Anwar dares PM, DPM to debate on fuel prices

Posted by SM Maulana

A section of the crowd at last night’s rally.

PETALING JAYA, July 7 ─ The crowd was way smaller than the predicted one million and the 50,000 capacity stadium was not filled to the brim but Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim last night challenged the government to debate about the pump price hikes.

Some 20,000 people defied police warnings to shun the anti-fuel price hike and pro-Anwar rally at the Stadium Kelana Jaya which began in the morning with political speeches interspersed with rock performances as a police helicopter hovered overhead.

“It is better if I debate with the Prime Minister. If he’s not willing to debate with me alone, I’m happy to challenge him and the Deputy Prime Minister; them on one side together,” said Anwar, whose arrival earlier caused pandemonium with supporters jumping until a makeshift stage broke apart.

He is scheduled to debate on the price hikes with Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek on July 15 and he promised that his allies would bring up the matter in Parliament today.

“Azizah, Kit Siang and other MPs will stand in Parliament tomorrow (today) to demand a reduction in fuel prices. They will convey the wishes of the people,” Anwar thundered, referring to his wife Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is Parliamentary Opposition Leader, and DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang.

The opposition leader has made a stunning comeback from a decade of political wilderness, six of which spent in jail for corruption and sodomy convictions, to see his alliance of three parties winning 82 parliamentary seats and four more states apart from Kelantan.

But the swift political ascendancy and an earlier promise of capturing Putrajaya by Sept 16 is now mired in a sodomy allegation, the second in a decade and which he reasserts is a political conspiracy.

[A section of the crowd at last night’s rally.]

A section of the crowd at last night’s rally.
Last night, Anwar did not mention forming a government by Malaysia Day or Sept 16 but promised to press ahead until the opposition pact ousts Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s Barisan Nasional government.

He repeated his spiel from earlier rallies, saying “The people are living in hardship, the BN ministers in luxury … If Pakatan Rakyat takes over the government today, tomorrow we will bring down the price of oil.”

Anwar, who made public a sworn statement claiming Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak is linked to murdered Mongolian model and translator Altantuya Shaariibuu, said Malaysia is going through a crisis of confidence.

“This is a crisis of confidence against leaders of Barisan Nasional. This crisis is impoverishing the people. If Datuk Dollah and Najib are unwilling, Anwar is willing. It’s a question of survival, food, education,” he told the crowd who were mostly dressed in red T-shirts.

He also challenged his critics, who had dared him to swear on the Quran, to deny the sodomy claims by his estranged personal aide, a 23-year-old university dropout .

“Don’t play-play with this issue. If you want to follow the Islamic method, take me to the Syariah Court. Then if they want me to swear on it, I’ll do it,” Anwar said.

Among others who spoke were Lim, Dr Hatta Ramli from PAS and leaders from Anwar’s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR). The crowd had earlier thrown empty water bottles at a rock band that performed lewdly.

Police maintained light presence around the stadium but had mounted roadblocks on major arteries there such as the Federal Highway and the LDP expressway causing traffic congestion.


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