April 26, 2008
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said Malays have nothing to fear despite their smaller representation in several Pakatan Rakyat state governments.
This is because the new Pakatan state governments, which champion the concept of Ketuanan rakyat (people’s power), will not conceive policies that are detrimental to the Malays.
“I will not compromise on this issue. Nor will Pakatan members. We will not conceive any policy to the detriment of the Malays. That issue does not arise,” he pointed out.
Anwar said this when asked about uneaseness among certain quarters that the position of Malays had eroded following their reduction in numbers in the two state governments and the appointment of non-Malay speakers in the Perak and Selangor state legislative assemblies.
Immediately after the general election, Malay groups had protested against the new DAP-led Penang government over the new Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s remarks pertaining to the New Economic Policy.
Following this, Kelantan Regent Tengku Faris Petra had in a controversial speech said that the position of the Malays were being “challenged” and called on Malays to be united.
Apology or not, Umno the same
Acknowledging that the reduction in the number of Malays in the Penang, Perak and Selangor state governments as a political reality, Anwar said it doesn’t mean that policies will be skewed against the Malays.
“There can be a Chinese chief minister in Penang and a Malay menteri besar in Selangor. What is more important is that we have a unequivocal commitment to defend the rights of all Malaysians, regardless of race or religion,” he added.
On Umno Youth chief Hishammuddin Hussein’s apology for waving the keris during the past three Umno general assemblies, Anwar said that PKR would accept it and that the former should not repeat his act.
“The crux of the matter is not the keris as a symbol. What matters is his attitude which shows arrogance and the use of racial issues in politics.
“That is still being continued. They are raising issues about pig farming, Malay supremacy…claiming that the Malays are now very angry against the Selangor government…this sentiment is still strong in Umno,” he added.
On a related matter, Anwar was non-committal when asked to state his stand on the new ‘anti-party hopping’ laws which Barisan hopes to introduce.
He also refused to be drawn into commenting on whether such laws would be unconstitutional.
“We have to look and discuss about it first,” he said.
He also refused to be drawn into the debate on whether it was ethical to poach for Barisan Nasional MPs to make up the numbers necessary for Pakatan Rakyat to form the next federal government.
“History has shown that dozens have hopped into Barisan. Itu halal semua (that is all kosher to them),” he said.
Anwar had been repeatedly claiming that Barisan MPs are waiting for the opportune moment to leave their parties and join forces with Pakatan.
Asked whether his Pakatan peers – DAP and PAS – shared his sentiments on the need to poach for Barisan MPs, Anwar attempted to skirt the question.
“Don’t worry about that. At every stage we have had elaborate discussions and meetings with party leaders. I have said enough on the subject. We have to move on. Let the Umno and Barisan worry. You should not be unduly worried”.
Anwar was speaking to reporters after launching two books penned by the late Rustam Sani.
Earlier in his speech, Anwar had praised Rustam as an “extraordinary public intellectual” who had helped PKR draft their 2008 election manifesto.
Rustam’s two books, Social roots of the Malay left and Failed Nation? Concerns of a Malaysian Nationalist are now available on Kinibooks.com