Many people have been calling up the Aliran office to express their outrage about Dr Chandra Muzaffar’s critical comments of Anwar Ibrahim and the PKR which have been given widespread coverage in the mainstream media. These people have enquired about Aliran’s views on the matter, since Chandra was referred to as the founder of Aliran.
In this regard, we wish to clarify that Chandra has not been an active member since 1991, when he stepped down as president and later went on to establish JUST.
More importantly, we wish to state that Aliran does not share Chandra’s recent remarks vis-à-vis Anwar Ibrahim and PKR. Neither do we share his views that the BN despite its flaws is a better choice. Indeed, we are rather perturbed by his apparently emotional outburst.
In contrast to Chandra’s position, Aliran calls upon fellow Malaysians to vote in a stronger Opposition. It is important to deny the Barisan Nasional a two-thirds majority which has allowed them to amend the Constitution at will and ride
roughshod over dissenting views. A stronger Opposition will help to consolidate Malaysia’s fledging democracy. Too often, we have sacrificed democracy to pursue development – and that too, a model of development which has
concentrated wealth in the hands of a minority.
To reiterate, Aliran stands for sustainable people-centred development and democracy for all. We have asserted this position in the latest two issues of Aliran Monthly, which have focused on the 2008 elections.
Chandra’s remarks as reported in the mainstream media appear to emphasise that Anwar Ibrahim is not a leader who can be trusted. Apparently, money politics is also prevalent in the PKR. If this is true, it is cause for concern because the implication is that the money politics disease has spread from the BN to the PKR! From our knowledge, money politics is indeed widespread within the ruling BN parties. It is odd, therefore, that Chandra should be so concerned about the problem of money politics in PKR per se. At the same time, he has not said much of late about the money politics which has always been associated with the BN.
Chandra also has highlighted the supposedly racial scare tactics used by PKR during the Lunas by-election. For us, such dirty tricks have been resorted to by all parties especially the BN. Again, all forms of racial baiting by all parties should be condemned.
The most disturbing aspect of this episode is how Dr Chandra Muzaffar has wittingly or unwittingly lent himself to be a part of the BN propaganda machine. It is sad that a prominent intellectual and long-time activist of his standing has such a blinkered view of the issue at hand. We wonder why he did not make these alleged goings-on public earlier and follow up on them conclusively given his public stance on integrity and accountability.
Why only now?
P Ramakrishnan, President
Francis Loh, Hon Secretary
Mustafa K Anuar, Asst Hon Secretary
Anil Netto, Hon Treasurer
On behalf of the Aliran Executive Committee
5 March 2008