Saturday, September 13, 2008

Stop playing the race card: Anwar - Star


Pakatan Rakyat wants Umno to stop playing the race card for the sake of political stability, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.

Anwar said the opposition coalition did not want to allow the Government to create uncertainty or instability by using the race card whenever they were pushed into a corner.

“This is clearly an act of desperation. We urge the Government to respect the laws of the land,” he told reporters Saturday at an impromptu press conference at the PKR headquarters here.

Anwar said this when referring spefically to the detention of Seputeh MP and Selangor senior executive councillor Teresa Kok under the Internal Security Act (ISA), while also condemning the arrests of Malaysia Today editor Raja Petra Kamaruddin and Sin Chew Daily reporter Tan Hoon Cheng.

Anwar said the race card was used when detaining Kok and it was the Government’s way of suggesting that the Malays should not express their concern about such action.

“I am a Malay and a Muslim and I think it is grossly unjust for any Malay or Muslim to condone injustice,” he said.

When asked if the opposition would have to defer its Sept 16 plan to take over the government, Anwar said of utmost importance now was national unity and political stability.

“This is why we are now demanding for an urgent closed-door meeting between our representative and the Prime Minister to discuss national security and the future of Malaysian politics.”

Anwar said deferring the takeover date was not an issue as he claimed that the opposition had the requisite number of MPs, but added that the use of the ISA was definitely to intimidate the rakyat and the opposition.

“We will move (to take over the government) in accordance with the constitutional provision and the mandate that we have.”

On whether he had heard that more opposition MPs would be arrested, Anwar said he had heard of the possibility of a second wave of arrests.

“We are mindful of that fact but we should not feel threatened. It is Umno and Barisan Nasional that should feel threatened by public sentiment clamouring for change.”

Anwar added that he wanted the crackdown to stop and promised that all ISA detainees would be released when the opposition forms the government.

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