|Jan 31, 08 1:15pm|
|Opposition party PKR today urged Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi toensurethat the coming general election is held after April 15 so that the party’s de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim can contest.“Abdullah should ensure that he does not fix the timing of the next election to once again deprive Anwar of his right to participate –a basic right which was denied to him in the 1999 and the 2004 general elections,” said PKR secretary general Khalid Ibrahim today.“We say have an early election by all means, but fix nomination day for April 15th or later,” he added. Anwar is legally prohibited to participate in the elections until April 15 due to his previous convictions for corrupt practices and sodomy. “Anwar has already been wrongfully deprived of his political rights since his first conviction on April 14, 1999.
“Both his convictions have been universally condemned as politically motivated, and the result of procedurally flawed and unfair trials, rendering his six year incarceration in Sungai Buloh prison, a political detention,” added Khalid.
He added that if the government believed that Anwar has become“irrelevant” to Malaysian politics, then there should be no reluctance in delaying the election by a month or so to allow him to participate.
Also present at the press conference were party vice president Sivarasa Rasiah, treasurer William Leong and the Youth wing information chief Low Teik Hai.
Anwar is ready
Khalid also dismissed the suggestions that Anwar can always contest in a by-election in the event the general election was held before April 15.
For Anwar to contest in a by-election was a waste of time and the contest itself would be a waste for the rakyat, as seen by the extravagant cost undertaken by the government in the last by-election in Ijok, said Khalid.
The former corporate flier also said Malaysians should be given a chance to hear and decide on Anwar’s proposals for reforms for the nation.
To a question as to where would Anwar contest, if the election is held after April 15, none of the four PKR leaders at the press conference were forthcoming with an answer.
They said that the identity of the seat would be kept as a secret for the moment.
“But if you ask me whether he is ready to contest in the election, yes, Anwar is here to stay and has been ready for the last six years” said Khalid.
The prime minister is expected to call for the election very soon. Pundits speculate that the elections could be held in mid March.