Various media reports indicate that Muslim Brotherhood figure and Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim played a leading role in what was described as Malaysia’s biggest anti-government protest in a decade. The protests, broken up by the use of tear gas and “chemically laced water cannons”, were said to be Malysia’s largest since September 1998 when supporters of then deputy Prime Minister Ibrahim protested his dismissal from the Cabinet and ruling party by Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s leader at that time. A New Zealand TV new report discussed the role that Ibrahim played in the recent protest and cites comments predicting an increased visibility for Ibrahim in the future:
Saturday’s protest was organised by Bersih, a coalition of opposition groups and civil societies who have united to demand a clean-up of the electoral roll, elimination of so-called phantom voters, curbs on postal voting and equal access to the government-friendly mainstream media for all political groups. The ruling multi-racial coalition, which has governed in several different forms since independence 50 years ago, has denied that there is a need for reform and has said Saturday’s protest was an illegal assembly by opposition trouble-makers. But the protest revealed another uncomfortable fact for the coalition, Singapore’s Ooi said – that opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who helped stage it, was still a potent political foe. “It puts Anwar back on the map in a big way,” Ooi said. “With this demonstration and the support that has been shown, he will have to be taken very seriously from now on.”
Ibrahim has many ties to the global U.S Muslim Brotherhood include helping to found the International Institute of Islamic Thought where he currently serves as a director, representing Asian youth and serving as a trustee for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) during the 1970’s and early 1980’s, and appearances at numerous Brotherhood-linked conferences.