Ahad, 28 April 2013




Posted: 28 Apr 2013 03:08 AM PDT



Posted: 27 Apr 2013 07:30 PM PDT


Posted: 27 Apr 2013 07:14 PM PDT

R Sivarasa - Ahli Parlimen Subang

Posted: 27 Apr 2013 11:05 PM PDT

R Sivarasa - Ahli Parlimen Subang

Posted: 27 Apr 2013 06:12 PM PDT

Incumbent of Subang parliamentary seat, R. Sivarasa said that he welcomes the withdrawal of PAS’ candidate from Kota Damansara, a Selangor State seat under Subang.

“This shows the people are now mature enough to accept that it is either Pakatan Rakyat or Barisan Nasional,” he said.

“There is no place for a three or four cornered fight between the component parties of Pakatan Rakyat.” Sivarasa said that Dr. Mohd Nasir Hashim was picked as a candidate to contest under PKR because of his past performance.

“It also shows that there is strong cooperation between PSM and PKR even at the eleventh hour,” he said, urging all Pakatan supporters to close the gap and go for the final push for Putrajaya.

He also urged voters to turn up in full force to the polling stations to cast their votes. “This is a historic moment of this nation,” he said.

Quoting PAS vice-president, Salahuddin Ayub, Sivarasa said that Malaysians have to erase the past memories of May 13, but declare May 5 as the birth of a new Malaysia.

On another separate matter, Sivarasa said that PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim will be making a special appearance at Pasar Malam Paya Jeras on Sunday April 28 (9pm).

Anwar Ibrahim

Posted: 27 Apr 2013 07:33 PM PDT

Anwar Ibrahim

[VIDEO] Newsflash: Anwar Ibrahim At Beaufort Sabah

Posted: 27 Apr 2013 08:56 AM PDT

[VIDEO] Newsflash: Anwar Ibrahim Di Labuan

Posted: 27 Apr 2013 08:54 AM PDT

Mat Taib: Umno telah gagal, jadi perlukan PERKASA

Posted: 27 Apr 2013 08:49 AM PDT


Kewujudan kumpulan pendesak seperti PERKASA menunjukkan bahawa Umno telah gagal untuk melaksanakan tanggungjawabnya kepada orang Melayu, kata bekas Naib Presiden Umno, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhd Taib.

Muhammad, yang menyertai PAS Isnin lalu berkata pada masa lalu, Umno tidak pernah memerlukan “samseng” untuk membantu perjuangannya dan parti itu telah menyimpang daripada perjuangannya.

Sekarang, tambahnya, Umno perlukan Datuk Seri Ibrahim Ali, Zulkifli Nordin dan kumpulan-kumpulan pelampau untuk memberi tekanan.

Menurutnya, selepas 60 tahun, Umno sepatutnya mampu untuk mencapai sasaran 30 peratus ekuiti orang Melayu, meningkatkan tahap pendidikan (orang Melayu) kedudukan wanita.

Tetapi kini ia memerlukan kumpulan pendesak untuk melakukannya,” kata Muhamad di hadapan kira-kira 100 hadirin di majlis ceramah calon PKR Parlimen Batu, Tian Chua petang ini.

Muhammad berkata beliau tidak memahami logik meminta bantuan kumpulan pendesak sedangkan mendakwa mendapat sokongan daripada satu juta penjawat awam.

Jelajah Pakatan Harapan Rakyat Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim Ke Pulau Pinang

Posted: 27 Apr 2013 08:43 AM PDT

29 April 2013 (Isnin)
1) 5.00 ptg – Sepetang Bersama Anwar Ibrahim
Lokasi: Bangsal Rawai, Teluk Bahang, Balik Pulau

2) 7.15 mlm – Solat & Tazkirah Maghrib
Lokasi: Masjid Teluk Bahang, Balik Pulau

3) 8.30 mlm – Ceramah Pakatan Harapan Rakyat
Lokasi: Dewan Tinggi Sek Han Chiang, Georgetown

4) 10.00 mlm– Ceramah Perdana Pakatan Harapan Rakyat
Lokasi: Pasar Malam Ampang Jajar, Permatang Pauh

