Nearly 20 years after the reformasi calls were first sounded in Kuala Lumpur, leading to his arrest, beating in jail and the subsequent change of government in Malaysia, Anwar Ibrahim is, at last, the PKR president!
He won the presidency unopposed. This has somehow doused the numerous rumours spread by anti-Anwar blogs. The politicians rummaging through the corridors of power against Anwar in local political parties have failed.
They were many who used the local print media and news portals to spread rumours on the PKR presidency elections.
Some went the extra length of using foreign media outlets to spread the rumours.
Anwar’s win – uncontested – is a victory for the reformasi movement in the country. It opens a new page in Malaysia’s history.
The few next steps for Anwar now is to find a vacated parliamentary seat to contest in a by-election. This will allow him to enter Parliament as an MP. From there, the final step will be to wait for Prime Minister Tun Mahathir Mohamad to step down.
This is the long route that Anwar has to take to reach the ultimate political post, that is the Prime Ministership.
His election is also a landmark moment for the PKR. The party survived a number of betrayals with turncoats selling out at crucial moments in the country’s recent history.
Many big names left the party. They rejoined the Umno and the Barisan Nasional in an attempt to weaken the PKR.
Many others tried to join in to control the way the party runs its affairs. Some tried to subvert the party from within. They wanted to bring it to its knees so that it would join the Umno or the BN.
Most of them are gone, lost in their own mistranslation of the reformasi agenda. They lost the ultimate battle on May 9, a battle won by Anwar in jail. Nevertheless, the victory of Dr Mahathir is that of Anwar Ibrahim also.
It is well accepted within the party that Pakatan Harapan might not have won without Anwar Ibrahim.
Soon, the PKR will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the reformasi. This is the call the people heard on the streets of Kuala Lumpur. That was when Barisan Nasional agents in disguise joined the crowds to spy on them. They also caused havoc and violence against the authorities then blamed on the reform movement.
This is the call that drew thousands on the streets in Masjid India, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman and in Kampung Baru. The prospect of a new era in Malaysia brought them together.
Their hopes were that there will be an era of reforms and changes that would give the country and its people a new breath, a chance to see a brighter future.
We saw the young girls, young men, most of them hailing from the Malay community, taking a beating on the streets by baton-wielding police officers.
However, it was the pitiless beating and the heartbreaking injustices that brought resistance from the people.
This was the time when the reformasi supporters could only lift those beaten and left behind to give them hope and a helping hand to fight for another day.
That is if the police did not catch them and send them to jail in the infamous Black Marias.
This is what this generation of activists and democracy fighters will cherish. Anwar Ibrahim is finally the President of the reformist party.
Long live the reformasi movement. Long live Malaysia!