PETALING JAYA: Jul 16, 2008 By LOONG MENG YEE
PKR slammed the arrest of de facto leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as a political conspiracy to thwart the imminent takeover of the nation by the opposition parties.
Party deputy president Dr Husin Ali said the arrest was less than 15 hours after "overwhelming majority of Malaysians expressed their support" for Anwar following his live appearance on television on Tuesday night.
In the debate with Information Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek, Anwar expressed his intention to stand for election and lower the petrol price by 50 sen once Pakatan Rakyat formed the new government.
He also believed the police had arrested Anwar to "force" evidence out of the former deputy prime minister.
"I don't believe the police have any concrete evidence. As it is, no charges have been made. So, they arrest him, to force or collect evidence.
"The police want to know where exactly he was on that day so that they can make a charge," said Dr Husin.
He added there was no reason for the police to stage the arrest because Anwar had every intention to honour the 2pm meeting with the police.
"He was giving his statement at the Anti-Corruption Agency (ACA) office in the morning. He decided to go home for a meal and his prayers. Zohor is at 1.30pm. The police scheduled the meeting at 2pm, don't they have respect for prayers? What Islam Hadhari is this?" asked Dr Husin in a press conference at the party headquarters here.
The party, he added, wanted to remind Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi of the promise made to ensure Anwar was unharmed while in police custody.
Asked about the by-election and Sept 16 deadline for the formation of a new government, Dr Husin replied the arrest had made the party more angry and more determined to make sure the change happened.
As for the party, he said president Datin Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail still provided strong leadership, and was assisted by a group of capable leaders.
Dr Husin also warned supporters of possible agent provocateurs capitalising on the arrest of Anwar to create public unrest and pin the blame on the party.
"Do not give them any pretext to call for an emergency situation to be declared," he said.
Another leader, party secretary-general Datuk Salehudin Hashim stressed the leadership had not given any directive for its supporters and followers to do anything untoward.
"If anything happens in the next few days that even smell of civil unrest, it is not coming from this party," he said.