|Win a ‘defining moment for nation‘|
|Beh Lih Yi | August 27, 2008 3|
| Newly-elected Permatang Pauh MP Anwar Ibrahim has described his landslide victory in the by-election as a ‘defining moment’ that should serve as a ‘major lesson’ for the ruling BN.
“I thank the voters and consider this as a very defining moment in our history. This is in pursuant to the clamour and demand for change that you have seen during the March 8 general election,” he told a packed press conference after he was declared as a winner.
Anwar won the parliamentary seat with a handsome majority of 15,671-majority vote after defeating his opponents, BN’s Arif Shah Omar Shah and Akim’s Hanafi Hamat.
An elated Anwar, who was accompanied by top leaders from the opposition alliance Pakatan Rakyat, also said the election results should serve as a major lesson for BN to stop making personal attacks against him.
He said this when asked to respond to Deputy Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak who had congratulated Anwar for his electoral victory at a separate function.
“I must thank him (Najib) for the congratulatory remark. This should be considered as a major lesson that in any election or by-election, all issues (discussed in the campaign) must be on the (political) agenda and issues of politics.
“(They have to) stop the malicious and scurrilous attack or racist remark in the campaign. I thank him for his kind word and I would ask us – both BN and PKR – to move forward and discuss on the national reform agenda,” said Anwar.
One of the issues that has been consistently featured in the BN’s by-election campaign was the sodomy charge against Anwar, which has been denied by the opposiition leader as politically-motivated.
He’s taking the oath
The BN leaders have also repeatedly challenged Anwar during the election campaign to make a religious oath that he has not sodomised his ex-aide as claimed. Anwar has staunchly declined to do so.
“All this controversy of oath will be resolved because I have now decided to take the oath,” he quipped in referring to his oath-taking ceremony as a parliamentarian in the Parliament soon.
On the timing of when he will take the oath as MP, Anwar said it will be subject to the discussion between Election Commission and the House speaker Pandikar Amin Mulia.
He expressed hope that there will not be any undue delay of the ceremony, which will see his return to the Parliament after a 10-year hiatus since his unceremonious sacking from the government.
Anwar was tightlipped when asked on the impact of his electoral victory to the Sept 16 plan, the self-imposed deadline of the defection plan involving BN MPs which he has claimed will eventually see the BN government being toppled.
“I will take the oath, discuss and meet with the Pakatan leaders first and then announce (the next step),” he replied.
On the sodomy charge against him, he reiterated his confidence that there he would not be affected by it as “there is no case as far as I am concerned”.
On his immediate plan, he smiled: “I’ll catch some sleep and get back to Kuala Lumpur.”
According to his wife Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, the family is likely to leave Permatang Pauh tonight to return to Kuala Lumpur.
Party leaders said Anwar may be present in Parliament tomorrow despite no scheduled oath-taking ceremony.
No reason to delay swearing-in
Also at the press conference were Wan Azizah, DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, as well as PAS vice-president Husam Musa (right).
Speaking at the same press conference, Kit Siang said there was no reason why there should be any delay into Anwar’s swearing-in ceremony as past record has shown it could be done in 36 hours.
“Any delay will be disservice to the Permatang Pauh voters who have acted on behalf on 27 million Malaysians who have voted for democracy, justice and freedom,” he said.
Husam said he was proud with the decision of the Permatang Pauh voters as it signalled people’s demand for fundamental changes in the government.
Whereas for Guan Eng, who is also DAP secretary-general, he said the results showed that the racial politics does not work anymore in the new era of politics.
The press conference ended when Anwar asked his wife, who he has described as his “pillar of strength” throughout his career, to speak.
Wan Azizah, the ex-parliamentary opposition leader and Permatang Pauh MP, said she was proud with the voters for having risen above racial barriers to vote for the future that Anwar advocates.
“I am proud to have been their representative of Permatang Pauh in the time when it was bad and now the time for the future and for change. I am very happy,” she said in a visible jovial mood.