Friday, February 20, 2009

POLITICS WITH MALAYSIAKINI: Anwar in the mood to accuse

Oh, another accusation?

PKR’s Kulim assemblyman Lim Soo Nee met up with former Kedah menteri besar Datuk Seri Mahazir Khalid and was enticed to switch parties, and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) should act on the matter, opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said in parliament yesterday.

“They (MACC) have enough time to do it. There is ample incontrovertible evidence to act and prosecute those responsible,” he told the media later at Parliament lobby.

Anwar (Permatang Pauh-PKR) said he had held on to the information on the matter from the last session parliamentary session, pending investigations.

While delivering his motion of thanks on the royal address, Anwar said Lim was bombarded with offers from April to July 2008. He said Lim, who was first offered RM4 million and later RM5 million, lodged a report with the ACA and agreed to become their bait.

Repeated meetings between BN agents, Mahazir and Lim were arranged and came under ACA’s surveillance.

The last meeting was held at a Seberang Jaya hotel late last year. Lim and Mahazir met in a room that had been wired with CCTV by the ACA. However, no actions were taken to date, and the officer in charge of the case had been transferred out of Penang where he was based.

Anwar told the august House that another Kedah assemblyman, Tan Wei Shu (Bakar Arang-PKR), received threats, in the form of bullets. Pressed for more details, he said he would leave the matter to the MACC (previously ACA).

Asked if he has his own recordings of the cases, Anwar said: “You will know at the right time. There is a pattern of kidnapping, threats and bribery that involves Umno leaders right to the top, to the office of Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib.”

Earlier in his speech, Anwar lambasted Umno and BN for using such tactics to effect defections.

He gave the example of the Perak assemblymen who defected and surfaced after 10 days to stand beside Najib at a press conference, only to disappear again later.

On whether he had seen intensified efforts to cause political defections, Anwar said: “Of course, there are. You see what is happening in Selangor and Kedah. They threatened the poor guy (V Arumugam, Bukit Selambau assemblyman) until he had to resign. Is it because he is an Indian that you can treat him that way? He is state exco and (yet) you can treat him that way.”

He alleged that efforts to buy over PR reps were intensifying because Najib was involved. “He wants to prove a point that he is going to be an effective, tough Umno leader. I would support effective tough leaders but not kidnappers and bribers,” he said.

To another question, Anwar said the defections had served as a reminder that the party needed to choose qualified candidates with tenacity and sense of purpose in its reform agenda.

He said the party would be more mindful and selective in future to ensure potential candidates had higher ethical standards before being chosen.

“Now we are able to. You must appreciate that in 2008 we were struggling. People did not have the confidence that we would win. I have to persuade them and things have changed.”

Commenting on Perak Assembly Speaker V Sivakumar’s decision to suspend Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir and his exco from the assembly, Anwar said it was the decision of the Special Privileges Committee.

“That is why we asked for a snap election because there is a stalemate. It’s 28 against 28,” he said, adding that he saw no other alternatives to solve the impasse.

On whether Selangor and Kedah governments would be the next to fall, Anwar said he was concerned but was not unduly worried.

Anwar also praised Bukit Lanjan assemblywoman Elizabeth Wong for taking a courageous position.

“Her concern when she met me, (Wan) Azizah and the rest, she said she does not want her issue to cause a distraction from the reform agenda.

“I have said that she should be given time to reflect on this. We will have to meet and discuss. I don’t want to rush into this,” he said.

In his motion of thanks on the royal address, Anwar touched on the derhaka issue and took Umno to task for condemning the incident in Kuala Kangsar. He said Umno had kept quiet when its members demonstrated and called the King demeaning names in reaction to Datuk Ahmad Said’s appointment as Terengganu menteri besar in place of Datuk Seri Idris Jusoh.

He also questioned the Election Commission’s role in refusing to hold elections for Changkat Jering and Behrang in Perak.Anwar claims BN attempted to entice Kulim assemblyman
The Edge Daily, Malaysia