By Lisa J Ariffin
The PKR de facto leader said the concerns raised by the public were ‘fair’ and the party owed them an explanation.
PETALING JAYA: Anwar Ibrahim has promised to disclose a detailed explanation over his decision to stand in Kajang amid national outcry against PKR for the waste of millions of ringgit in public funds by engineering the by-election.
The PKR de facto leader today acknowledged that the concerns raised by the public were “fair” and that the party owed the people an explanation.
“We need to address the issues raised, and I am aware that the people want to hear from me,” Anwar told a press conference here.
“I accept it (criticisms), and I have informed (coalition partners) PAS and DAP that because of the pressure, there is no need for (a) bigger room for discussion.
“I accept the concerns and I will issue a detailed explanation in the near future,” he added.
Asked of his method of explanation, Anwar in jest said he would appreciate airtime on national broadcast network TV3.
“TV3 should give me the opportunity to explain to the masses,” he joked, prompting laughter from the audience.
“But seriously, I think I have to go to Kajang and the first explanation must be to the people there,” he added.
When asked how much funds have been allocated for PKR’s campaign, Anwar said his party was “working to raise funds”.
“I’ve advised the party to cut cost, and have suggested using my own posters when possible, so that the cost will be minimal,” he said.
When pushed further to reveal an estimated amount, the Permatang Pauh MP said: “Because we don’t need to print more posters… so it won’t be too much.”
“We will be using PAS and DAP machinery as well as old campaign material from the past general election. What’s more important is that I will have to go down to Kajang,” he said.
Will accept friendly criticisms
When pointed out that his decision to stand in Kajang has received criticisms from both sides of the political divide, Anwar said he accepted the concerns with an open heart.
“I accept all friendly criticisms . However, I differentiate this from threats,” he said.
“If the criticisms are objective, then I will accept. That is why I have vowed to give a full explanation soon,” he added.
When questioned if he would follow the steps of PKR strategy director Rafizi Ramli, who earlier today apologised for wasting public funds, Anwar said: “It depends on the form”.
“What we need to do is to explain, that’s only natural in the democratic process, even during normal elections,” he said.
“It’s not the first time (an assemblyman had stepped down to pave way for a by-election), but the establishment-controlled media portrays this as a shock,” he lamented.
“That is why there is a necessity to explain to not just to people of Kajang or Selangor, but to all Malaysians,” he added.
When informed that PKR deputy president Azmin Ali had praised incumbent Selangor menteri besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim’s achievement, Anwar said: “The general consensus in Pakatan is that we have to move and enhance the level of achievement and use Pakatan leadership as a whole as a launching pad to move to Putrajaya”.
PAS will support Anwar
In response to PAS Youth’s intention to field a candidate in Kajang, PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu, who was also present during the press conference, dismissed the announcement as a “personal opinion”.
“They can have their own personal opinion, but it’s the party’s decision as a whole that counts,” he said.
“We will have a meeting and discuss further,” he added.
Earlier today, Rafizi said it was vital to begin defending Selangor now, in response to Umno’s apparent move to unseat Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
He said he did not want a repeat of Kedah, which was in Pakatan’s hands after the 2008 general election, but fell back to BN during the 13th general election last year due to infighting.
Rafizi also apologized on behalf of his party for their differences, which were seen as factional and often frustrated the public.
He added that he hoped one day, when Pakatan was in Putrajaya, they would look back at the difficult days of the Kajang Move as the game-changer in their quest to takeover the government. – FMT