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By Kamal Ali.

Chris Patten, the former governor of Hong Kong, describes Anwar Ibrahim as "the darling of the West." So was the Shah of Iran at one time. And we all know what the Shah's secret police, Savak, did in Iran. Pinochet was once the darling of Patten's Britain when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister. What is Britain doing to him now? The lesson to be learnt here is that whom the West describes as its darling may not necessarily be the darling of their own countries.

In the first place, how well does Patten know Anwar? How well does Estrada know Anwar? Given Patten's own record as a colonial overlord of Hong Kong in these modern times and given Estrada's own professed immorality, Malaysians should not give these people the time of the day. Instead, we should judge Anwar as we see him and as we know him.

Anwar wants the world to believe that he is a champion of democracy, a believer in universal values, a civil society, human rights, democracy. Anwar wants the world to believe he is flawless and is the beacon of hope for the new Asia. And some in the world have fallen to Anwar's charms. By kissing and hugging Michel Camdessus, William Cohen & Robert Rubin, Anwar has convinced them that he is all he publicly claims he is.

But maybe we know Anwar better.

Anwar Ibrahim is a man who built his name on creating public disorder in the 1970s purportedly for justice. So soon after we were trying to bury the dark period of May 1969, Anwar took to the streets, defacing Chinese and English signboards in the name of Malay nationalism. Now he writes Chinese calligraphy, quotes Shakespeare and wants his court case heard in English. Let us forget that he has always professed to be the champion of the national language, even introducing his own brand of "Bahasa Baku" which like many of his policies, failed miserably.

Anwar Ibrahim trampled on the Umno and Malaysian flags in the name of protest against an uncaring establishment. Even in that land of democracy called the United States, trampling and burning the American flag is deemed unpatriotic. But in Anwar's case, it is alright because he hugs Cohen and Rubin. But after he joined Umno, he was the champion of everything nationalistic. A day after he was sacked from Government, he attacked again everything he had stood for his 16 years in Government.

Anwar built his reputation as an Islamic leader, forming ABIM and campaigning for PAS. But this Malay nationalist and Islamist did what no self-respecting Muslim would do - - run off with the daughter of Wan Ismail to get married in Thailand.

Imagine the anguish of a father who had lovingly brought up his daughter, put her through the best schools to see her become a doctor and then watch an Islamic leader run away with his daughter to get married in Thailand. There were no wedding bells, or gatherings of relatives, or opening of presents or preparations for the wedding gown - everything a parent dreams of doing for his or her beloved daughter from the day she is born.

And then, this darling of the west, who is involved in dialogue and critique against the Government over the Societies Act, is meanwhile conducting backdoor negotiations to join the very party he is publicly opposing - Umno.

Before his friends in ABIM or the other NGOs know it, Anwar announces at a Press Conference with Dr Mahathir Mohamad, his mentor, that he will contest the 1982 general elections as an Umno member. Not only that, he claims that he has been an Umno member since 1966 - the party whose flag he trampled upon.

Only after that he goes around meeting his friends and supporters to tell them that he joined Umno to "fight from within". Was it to fight from within or because he negotiated for and was promised a ministerial job in return for negating the influence of his friends in PAS and ABIM?

Mahathir kept true to his promise. He groomed Anwar, making him a deputy minister in his first term as MP, promoting him over the heads of many others. Then, talk started that so soon after joining Umno, Anwar would challenge Suhaimi Kamaruddin for the Umno Youth presidency.

Anwar denied it. He said he had no intention of challenging Suhaimi. But four months later, challenge Suhaimi he did. And with Mahathir's tacit support, he won. Liar, liar.

But he promised he would not change. He would stick true to his ideals. Which ones? He first changed his dressing. No more chapals, white shirts with epaulettes and cotton pants. It was designer suits, Italian shoes and silk shirts from now on. After all, had not Mahathir promoted him to full minister. He had to live the part.

