Above 16,000 people show support for Palestinians in Malaysia including Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim
Yasemin Beyza Uçar
South and East Asia Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
Last Tuesday, on the 24th of October 2023, Malaysia supported the Palestinian cause by protesting and Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim attended a rally for the first time. More than 16,000 people showed up at the rally to support the Palestinians as thousands of lives have been taken through Israel’s bombings. All age groups were at the protest, including professionals, students, religious leaders and politicians. They all gathered at the rally organized by the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia (Rashvinjeet S Bedi).
Graphic Designer Anisah Zahirun traveled all the way from Puchong, Selangor, to Kuala Lumpur by herself to be part of this event (Rashvinjeet S Bedi).
Anisah Zahirun stated that she feels truly affected by the situation of the Palestinians and that it is hard for her to see the news. She also told the CNA that she is wondering where humanity is and that the situation in Gaza makes her anxious. People like Anisah Zahirun have hope that Malaysia may be able to put pressure on an international level to stop the conflict between Israel and Palestinians permanently (Rashvinjeet S Bedi).
The Israel-Hamas War was caused by a Palestinian militant group’s cross-border assault on the 7th of October, which killed around 1,400 people in Israel. Ever since this incident, more than 5,000 Palestinians have been killed by continuous Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip. A ground offensive is also declared from Israel to Gaza (Rashvinjeet S Bedi).
This rally in Malaysia was the first attended by Prime Minister Anwar, who said that “Malaysia is a fiercely independent country” and stated further that they, therefore, understand the meaning of freedom. Mr. Anwar also said that Malaysia is with the Palestinians and their struggles “Yesterday, today and tomorrow” (Rashvinjeet S Bedi).
Moreover, Mr. Anwar stated that all Malaysians look forward to seeing Palestinians treated like humans. Gaza is running out of basics, and the United Nations called for a humanitarian pause so that help can arrive in Gaza (Rashvinjeet S Bedi).
Anwar Ibrahim’s anti-Israeli standpoint was demonstrated with a Palestinian keffiyeh wrapped around his shoulder and an image of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, which is of significance for Muslims, as it is the third holiest site during Ramadan. Mr. Anwar expressed that this situation is “the height of barbarism in this world” and said that the United States and Europe’s support to Israel are participating in the bloodshed (Sebastian Strangio).
On the night of the rally, Mr. Anwar was pressured to tone his criticism against the Israeli government down. Ibrahim Anwar answered this call and said he was not intimidated and would stand behind the Palestinians (Sebastian Strangio).
Sources and further readings:
Rashvinjeet S Bedi. (2023, October 24). Over 16,000 in Malaysia including PM Anwar stage yet another show of support for Palestinians. Channelnewsasia. Retrieved October 25, 2023, from Over 16,000 in Malaysia including PM Anwar stage yet another show of support for Palestinians - CNA (channelnewsasia.com).
Sebastian Strangio. (2023, October 25). Malaysian PM Leads Large Pro-Palestine Rally in Kuala Kumpur. The Diplomat. Retrieved October 25, 2023, from Malaysian PM Leads Large Pro-Palestine Rally in Kuala Kumpur – The Diplomat