‘Pakatan will prevail – with or without me’
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim fired a stern warning to his detractors that the people would vote BN out of Putrajaya in the next polls, whether he is in jail or not.
He said the people were so fed up that they were all geared up to kick out the Umno-dominated federal government and replace it with Pakatan Rakyat.
Speaking today to a large crowd at a Chinese New Year open house in Machang Bubok, Penang, Anwar said BN, Umno, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak and even his wife Rosmah Mansor “should not live under false illusions.”
“They should not have this wrong perception that the voters would back the ruling coalition if I were to be jailed,” said Anwar in reference to the ongoing Sodomy II trial at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
“Let me tell you all, that the people of Malaysia will rise to the occasion against Umno and BN in the next general election – whether I am in jail or not.
‘Everywhere we’ve went, the people (we see) are ready to kick out Umno and BN,” he said.
He said the people have long lost their trust on Umno and BN due to corruption that infected the Putrajaya administration to its core.
Due to massive corruption, Anwar said Malaysia had now fallen on the wayside economically even within the Asean region.
“We are now lagging far behind Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and even Vietnam in both economic growth and competitive edge. We are only better than Burma and Zimbabwe,” said the Permatang Pauh MP.
‘What has Umno done for Penang Malays?’
The open house was hosted by PKR’s Machang Bubok state assemblyperson and Penang state assembly deputy speaker Tan Hock Leong.
Other PKR notables also present were Deputy Chief Minister I Mansor Othman, executive councillor Law Choo Kiang, assemblypersons Maktar Shapee (Sungai Bakap), Sim Tze Tzin (Pantai Jerejak).
The sole PAS state representative Mohd Salleh Man (Permatang Pasir) was also one of the guests at the open house.
Anwar also cast doubts on Umno’s moral standing in questioning the current Penang government led by chief minister Lim Guan Eng “for not doing enough for the Penang Malay community.”
“What Umno has done for Penang Malays since independence until it lost the last general election?” he asked.
“All the good things done by Umno in Penang were carried out when I was an Umno minister. I am ready to face anyone on this,” he challenged.
He said the current Umno leaders in Penang were only interested pocketing riches for themselves at the expense of public interest.
He said PKR would back the state government so long as chief minister Lim, who is also DAP secretary-general, continues to deliver the goods for the people.
“Lim is doing a good job here. We are here today to show full support to his government,” he said, calling on the crowd to back Pakatan to retain the DAP-led Penang government in the next round.
“Penang is important for Pakatan and for me … we must win it again in the next election,” said the Penang-born Anwar.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim outlined today features of the Pakatan Rakyat leader-profile he said distinguished the coalition from their counterparts in the ruling BN.
Speaking to a Chinese New Year gathering in the PKR-held state constituency of Batu Maung on Penang island, Anwar, looking weary from weeks of foreign and domestic travel, not to mention attendance at an energy-draining court case, did what he usually does when faced with a crowd ravening to hear his take on national affairs.
He did not disappoint a mixed-race audience of about 1,000 people who had come to attend the celebration hosted by Batu Maung state assemblyperson and executive councillor Abdul Malik Abul Kassim.
He began by telling them that leaders in Pakatan must be clean and upright in financial dealings.
“They are not to ask for contracts for their family or friends, nor take land that does not belong to them.
“Integrity is their paramount quality. They may not be the most capable of leaders, but they must be clean,” said Anwar.
Alluding to the stature of Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Aziz Nik Mat, Anwar said no one claimed that the PAS icon was the most able of leaders, but most people regarded his integrity as above reproach.
Anwar said that after nearly 20 years as menteri besar, Nik Aziz was renowned as a state CEO whose integrity was legendary in an era when people of comparable position and longevity of tenure were steeped in corruption.
Anwar clarified that Pakatan did not place integrity above capability; only that integrity was absolutely vital towards distinguishing Pakatan leaders from BN ones because Pakatan is charged with the task of rescuing the country from the disaster that impends from continued BN rule.
Leader of all Malaysians
Another quality Anwar cited as separating Pakatan leaders from BN ones was a disdain for stances on issues that would pit one race against another, or one religion against another.
“Take the ‘Allah’ issue. Pakatan leaders attempted to explain and lead people to an understanding of the issue so that peace prevailed among the ordinary rakyat who were not at all excited as some leaders had hoped they would be,” he said.
Anwar said a disposition towards the tranquil in a Pakatan leader came with a willingness to accept dissenting views on issues and a determination to find consensus.
“In Pakatan, we do not expect to agree all the time but we are willing to listen to dissenting views and see how we can accommodate them. We are not a chorus of yes-men as the rest of BN is to Umno,” he explained.
Moving on to the Umno-inspired attacks on Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, who was on hand to welcome Anwar, the PKR supremo said that Lim was an example of a clean Pakatan leader who had it in him to become a leader for Malaysians of all races.
“We do not think that a Chinese, a Malay or an Indian Pakatan leader cannot be a leader for his own race, but while being so, he does not neglect the other races in the country, including the Iban and the Kadazan.
“No Pakatan leader is exclusively a leader of his own race. He is that and more,” said Anwar to the cheery understanding of the crowd.
Anwar then praised Batu Maung assemblyperson Abdul Malik as an example of a Pakatan leader who was hard working and solicitous towards all races.
“His work and his performance will ensure that Pakatan wins here again at the next election and with Penang as our mainstay we will take Putrajaya,” concluded Anwar to resounding applause.