No more mangy hair. This was replaced by properly cut and coiffured hairstyles. No more the large framed glasses. This were replaced by Cartier glasses. And the slight, slight tinge of expensive cologne.

Had the change in his personal looks not affected his professed ideals, he would still be doing alright. But no. Not Anwar. He would say one thing in public, one thing in private and do something completely different.

As Mahathir continued promoting him, making him education minister and then finance minister, Anwar's friends started getting richer as well. But that is another story.

Anwar charmed Mahathir, just as he has charmed Cohen, Estrada and the Pattens of this world.

With the added confidence of a trusting Mahathir, Anwar denied talks that he was going to challenge Ghafar Baba in Umno polls in 1993. He repeated the denial in April 1993 after the supreme council, of which Anwar was vice-president, agreed unanimously that there would be no contest for the number two post in order to maintain stability.

In August, he announced he would challenge Ghafar Baba.

What followed in Umno then was the worst case of vote buying ever witnessed in the history of Umno. What followed was the worst abuse of the media, which was controlled by Anwar cronies, who aided and abetted him to humiliate and run down anyone who was against Anwar. Is this the Anwar who is talking about Press freedom today? Is this the Anwar who is saying he will hound the editors who oppose him today to the "worm's hole" WHEN he comes to power again?

So what happened to his promise to support Ghafar? Liar, liar, liar.

When the currency crisis began, he started contradicting Mahathir openly in the foreign and local press. Then Anwar Ibrahim saw what was happening in Indonesia. KKN di Malaysia juga. Korupsi, Kolusi, Nepotisme. So he asked Zahid Hamidi, the man he had enriched, to raise the issue. When Mahathir hammered down Zahid, Anwar distanced himself. "I advised him against it," Anwar said then.

Then In August, at the opening of the Penang Umno headquarters, Anwar pledged support for Mahathir, his mentor, his father, his teacher. Liar, liar, liar, liar.

And like the boy who cried wolf, when he went to the supreme council to defend himself, no one would believe him anymore. Even his own supporters in the council whom his aide, Wan Hasni, had said represented 60 per cent of the council.

And just days after his sacking, he admitted to CNBC and CNN that he had asked Zahid to attack Mahathir on corruption, cronyism and nepotism. He told CNBC that he was planning to challenge Mahathir in 1999 and that is why Mahathir sacked him. What about his pledge at the Penang Umno building opening in August, less than a month earlier? Lying again, Dato Seri Jekyll Anwar?

So today he denies the charges of homosexuality. This fellow Anwar who breath, eat and lives Islam but later kahwin lari with Wan Azizah? Is he telling the truth this time? Or is he lying again, as usual.

This Anwar is the one who speaks against gambling but accepted $500,000 to launch Gerakbakti from gambling king Lim Goh Tong during his first term as Umno Youth president? This Islamic Anwar who professes Islamic values but befriended Nallakaruppan, the Public Affairs Director of gambling company Magnum, and a known procurer. Can his ABIM friends and Rahim Ghouse, Saifuddin Nasution, Ahmad Zahid explain why he had to befriend Nallakaruppan?

This Anwar Ibrahim, when he was in Umno, attacked his friends in PAS for using the mosques for political purposes. Where did he launch his "reformasi" from? His first speech was at the Bukit Damansara mosque after he was sacked; and then Masjid Kampong Baru; Masjid Negara. Where from the pulpits and balconies, he used un-Islamic words to attack Mahathir, his mentor, father, teacher and friend, and his ex-colleagues in Government.

The foreign press says he is a liberal. Is he not the one who blackened English and Chinese signboards in university days? Is he not the one who kept supporting the Government and defended the sacking of Lord President Salleh Abas and other judges in 1988?

Is he not the one who used the police to threaten his political opponents and businessmen opposed to his friends, like in the KFC case, before?

This Anwar as we know him, Mr Chris Patten, is a Jekyll and Hyde character. You don't know him. You are pretending you know him. We know him better.

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