5) 11.15 mlm – Ceramah Perdana Pakatan Harapan Rakyat
Lokasi: Batu 4, Sg Bakau, Sungai Aceh, Nibong Tebal

Jelajah Pakatan Harapan Rakyat Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim Ke Parlimen Subang & Setiawangsa

Posted: 27 Apr 2013 02:45 AM PDT

28 April 2013 (Ahad)

1) 9.00 Mlm – Tapak Pasar Malam Paya Jaras
Sungai Buloh, Selangor (P- Subang)

2) 11.00 mlm – Jalan 26/56, Keramat Wangsa,
Kuala Lumpur (P – Setiawangsa)

KPRU: UMNO 2013 will potentially suffer the fate of MCA in 2008

Posted: 26 Apr 2013 11:22 PM PDT


Think tank Political Studies for Change (KPRU) predicts that UMNO will lose a lot of Parliamentary seats currently contested for 5th May 2013 just as MCA lost their seats on the 8th of May 2008.

KPRU made these predictions based on several factors. The first factor relates closely to the fall in Barisan Nasional (BN) President, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's popularity as opposed to the steady rise of Pakatan Rakyat (PAKATAN)'s leader, Dato' Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

A survey conducted by University Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (Umcedel) found that that Najib's qualification to hold the reign as a Prime Minister has fallen in which only 39 percent of respondents believes Najib deserves to be the Prime Minister as opposed to Anwar Ibrahim which gained as much as 43 percent on the same survey. This is a fall of 4 percent from the survey conducted in early 2013. This is in line with the increase of trust in PAKATAN to become the new government post 13th General Election (GE13).

Just as MCA lost its support significantly during the 2008 General Election, UMNO has lost its support significantly during 2013 General Election. And for that, BN's campaign strategy for an individual known as Najib is to portray him as a good leader even though he has no courage to face Anwar Ibrahim in a debate on policies and each other's manifestos while broadcasted live through the television.

The second factor is the failure of the 1Malaysia to raise the living standards of Malaysians. Najib announced that the poverty rate have fallen to a mere 1.7 percent. Yet, it is predicted that the real number of the poverty rate in Malaysia is actually 19 percent, taking into account the household income and the 2009 Basic Amenities Survey Report by the Malaysian Statistics Department. At the same time, the BN government had to spend as much as RM3 billion for the 1Malaysia People's Assistance (BR1M). Also to be noted is the 60 percent of public servants are financially incapable to purchase a house as well as the failure of the First Home Scheme that failed to assist the young adults to purchase their first homes.

The 1Malaysia brand is also seen as a failure of Najib's when approximately 250 1Malaysia People's Shop (KR1M) is opened all across the country to provide cheap items to Malaysians. Najib also plans to open another 57 KR1M shops across the country. This also means the Malaysians are financially incapacitated to purchase quality products at affordable prices as BN has to open more sundry shops that sell cheap items at lower prices at supermarkets such as Giant, Aeon and 99 Speedmart.

The third factor is the individual called Anwar Ibrahim whom has a better reputation that Najib in terms of the ability to administer this country's finances and new policies could bring about reforms in line with contemporary demands.

In 2007, Malaysia's debt was RM267 billion. In 2013, the debt have jumped to RM502 billion. During Anwar Ibrahim's tenure as Finance Minister, the country's deficit was actually turned into surpluses as with in 1998 before he was fired, Malaysia gained a 2.4 percent in surpluses. This surplus then became deficit right after Anwar was fired from his position. This as opposed to the deficit rate under Najib that shot up to 5.4 percent in 2010.

As for Malaysia's workforce, Najib also failed to raise the number of skilled employees in this country considering the fact that 80 percent of workforce in this country is only armed with a Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) certificate. Also to be noted is that Anwar Ibrahim has a better reputation in the eyes of the public. An example of this situation are the Indians having no interest whatsoever in the Anwar Ibrahim's personal life and views the sex scandal towards Anwar as a mere dirty political trick of UMNO's. Coming back to Najib's reputation, the government's decision under the guise of the Public Prosecutors' Office, the sex trial against Anwar actually stains Najib and his administration as a cheap and dirty political tactic.

