Anwar remembers raising parents about the love of reading and concern for the poor

KUALA LUMPUR: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (Picture), in the “Meet Anwar” dialogue with young people here today, touched on a range of topical and people-related issues and encountered with the audience the role that his parents played in his upbringing and his love of reading.

A participant from Indonesia sparked the conversation when she expressed admiration for the 75-year-old leader, whom she described as a “true fighter” with unique leadership values, and then asked about the parenting methods and values ​​his parents had instilled in him.

“I believe you bring with you a MADANI version of humanity, which was taught and recommended to you by your parents from a young age to have your ‘fighting spirit’ tested not only at home but also in prison,” the young woman said introduced himself as Nur Irma Watoni asked.

With a smile in response while saying he was “happy” with the question, Anwar said one of the most important foundations of his parents’ upbringing was reading.

“My parents really encouraged me to read. My father was more into English. My mother preferred the Malay language. They also often encouraged me to get involved in social and community activities.

“Although we come from a middle-class family, my parents were strong supporters of Umno and my father was the MP of Permatang Pauh. But they always took me to poor areas. So our concern was great from an early age, as was our religious upbringing,” Anwar said.

The prime minister said while studying at Malay College Kuala Kangsar (MCKK), he received strong discipline training from his teachers, whom he described as exceptional.

“Therefore I do not harbor hatred of the other races when people talk about race, although I am a strong-willed Malay who champions the (Malay) language and is proud of my culture.

“Although it was a Malay college, the teachers who sacrificed and contributed so much for us were Malay, Chinese and Indian teachers and their love for us showed that they were never prejudiced towards the Malay students. All of this influenced our character.

“But how I stood my ground and survived was never easy. I was in prison for almost 11 years and prison is hell on earth so it was never easy. But I was stubborn enough to insist on changing the system,” he said.

Anwar said despite being behind bars he was determined to make Malaysia great and “human”, which led him to do charity work, memorize the Quran and read as many books as possible.

“In the beginning, books were not allowed in my prison cell. But after a few years they got tired of banning them and finally allowed it… and friends from all over the world sent books. The latest books from India, Indonesia, United States and United Kingdom have been sent to me.

“And that’s why, when I got out of prison in 2004, I was asked to become a fellow at Oxford University and then a professor at Georgetown University, because I read a lot. But how to be strong is difficult to answer. The most important thing is to pray to Allah SWT to be strong,” he said.

Organized by the Anwar Ibrahim Club (AIC), the dialogue was moderated by celebrity Amelia Henderson and over 5,000 young people took part, who took the opportunity to put questions to the Prime Minister on a range of subjects. -Bernama Anwar remembers raising parents about the love of reading and concern for the poor

Tom Vazquez

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