Friday, January 9, 2009

Anwar renews power bid

KUALA TERENGGANU - MALAYSIA’S opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has renewed his vow to seize power from the ruling coalition, as the two sides lock horns for a key by-election.

Mr Anwar has laid low since failing to meet a self-imposed September 2008 deadline to unseat the Barisan Nasional government, after general elections that saw the coalition handed its worst results in half a century.

The opposition alliance is now hoping to reinvigorate itself with a win in the Jan 17 by-election in north-eastern Terengganu state, which is seen as a referendum on the political mood since the March 2008 national polls.

‘I want to say that we in the alliance are determined to topple the Barisan Nasional coalition,’ Mr Anwar said at an opposition rally here late Tuesday that drew some 10,000 supporters.

‘For a start, I will help our alliance candidate from PAS obtain a big victory,’ he said on the seafront of the state capital Kuala Terengganu.

Top figures in the alliance - Mr Anwar’s Keadilan as well as the Islamic party PAS and the Democratic Action Party that represents ethnic Chinese - stood shoulder-to-shoulder to dispel signs the partnership is under strain.

The partnership of three ideologically divided parties is intent on putting its differences aside for the by-election, which will be contested by PAS candidate Mohamad Abdul Wahid, 52.

The ruling party Umno (United Malays National Organisation) is fielding deputy home minister Wan Ahmad Farid, 46, for the vote, which will indicate whether it has lured back support since the general elections.

Mr Anwar had said he would topple the government by mid-September with the help of defecting lawmakers, after elections that saw the opposition gain five states and a third of parliamentary seats in unprecedented results.

But that deadline came and went and the promised mass defections from the Barisan Nasional never materialised.

His momentum stalled in October when Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi agreed to stand down in March, defusing public anger at the government’s handling of the economy and failure to introduce promised reforms.

The government is now exploiting bickering within the opposition, but Mr Anwar said the alliance was united despite disagreements over issues such as a PAS call for the introduction of Islamic ‘hudud’ law including the stoning of adulterers

Malaysians have more sense than their leaders

The politics is messier. Race relations are slumping. Religious conflicts are being played out publicly. Still, Datuk Zaid Ibrahim believes that Malaysia has a good future. The reason: the majority of Malaysians are sensible people and the results of Election 2008 show that the rakyat wants democracy.

The former de facto Law Minister said: “Ordinary people have more sense than their leaders sometimes. They know the value of co-operation, mutual respect and harmony. I believe the people have spoken out loudly and clearly.

“The future direction of the country is no longer going to be solely in the hands of the political masters. They have had enough of scandals, abuse of power, and poor administration.”
Speaking at a talk organised by the Insititute of South East Asian Studies in Singapore today, he disagreed with the school of thought led by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who argued that many Malaysians voted for the Opposition on March 8 as a protest against the Barisan Nasional.

“The people voted for the Opposition as a manifestation of their desire for a better country; for themselves, their families, their children, ” he said, adding that he was cheered by the results of the general elections.

Given what happened on March 8, he believed that Malaysia will prosper in a way that will benefit all including the Bumiputras; will see the rights and the dignity of all respected and protected; will witness compassion becoming the central consideration in the formulating of public policies.

“Finally, as a lawyer, I want to see justice and the rule of law re-established and flourishing. These are simple ambitions, I think. Given the results of the 8 March 2008 election, there is some hope that they will be fulfilled in my lifetime. The rakyat has shown that it wants democracy and all that it portends, ” said Zaid, who resigned from the government because he did not agree with the use of the Internal Security Act and could not accept the policies and resistance to change in Umno

Parti Warisan Sabah janganlah Sampai dilabel ' Ibarat Melukut Di Tepi Gantang '

"Berputar pada sentimen kenegerian seperti yang hangat digempar gemburkan pucuk pimpinan parti secara idealnya dilepaskan pada ...