Simon Cox Profile picture
Jun 13, 2018 21 tweets 4 min read
Such an impressive speech by #Malaysia ‘s leader @anwaribrahim at @DoughtyStIntl tonight. >
Recently released from more than 3 years in prison, the climax of 20 years of persecution, Anwar was by turn principled, passionate, and genuinely amusing. >
“I was in prison, with a black eye at the hands of the Insp-Gen of Police. But so many others there had been injured. One man had been there for 6 months - for stealing a pair of jeans” >
“I told Cameron & Johnson ‘our struggle has been indigenous & organic - nothing to do with the West’.” >
Anwar’s agenda:
- needs-based, not race-based social & economic policies
- structural change to end corruption >
- constitutional change to ensure separation of powers & independence of prosecutorial powers
- investigation into corruption of former regime to be independent of politics & strictly follow the law >
- repeal of repressive censorship powers
- end to abuse of Western-inspired counter-terrorism laws - tough action with respect for due process >
Under Malaysian constitution, changes need 2/3 rd majority in Parliament - so Anwar’s alliance will use persuasion to create bilateral support for change >
Anwar emphasizes Malaysia is a multi-ethnic, Muslim majority but multi-religious society - as is his own political alliance >
“However angry we are at perpetrators of crimes against us - we must not fall into trap of denying them justice. Even Najib!” >
“I forgive Najib for his crimes against me. Crimes against the country must be dealt with by due process.”>
Anwar asked abt ex-Muslims & apostasy - replies referencing Muslim scholars, who recognise freedom. “An individual must choose their own view. We cannot dictate or determine one’s faith. It is not for me to impose my belief on others. If ulema disagree, they should debate the Q”>
“People who accuse me of encouraging non-Muslims to criticise sharia misunderstand me. If Muslim law affects non-Muslims, then non-Muslims have a right to participate.” >
Asked about whether he supports repeal of Malaysia’s unjust sodomy law & support LGBTQ rights, Anwar responds - to laughter - “why do you ask me all the hard questions, I’ve just come out of prison”. And then answers it >
“I personally believe in the sanctity of marriage between a man and woman. And we should not condemn another’s orientation - what people do in private is for them. We must change the archaic sodomy law.” >
Anwar expresses pride in his history of Muslim activism and of his personal Muslim ethics. >
Anwar: For Malaysia, it’s links with its neighbours are most important - Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore...
And with Commonwealth & those who would invest: China, India. >
Real privilege watching Anwar - prime minister in waiting - take probing questions from his own citizens, now from a Malaysian Muslim woman who wants a neutral Malaysia , not one identifying as a Muslim leader.
Anwar quips that one of the advantages of long prison term is he got to read Shakespeare through, 4 times. And now he’s quoting Gore Vidal on Reagan!
Anwar asked abt sanction of judicial whipping of migrant workers. He saw this in prison: wrote to Gov and said it was shameful. Many migrants condition is “modern slavery” - he shocked Bangladeshi politicians with the term. The whipping law should be repealed.
Anwar ends Qs with “When whipping victims faint - it affected me. They are the poorest - from Myanmar, Bangladesh.”

And then - to David Bentley (who advised on his appeal against conviction) “we have a job for you” (to clear the record)

Last: multiple selfies with Malaysians.

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More from @SimonFRCox

Oct 4, 2018
Areopagitica was Milton’s call for rational, evidence-based debate - to ensure Parliament acts wisely. My kinsman abuses it for nationalist rhetoric…
Areopagitica was Milton’s argument against Government censorship, at height of English civil war. It’s themes are Liberty & Truth.… >
For Milton, democracy meant an engaged public, informed & debating.… >
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UK media can’t deal with a news story where what British voters want doesn’t matter much for what they get. >
Good eg of liberal media denialism @guardian @jessicaelgot “UK can just decide to cancel A50 - but does it want to??”

No - real news is “EU probably wont even let UK do that...” >
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A celebratory thread. 1/
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As Orbán helmed Hungary towards menacing autocracy, the EPP just kept on paying out more rope. Emboldened, Fidesz became more outrageous. 3/
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Why did UK Tories oppose EU broad-based action to defend #Hungary’s democracy? Thread 1/
#Orbán’s popular - but corrupt & racist - regime was charged before Europe’s directly elected Parliament with undermining Hungary’s democracy… 2/
Conservatives across Europe joined a broad spectrum of the overwhelming majority of MEPs to demand action. (The first time these new powers have been invoked by Parliament) 3/
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Fascinating info from field study on #migrantworkers in #Italy ‘s farms.

In Ragusa, Romanians (new to sector) get worse wages than Tunisians (long connections, unionized)! >
Farmwork is increasingly women’s work in Italy. Asylum-seeking mothers with humanitarian permits work on farms - because having children mean employers won’t take them for domestic work.
Those fresh oranges from #Italy? The farmer got 35 cents for a kilo. Picked by Africans, Albanians, Romanians for low low wages with shitty accommodation.
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