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UNDERSTANDING ANWAR AND HIS QUEST FOR JUSTICE

Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia's sacked Deputy Prime Minister, forgot an elementary precept of governance (''How a blood feud in Malaysia spun out of control,'' International Business, Nov. 9). Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was elected by his party and by the citizens, and Mahathir, in turn, appointed Anwar.

If the No. 2 profoundly disagrees with his superior, he should do the honorable thing--resign. Anwar was given every opportunity to do just that. No chief executive would tolerate a subordinate with a conflicting agenda. In the few months preceding Anwar's firing, Mahathir expressed none too subtly his disdain and contempt for his deputy. Anwar should have quit then and openly challenged Mahathir. After all, the leadership convention is less than a year away.

I am continually bemused at the West's fascination with and admiration of Anwar. While he spouts free-market and liberal theology here, back home among his Muslim followers, his messages are radically different. There, Anwar's vision of Islam is of the Iranian variety. During his brief tenure as acting Prime Minister in 1997, he tried to force non-Muslim students to take courses in Islam. His wife (a Western-trained doctor) and daughters are never seen without their orthodox Muslim headgear.

As Finance Minister, Anwar awarded plum projects to his cronies and family. His father, a former hospital orderly, ended up with millions worth of shares and lucrative hospital contracts. So much for Anwar's abhorrence of cronyism and corruption. Americans should know the man better before embracing him.


M. Bakri Musa
Morgan Hill, Calif.
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Updated Nov. 19, 1998 by bwwebmaster
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