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Anwar destroys UMNO in front of international audience - malaysiakini

Malaysian Insider's report:

Video of the 'destroying' here.

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 9 — Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today made a series of accusations against Umno to an international audience, citing it as the cause of racial tensions and lack of economic competitiveness.

He also joined those who believe it is possible that Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi may yet stay on after the Umno party polls in March.

Speaking on a special interview with Riz Khan on satellite television station Al-Jazeera, Anwar said he did not see extremism as a serious threat in the country but blamed the Umno-led governing coalition Barisan Nasional for harming race relations in Malaysia.

"I do not seriously see it as a threat but we will be on our guard. Unfortunately, Barisan Nasional, especially Umno, keeps on harping about Islamic and Malay issues in an extreme way," the former Deputy Prime Minister said.

He also said that while he believed in affirmative action for all marginalised communities, Malaysia as a whole needed economic growth to be propelled and that the Bumiputera-affirming New Economic Policy had been abused by Umno.

"Umno has used the New Economic Policy to enrich themselves with billions going to the families of Prime Ministers but the vast majority of the poor remain marginalised," he said.

He added that under an administration led by him, an affirmative action policy based on needs for all poor people would be established.

"Malaysia is a relatively rich country and we do not need to talk about quotas," he said in reply to a question on whether Indians would enjoy quotas in the way Bumiputeras now do.

The Permatang Pauh MP added that while Malaysia's economic fundamentals were strong, the present government has not been addressing the looming economic crisis.

"The Finance Minister had denied that we are facing a massive problem... RM5 billion from the Employees Provident Fund is being given to its cronies. Singapore will retrench 500,000 workers and Malaysia has 300,000 workers there but there are no tangible measures to address this," he said.

Anwar claimed that there is turmoil now within Umno and dissatisfaction among BN component parties while Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak faces continuous allegations of being involved in the murder of Mongolian national Altantuya Shaariibuu, graft in defence contracts and abuse of power.

As such, he believes that "Abdullah has the upper hand to take the opportunity to prolong his stay" despite Najib already securing the Umno presidency uncontested for the March party polls.

By convention, the Umno president is also BN chairman and Prime Minister but constitutionally, any MP who commands the majority of Parliament shall be Prime Minister.

Anwar said, however, that he was "not sure" how likely this scenario was, given the fact that this possibility was floated by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed, who he said is aligned to Najib.

He also predicted that Najib only "talks about reforms" but would continue to defend "draconian laws and cronyism."

The former Umno deputy president also said he had "no problems that I was part of the system" as he was "the reform voice" and reminded viewers that this was the reason he was "sacked, jailed and beaten up," referring to his removal from government in 1998 amid allegations of corruption and sodomy.

He said that in his time at Umno, his views were well known through his writings and that he had fought for justice, and pushed for media freedom.

"I wrote that we should not insult the Asian intelligence, as if we are not ready simply because it took the United States 200 years, so we need 200 years. We must be stupid and blatantly ignorant then," he said, in an apparent reference to Dr Mahathir's stand that Malaysians are not ready for freedom of speech.

Also on Riz Khan's show last week, Dr Mahathir had said that "the people do not understand freedom of speech and it has caused racial tension."

Malaysiakini's report when up, video will be uploaded later.


Huang Hai-chen said...

A good move by DSAI to expose the corrupt and racist nature of Umno in the eyes of the international community.

Keep up the good work Datuk Seri.