Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim welcomed a high-powered delegation from the Palestine led by Walid al-Moudi, the senior member of Hamas’ political bureau, and Ahmad Al-Kurd, the former Palestine minister for social affairs to his PKR party headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.
The 64-year-old Anwar, expected to wrest the federal government from embattled Prime Minister Najib Razak’s Umno-BN coalition, vowed to support the Palestine’s struggle for a just existence, slamming the United States and Israel for continuing to wage their politics of divisiveness in the region.
“When I was still a student leader in 1973, I led a student a demonstration against the US embassy and Israel for their gross unfairness in their Middle East policy. It was then the biggest demonstration in the city of Kuala Lumpur,” Anwar told a joint press conference with the Palestinian delegation on Friday.
“I can promise the new PR government will be more solid and clear in its support for the Palestinians, in their just cause and struggle.”
Growing global recognition for PR & a snub for Najib
The Hamas visit comes hot on the heels of a similar one team from the European Union, and signifies growing recognition from foreign powers of the high possibility that Anwar and his Pakatan Rakyat coalition stood a high chance of winning Malaysia’s 13th general election, widely expected to be held in March, and form the next federal government.
EU ambassador Luc Vandebon had said the EU would have no problems working with Anwar and recognizing PR as the new government so long as it was the “democratically-elected” choice of the Malaysian people.
It is telling that the Hamas delegation chose to visit Anwar at his modest HQ first, instead of returning a courtesy call to Najib who had just last month paid a visit to the Gaza strip and met with Palestine prime minister Ismail Haniyeh.
“In the body language of international diplomacy, you could say this is a snub for Najib,” PKR head of disciplinary committee Tan Kee Kwong told Malaysia Chronicle.
Assisting Anwar at today’s meeting with Hamas were PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, PKR vice president Tian Chua, MP for Lembah Pantai Nurul Izzah and MP for Subang Sivarasa Rasiah.
You are from us and we are from you
The Palestinian delegation was briefed on the current political situation in Malaysia and reciprocated with their take on the latest developments in the Middle East.
Malaysian NGO Aqsa Syarif also handed over to them a US$700,000 (RM2.175 million) donation for the rebuilding of the Nur Al Hamidi Mosque in Gaza, which was destroyed during an Israeli incursion in 2008.
“I thank the leader Anwar Ibrahim for this generous initiative. Mr Anwar is known to be a big supporter to the Palestinian cause since the 1980s. Ikram and the Aqsa Syarif have also been active in their support of our cause and that shows their nobility and the generosity of all Malaysians. We say to Malaysians as they say to us -you are from us and we are from you,” Walid said in a brief speech.
John Kerry won’t change the US-Mid-East equation
When asked if the appointment of John Kerry as the new US Secretary of State replacing Hillary Clinton would change the super-power’s stance in the turbulent, oil-rich region, Walid was not optimistic.
“Whoever is the new Secretary of State, it will not change the US in supporting Israel against the Palestinians. The guns that killed the children in Palestine are from the US and the US gave all the guns back to Israel after the 2 attacks (on Gaza). Who wins in the US election depends on who supports Israel more and who secures their safety and stands against the Palestininans,” Walid minced no words in his curt reply.