fictional and features magical realism, Bolívar, in his final days, felt sorrowful observing the behaviour of the next generation, which had lost the idealism of the nation that he pioneered,” Anwar recounted.

He also cited Malaysia’s first-hand experience with backfired bids at reforms, specifically the uproar of the Malays over the sly attempt to ratify the controversial International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD) in 2018.

“Opportunistic and greedy figures have emerged back then.

“Some enthusiastically serve liberal groups and continue to advocate for ICERD and the Rome Statute without engaging in any consultation or explanation to the people.

“The negative impact persists to this day, even though these figures are on the other side,” said Anwar.

However, for those who were still urging for swift actions on reforms, Anwar brought up the story of an exchange between a Muslim caliphate Umar Abdul Aziz and his son, Abdul Malik, in which the latter pestered his father to do changes quickly.

“However, Umar responded: ‘Do not be hasty my son. I fear that if I implement the truth for all of humanity, the people will reject Islam entirely, leading to widespread discord’,” Anwar recounted.