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Saturday, March 9, 2013
On the cusp of GE13: Anwar urges M'sians to embrace "new realities", tells Dr M to SHUT UP
Saturday, 09 March 2013 07:19
Written by Wong Choon Mei, Alaa Soleiman, Malaysia Chronicle
GEORGETOWN - Widely expected by a large cross-section of the people to form and lead the country's next federal government, a humble Anwar Ibrahim reminded his Opposition coalition to fulfill its pledges of bringing change to Malaysia. He vowed to root out corruption, injustice and racial prejudice, urging the people to accept and "live with new realities".
"In the past 6 months I have traveled all around the country and I have seen this developing. How do you explain this phenomenon. Do you think this is because of Anwar or because of Guan Eng or because of Ustaz Hadi or because of DAP or Keadilan or PAS," Anwar told a wildly-cheering crowd of more than 50,000 people on Friday night.
"This is beyond that. This is the people's awakening, you demand change. This comes from the people who want change. And this must be understood by the government. And also by us. We must honor this commitment. It is not a matter of replacing the prime minister or ministers or the government but to honor the commitment to return the dignity to the Malays, the Chinese, Indians, Dayaks and Kadazans... to give them back their rights and dignity as citizens of this beloved country."
Regime change: More than just replacing the PM or govt
He was speaking at a ceramah or political rally to commemorate the 5th anniversary of the landmark March 8, 2008 election day that saw the Opposition sweep to unprecedented prominence in Malaysia.
In that 12th general election, the PR had won control of 5 out of 13 states and more than half the popular vote. In the coming 13th election widely expected to called within weeks, Anwar expects to win the federal government with a minimum 10-seat victory over Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno-BN coalition.
The 64-year-old Anwar ran through a whole range of issues in his speech, focusing on corruption, injustice and human rights. He took pot shots at his old nemesis Mahathir Mohamad and slammed corruption and racism in the government to the delight of the crowd, which had packed the Padang Kota Lama field to hear him and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng speak.
"Dr Mahathir says if Anwar becomes the PM, he will sell the country to the Chinese. Najib says he can understand the Chinese in BN but the Chinese in the DAP, they are the worst. For me, I have the most experience - with the Chinese in Gerakan, the Chinese in MCA and I am proud to work with the Chinese in DAP because they have principles and integrity. And this is something the Malays must understand. We cannot develop the country with this type of prejudice. We cannot raise our country with this sort of prejudice. We have to live with new realities."
"We reject Malay racism, we won't allow that to be replaced by Chinese racism or Indian racism. We will have to create a new Malaysian awareness and spirit."
Racism: 'This man must be told to shut up'
Anwar ticked off Najib, whom he accused of lacking the personal integrity and courage to bring about tough reforms needed to weed out the rampant graft in the country. He accused Najib of caving in to the hardline policies of former premier Mahathir Mohamad and failing to defend the "rights and dignity" of the people.
"You threaten to burn the Bible, he keeps quiet, you threaten Dr Mahathir ...my old friend ... I am a proud Malay and a practicing Muslim but as a good Muslim, you don't oppress the rights of the others.
"But where in the world do you have a national leader who has the audacity to question the citizenship of your own people after 50 years .. this man must be told to shut up. Najib, the prime minister, will never have the courage to tell Dr Mahathir, 'please sir, you are wrong in insulting my people... whether Chinese or Indian, they are my people'. This is why I tell Najib - back off. Let 'abang' (big brother) Anwar show you."
The 87-year-old Mahathir still wields tremendous influence in Umno and has recently spoken his mind on various issues and even demanded that the citizenship of Bersih chief Ambiga Sreenevasan be revoked amid calls by the movement for clean polls to the Election Commission to do more to ensure fair play in GE13.
Competitiveness: We can only beat Myanmar now
Anwar warned that Najib's inability to tackle the endemic corruption in the Umno-led government would worsen Malaysia's rising non-competitiveness and falling attractiveness as a destination for investments.
"In 2007, I asked for support because we could not compete anymore. Malaysia has lost its competitiveness, its stature and attraction as a designation for foreign investments. Our market capitalization which used to be No.1 in the 1990s now stands behind Singapore, Jakarta, Thailand. In foreign investments, we have also lost to Singapore, Indonesia, Vietnam. The only one we can beat now is Myanmar," he said.
Boot out Umno-BN in GE13
Anwar urged Malaysians to boot out the Umno-BN, which he said was not only unable to reform the country but also to help itself.
"They are busy now stealing land, timber, contracts, shares and even cattle," said Anwar, taking a shot at the RM250mil NFC debacle, where Umno women's chief Shahrizat Jalil was accused of being corruptly involved in.
"You must help them, give them some free time. Vote them out in the GE. Give them time to study some ethics, learn some manners, culture and Bahasa Melayu," he added, in another dig at the way the Umno-controlled newspapers frequently misquoted him.