- Advertisement -

Bersatu tells Anwar, PH to apologise for cyberbullying of Palestinian man

The party slams the attacks on Palestinian activist Muslim Imran as 'sickening', and repeats a call for the prime minister to retract past comments to the Wall Street Journal.

Staff Writers
3 minute read
Muslim Imran was subjected to a chain of comments attacking him after posting a video clip on X clarifying what he had earlier said in the Keluar Sekejap podcast.
Muslim Imran was subjected to a chain of comments attacking him after posting a video clip on X clarifying what he had earlier said in the Keluar Sekejap podcast.

Bersatu has urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) leadership to apologise to a prominent Malaysian-based Palestinian scholar and activist after he was subjected to online harassment and hate messages for airing his views on the response of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim to the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

The party said Anwar must state "whether he endorses such hateful and vengeful comments" towards Muslim Imran, who has lived in Malaysia for more than two decades and lobbied the Palestian cause with government leaders.

"Is this the evidence of his (Anwar Ibrahim's) claim that he is the number one supporter of Palestine?" asked Bersatu lawyer Sasha Lyna Abdul Latif, referring to a statement by Anwar last year when he was accused of being sympathetic towards Israel.

She also repeated a call for Anwar to retract a statement he had made in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, which quoted him as defending Israel's security.

"We also urge and demand the prime minister say it loud and clear, once and for all, whether he still stands by his claim in 2012 that he supports the security of Israel. If he does not, then repudiate it. 

"We need to send a clear and strong message internationally on where the leadership of Malaysia stands on the great and just Palestinian people’s struggle," said Sasha, who is deputy chair of Bersatu's legal and constitutional bureau.

She described the online attacks of Imran, who is a member of Hamas' international bureau and an expert in Malaysian foreign policy, as "horrifying and utterly disgusting".

"The comments did not at all reflect the Malaysian culture and politeness that is always associated with Malaysians.

"What was more appalling is that some of the commentors even wished that Muslim Imran would die and equated him to being a Zionist," she added.

Imran was a guest on popular political podcast Keluar Sekejap, where he was asked on his views about the present government's response to Israeli aerial bombardments in Gaza that have so far been linked with thousands of civilian casualties.

He said while past Malaysian leaders had been strong in their condemnation of Israeli aggression, the response this time in the face of the biggest military operation in Gaza appeared to be lagging.

"Until now, one week after the Israeli attack, the response is not what Malaysia is capable of doing," he said, recalling former leader Najib Razak's visit to Gaza in 2013, Dr Mahathir Mohamad's condemnation of Israel, as well as Muhyiddin Yassin's phone call to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah.

After extracts of the interview went viral in various forms on TikTok and YouTube with opposition supporters hitting out at the government, Imran took to X to clarify his statements, saying his words had been taken out of context and politicised. 

"I have never meant or intended to belittle the great work of Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim or his government," he added.

He was nevertheless at the receiving end of thousands of hate comments from PH supporters and cybertroopers, many urging authorities to deport him for "disrespecting" Anwar.


Sasha said the pressure on Imran was mainly because he had shared an encounter he had with Anwar two years ago, when the then opposition leader promised to do "so much more" if he became the prime minister. 

She said it was "sickening" that a Palestinian in the country was being bullied and attacked at a time when his homeland was being bombarded.

"In the wake of Israel’s bombing of the hospital in Gaza, instead of sending condolences to Imran over the atrocity, and giving him and Palestine the strong support and solidarity we usually give, many PH supporters went on an online bullying rampage against Imran – particularly sickening given the circumstances.

"What has happened to Imran is clearly hate speech, being any kind of communication in speech, writing or behaviour that attacks or uses pejorative or discriminatory language with reference to a person or a group on the basis of ethnicity or  nationality, race or other identity factor," she added.