Malaysia: Anwar faces renewed pressure to retract Israel remarks
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Malaysia: Anwar faces renewed pressure to retract Israel remarks

The chapter on Malaysia’s opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim’s controversial remarks on Israel has not yet come to a close, as he faces renewed pressure from various political leaders to retract his statements.

Nik Abdul Aziz, the spiritual leader of Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS), said Anwar must withdraw his statement or sue the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) if his statement were misreported.

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Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim. Pic: AP.

“If he wants to meet us (PAS) to clarify himself, he’s welcome to do it. But since his statement was made public, it would be more appropriate if he clarifies himself in public as well,” he was quoted as saying to reporters here.

Nik Abdul Aziz told reporters that PAS was not supportive of the two-state solution to the Palestinian cause that Anwar had spoken of during an interview he gave to WSJ.

PAS is part of the tri-party alliance of opposition parties in Malaysia, known as People’s Alliance (Pakatan Rakyat). In 2008, the loose alliance managed to deny the National Front (Barisan Nasional) two-thirds majority for the first time in Malaysia’s history and secured five state assemblies.

The Malaysian Insider reported that Anwar would be meeting Nik Aziz to explain the statements that he had made regarding Israel.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak told reporters that Malaysia would continue to support the Palestinian cause, in response to the disappointment expressed by the Palestinian government over Anwar’s statement on Israel.

Anwar had said he supported “all efforts to protect the security of the state of Israel” but his remarks had drawn flak from local politicians as well as from Palestine, as it was seen to go against Malaysia’s known empathy for Palestine.

Palestine ambassador Abdelaziz Abughoush said here that Palestine is the core issue for all the Muslim Ummah, and as such it was “weird” to have such a statement from a Malaysian Muslim leader.

“Malaysia is a pioneer in supporting the Palestinian people and their just cause. We are shocked and surprised by the weird statement in which he supported the security of Israel,” Abdelaziz said in a statement.