Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Anwar: Name my ‘cronies’ - Star

BUTTERWORTH: Aug 19, 2008

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has challenged his detractors to name the people who allegedly benefited from his position when he was deputy prime minister and finance minister.

“There was no such thing. If you know of the people who benefited, you should identify them. Do not just make claims,” he said.

The PKR leader, who is contesting the Permatang Pauh by-election, was asked to comment on his involvement in bumiputra policies when he was in the Federal Government and the award of projects without tenders.

Speaking to reporters during a break from his morning campaign yesterday, Anwar said bumiputra youths did not have any problem embracing a multiracial philosophy.

He said the recent issue with Selangor Mentri Besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s proposal to allocate a 10% quota for non-bumiputras in UiTM was a ploy by Umno leaders to make PKR look bad and anti-Malay.

Friendly reception: Seberang Jaya residents welcoming Anwar and his wife Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail during their visit to the Seberang Jaya Food Court in Penang yesterday

“(Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad gave the same proposal in 2002. What Umno is doing is manipulating Khalid’s statement,” he said, adding that he did not think Umno could sustain the racial line.

“It is time for the Malays to take the step (towards a multiracial philosophy), but it will not be easy initially,” he said, adding that he himself was amazed how well Malay youths had responded to him championing for the interests of other races.

Declaring he is a leader of all races, Anwar said his main objective was to bring prosperity to all Malaysians.

“Yes, I am an agent for the Malays as well as the Indians and Chinese,” he said yesterday, while hitting out at Barisan leaders for allegedly portraying him as anti-Malay.

He stressed that he would never betray the Malays or sacrifice Islam to achieve his plan of leading Pakatan Rakyat to take over the Federal Government.

He claimed that Barisan Nasional leaders had been using the racial line in their campaign rounds to sway Malay voters away from him in the by-election.

“Playing on the racial line is a very dangerous game. The people are not that stupid now compared to years ago. Umno is a sinking ship and its leaders are holding on to it to stay in power,” he said.

On contesting against his former protege Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah, Anwar said he had nothing personal against the man and that he was a good friend.

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