Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Promote ‘ketuanan rakyat’, Anwar tells Pakatan leaders

By Boo Su-Lyn
November 30, 2010
The Malaysian Insider

KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 30 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders to spread a “ketuanan rakyat” (people supremacy) message to voters in states under their control.

The opposition leader said the Malay supremacy concept has been “twisted” by some Malay elites, echoing his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail’s rejection of the concept that led Perkasa Youth to label her a “political prostitute”.

“The responsibility of the states is to affirm their stand on ketuanan rakyat,” said Anwar in his closing speech at the PR mentris besar and chief ministers summit in Shah Alam yesterday.

“The polemic of ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) has been twisted by a group of rich and powerful Malays. They got rich based on so-called pro-Malay policies,” he added.

The summit was attended by PR state administrators Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng, Kedah Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Azizan Abdul Razak and Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Nik Aziz Nik Mat.

Yesterday, Perkasa Youth chief Arman Azha Abu Hanifah described PKR leaders as desperate for non-Malay votes and called Dr Wan Azizah a “political prostitute” for rejecting the concept of Malay supremacy.

He also likened Dr Wan Azizah’s remarks to an attack on the constitutional position of the Malays.

At PKR’s annual congress last weekend, PKR president Dr Wan Azizah described Malay supremacy as a slogan used by a small group of Malay elites to cheat others.

She also called on the Malay community to become a dignified race and not to be obsessed with being a “master”.

Anwar, however, said that PR was not effective enough in reaching out to the masses with its messages.

“We are not so effective in explaining our stand and actions to the rakyat,” said the Permatang Pauh MP.

“Internet penetration is located in urban or suburban areas, not the rural heartland,” he added.

PKR leaders have voiced such concerns about the obstacles in disseminating party policies to the public, especially after the ban on the party weekly newsletter Suara Keadilan.

Anwar noted that an effective media machinery was crucial in establishing the “facts” among the people, especially after he and PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang had been accused of betraying their race.

“You have seen the incessant propaganda. We have been called traitors to the Malay race. It is therefore a major challenge to… disseminate information effectively and to go to the ground and launch an effective campaign based on facts,” he said.

Analysts have said PR faces greater difficulty in capturing semi-rural seats that suffer a communication vacuum from the opposition coalition and are more concerned about economic prosperity.

Anwar has also reiterated DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang’s call for PR leaders to close ranks, amid widespread speculation that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak may call for snap polls as early as the first quarter of next year, ahead of the end of his government’s mandate in 2013.

“I agree with Kit Siang that it’s time to ensure consensus and unity,” he said.

“We will be at risk if there is suspicion within the party. So, we call for a spirit of consensus in Pakatan state governments,” he added.

PKR’s recent fractious polls culminated with the exit of Datuk Zaid Ibrahim from the deputy presidential race and his resignation from the party.

He had accused the party leadership of condoning electoral fraud and malpractices.

Selangor DAP went through one of its most divisive elections last weekend, involving a faction aligned to then-state chairman Ean Yong Hian Wah and another team led by State Assembly Speaker Teng Chang Khim.

Lim had also recently warned the Selangor DAP that PR might lose Selangor in the next general election if it is not united, reminding the state party convention to learn from PAS’s 2004 loss in Terengganu.

PAS had lost Terengganu in a 4-28 sweep by Umno and BN, reversing its 28-4 victory in the 1999 general election, he said.

Anwar also claimed that PR state administrators were prohibited from entering schools.

“He may be mentri besar, but he’s not allowed to enter any educational institution or any school,” he said.

He further lambasted the federal government for refusing to disburse funds directly to PR state governments.

“The federal government does not disburse funds through state agencies, but through certain apparatuses,” said the 62-year-old PKR de facto leader.