Monday, August 5, 2013

Muhyiddin Goes to Iran

It’s a mega irony! Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin is in Tehran, Iran to represent Malaysia at the inauguration of the new Iranian president Hassan Fereydoon Rouhani as government-controlled media organizations in Malaysia continue its anti-Shia campaign back home. 

I don’t know what you're thinking but Muhyiddin has balls! He can spit you in the face and still talk to you very nicely! Malay dailies, in particular UMNO-linked Utusan Malaysia, have been giving wide coverage about the alleged evils of Shia teachings in Malaysia for more than a week now. In fact, Sinar Harian dedicated its entire first three pages yesterday to these vitriolic reports. 

Former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad even said “Shia will bring war, hostility and killings”. He advised state governments to emulate Kedah’s example where his son, Menteri Besar Mukhriz Mahathir had announced it will gazette anti-Shia fatwa. Already, at the national level, the anti-Shia fatwa had been gazetted. 

So far, the Iranian government is keeping mum to this anti-Shia hostility by Malaysia. 

Coming back to Iran, Hassan (above photo), 64, was the sole cleric who contested in the presidential polls. His campaign theme was “moderation and wisdom”, promising reforms, civil rights, helping to free political prisoners and working to ease sanctions. And in televised debates, Hassan had criticized his predecessor Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s confrontational foreign policies and handling of the economy. 

The voting on June 14, 2013 saw Hassan winning 50.7 percent of the votes and he avoided a run-off after the runner-up came a distant second (16.6 percent). 

There is a lot of hope riding on Hassan and even though he wasn’t a reformist to begin with, he had raised many concerns of reformists who have been purged from the political establishment. He enjoyed a last-minute boost after Iran’s pro-reform leaders threw their weight behind him four days before polling day. And two former presidents Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, a centrist, and Mohammad Khatami, a reformist, both called on their supporters to vote for Hassan and help the country distance from radicalism.

Iran may just surprise the world!

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