Posted: 17 Dec 2011 05:34 AM PST
Anwar breaks into Malay heartland as sodomy verdict, polls loom
December 17, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — Faced with the possibility of being thrown behind bars again, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is wasting no time to embark on an aggressive campaign to woo voters from Barisan Nasional's (BN) traditional Malay stronghold areas.
With a looming general election and sodomy trial verdict weighing on his shoulders, the Pakatan Rakyat (PR) de facto leader is making the most of his freedom by going deep behind enemy lines, trying hard to sway the psyches of the country's ethnic majority — who are traditionally supportive of Umno-BN.
In a series of trips beginning with Temerloh, Kuantan yesterday, Anwar's message to the Malay folks in these areas was plain and simple: Vote BN out if you want reform and change in governance.
Speaking to a 500-strong audience at Shakira Cafe, Batu 1 yesterday, Anwar charged that BN's on-going abuse of power and cronyism had resulted in a majority of Malays suffering, while only an elite minority reaped rewards.
The PKR leader claimed that Malays in rural areas failed to see this due to the successful campaign by Umno in blaming the Chinese community for monopolising the country's riches.
"Why do you blame the Chinese? You have Malay representatives, Malay district officers, Malay Mentri Besars. So why are Malays getting poorer?
"If you look at Pahang itself, it is rich, logging has been done for 50 years. But why has the rewards not reached the people?" he was quoted by PAS organ Harakahdaily as saying.
Anwar (picture), a former Umno deputy president said that his PR coalition will break Umno-BN's monopoly chain and return the people their rights.
"Last time when Robert Kuok was in control of the sugar concession, the price hike was not that bad but when Umno cronies took over, sugar went up four times.
"We see taxi drivers doing their best to make a living, but some Umno division leaders have hundreds of taxi permits. This is what we need and will change," said Anwar.
He guaranteed that once PR took over Putrajaya, the price of oil and electricity will go down within the first 24 hours.
"We will set the government minimum wage at RM1,100 and we will see which government does not dare set its minimum wage," he added.
This election is as crucial for Opposition leader Anwar as it is for his rival Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
For Anwar, it is a matter of proving his relevance and legitimacy as the leader of his fledgling PR pact, after being hit with countless allegations of sexual improprieties which included an alleged sex video.
For Najib, the election will be referendum for the Umno president who took over from his predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi in 2009.
While considered highly popular among voters, Najib's credibility was badly hit following his administration's handling of the infamous July 9 rally.
He immediately announced a slew of reforms after that, which included a Peaceful Assembly Act, repeal of the Internal Security Act (ISA) as well as allowing university students above 21 to join politics outside of campus grounds.
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