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Malaysian opposition, Islamic leaders condemn ‘coup’ in Tunisia

Anwar Ibrahim, president of People's Justice Party, calls move assault on democracy

Pizaro Gozali Idrus   | 27.07.2021
Malaysian opposition, Islamic leaders condemn ‘coup’ in Tunisia Malaysian Opposition Leader, Anwar Ibrahim ( FILE PHOTO - Anadolu Agency )

JAKARTA, Indonesia

A Malaysian opposition leader and Islamic organizations on Tuesday condemned Tunisian President Kais Saied's sacking of Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspending parliament.

Anwar Ibrahim, the president of the People's Justice Party, said the move was an assault on democracy. "These actions extinguish accountability, undermine trust between the people and the government, and amount to an assault on Tunisia’s democracy,” he said in a Facebook post.

The Tunisian people have worked hard to build a just and fair society in the aftermath of decades of oppressive dictatorship and today they are confronted with a rapidly worsening COVID-19 situation, which has not been handled effectively by the government, he added.

“There is no example of a democratic country that improved its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic by suspending democracy,” said Anwar.

“Parliament is the place to challenge the government’s performance, which is why I add my voice to those who call for an immediate restoration of parliament and of the rule of law in Tunisia."

Dangerous path

Several Islamic organizations in Malaysia also showed deep concern and dismay following the latest development in Tunisia.

"President Kais Saied’s decision will set a dangerous path to heal the nation from previous tyrannical and autocratic rule,” the groups said in a press release.

The statement was made by President of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Islamic Organizations (MAPIM) Mohd Azmi Abdul Hamid, Chair Secretariat for the Assembly of Ulama of Asia Sheikh Abdul Ghani Samsuddin and Chair Alliance of World Mosque in Defence of Al Aqsa Sheikh Ahmad Awang.

“The suspension of the parliament is outrageous. We stand in solidarity ... to defend their revolution and freedom,” it said.

The groups said that ousting the government is nothing but a coup. “The president cannot hide the illegal act under the pretext of protecting the country."

They also condemned the attacks on the offices of the Ennahda movement, and raids on the office of media group Al Jazeera.

Political parties in Tunisia have accused the president of staging a coup, but Saied said he acted in accordance with the Constitution. Many countries, including Turkey, have expressed concern and condemned the move.

Tunisia is seen as the only country that succeeded in carrying out a democratic transition following the popular Arab Spring uprisings. But it failed in achieving economic and political stability, and the recent spike in coronavirus cases fueled further public frustration.

*Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita

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