PM Anwar’s vocal criticism to western leaders a timely wake-up call

KUALA LUMPUR, March 19: Malaysia’s Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s vocal criticism of Western countries for their inaction against Israel’s atrocities in Gaza during his recent official visit to Germany serves as a wake-up call not only in Europe but also in the North Atlantic, including the United States.

Universiti Malaya’s Asia Europe Institute (AEI) deputy executive director Associate Prof Dr Roy Anthony Rogers said Anwar’s call is timely, as the Western leaders, who have been promoting human rights, are seen as united in condemning Russia in the Russia-Ukraine conflict but exhibit a dichotomy when addressing the Palestine-Israel issue.

“The West needs to be alert, provide fair viewpoints, and take action on Gaza. The crisis in Gaza has persisted for the past seven decades,” he said in an online interview for the Bernama World with Melissa Ong programme, produced by Bernama TV on Monday.

Anwar gained international attention when he criticised Western countries during a joint press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin on March 11 while on his six-day official visit to Germany for their failure to act against Israel’s atrocities in Gaza.

Anwar condemned Western countries for their inaction against Israel’s atrocities in Gaza, questioning the humanity of the West and condemning their “selective” and “ambivalent” attitude towards the conflict.

Anwar’s criticism of Western countries’ lack of action against Israel’s atrocities in Gaza has drawn support from prominent figures across various fields globally.

Roy Anthony emphasised that Anwar’s stance demonstrated Malaysia, which is not a huge country even within Southeast Asia, is willing and dare to make a point without fear or favour, even in the heart of Europe, such as Germany.

“Anwar’s criticism of the West on the Gaza issue also highlighted Malaysia’s consistent support for the Palestinian cause since 1967, a practice upheld by various administrations in the country,” he said.

Roy Anthony underscored that Malaysia’s foreign policy has consistently opposed occupation, citing the country’s support for anti-Apartheid in South Africa and anti-ethnic cleansing in Bosnia during the 1990s.

And while being a guest on another Bernama TV program called ‘Ruang Bicara’, Roy Anthony said that the success of Anwar’s recent visit to Germany would further strengthen the government-to-government (G2G) relations and also the people-to-people (P2P) relations between the two countries.

He mentioned that various sectors such as the economy, education, and tourism are expected to benefit positively from this close relationship.

“In terms of investment, several German companies that we are familiar with such as Siemens, Bosch, and Volkswagen are already here and investing. They share expertise as well as provide job opportunities for the people of Malaysia.

“We need to be prepared to welcome investment from Germany following the success of the Prime Minister’s visit. This action is good because it diversifies foreign investment instead of relying solely on specific countries,” he said.

Roy Anthony added that based on the positive response given by German industry and business leaders who participated in the roundtable meeting with the Prime Minister, it also shows their confidence in the potential offered by the country.

“The visit instills confidence in German investors to invest here. It is a positive sign and Malaysia can become a bridge to Germany with East Asian countries because we have close relations with China,” he said.