Indians are not the only one to not care about Anwar Ibrahim's personal life. According to the survey conducted by Umcedel, 54 percent of Malay respondents concurred that Anwar deserves more to become a Prime Minister as opposed to Najib who only gained 28 percent in the same question.

The fourth factor that will influence the results of GE13 are Najib's weak policies and his inability to have a stand firm on his decisions. This follows the sample of 10 failed policies of Najib's administration as reported by KPRU[1] prior to this. Amongst the failed 10 policies of Najib include the Lynas controversy, the failed share swap between Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia to the failed Public Service New Remuneration Scheme (SBPA) after rejections made by the public sector.

The fifth factor is the scandals that continue to haunt Najib and his administration. Amongst the list of scandals are the Scorpene scandal, Altantuya, his excessive retaliation against the participants of the Bersih 2.0 and Bersih 3.0 demonstration, the National Feedlot Center (NFC) scandal, the failure of his administration to deal with the Lahad Datu intrusion swiftly and effectively, the sodomy trial scandal against Anwar Ibrahim, the crony scandal of the AES, the 1Malaysia crony scandal, the scandal involving the Chief Minister of Sarawak and the inability of Najib's administration to deal with it, his failure to act against the scandal involving a Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Nazri Aziz, the scandal involving Najib's wife Datin Paduka Seri Rosmah binti Mansor and the RM24 million ring, the scandal of Pertubuhan Pribumi Perkasa Malaysa, (Perkasa) protection and given approval for it racist tendencies, and the current failure of Najib's administration to address the increasingly prevalent and growing danger of political violence.

Following these scandals, the people get a picture that corruption that is supposedly being actively eradicated by Najib is actually being encouraged by Najib. It would seem that Najib would rather protect his cronies than to help the people to escape debt and poverty.

This situation can be more clearly demonstrated by the graph made from the survey conducted b the non-governmental organisation, Merdeka Center that maps the percentage of support towards Najib since he heralded the position as Prime Minister until 2013.


*Graph taken from Merdeka Center

Graph 1 shows that since April 2012, the people's confidence in Najib's performance as Prime Minister continuously decreases and this is recompensed with the slow but steady rise in dissatisfaction of the public towards his performance as Prime Minister. The satisfaction percentage began to fall in December 2011 in which 71 percent dropped continuously till January 2013 in which the percentage was 61 percent. Meanwhile, the dissatisfaction showed a slow and steady increase starting from May 2012 from 23 percent to 32 percent in January 2013.

GE13 sees Najib as being becoming increasingly irrelevant in the public's eye as according to the five factors mentioned. These five factors will undoubtedly influence the direction of Malaysians to either choose PAKATAN or BN as the new government for the next five years. As according to the above-mentioned information, the chance of PAKATAN to win the GE13 is clearer than BN.

Winds of change

Posted: 26 Apr 2013 11:19 PM PDT

The Sydney Morning Herald
By Mark Baker

It’s nearing midnight in Penang. In a park surrounded by decaying concrete apartment blocks, a swelling crowd waits patiently amid the sticky heat and pungent aromas of food stalls, traffic fumes and open drains. This is a poor Malay neighbourhood, but there are Chinese and Indians here, too, a representative cross-section of multiracial Malaysia.
Suddenly a slim figure in dark trousers and white shirt emerges from the darkness through a side gate and the crowd erupts in jubilation, clapping, cheering and sounding horns. A squad of armed security men guides him through the crush and up towards the fluorescent glare of a makeshift stage. “There have been attacks by provocateurs at other meetings. We have to be careful,” says a senior aide.

Anwar Ibrahim sits down briefly on the rough grass among the sweating youths in the front rows. He then mounts the stage, takes a microphone and steps back down to stand facing the crowd. “I will stay down here. This is better,” he says. The audience roars approval at the intimacy of his gesture. “The time has come for change,” he declares. “We can create a new environment. We can change the political landscape of this country. We can end the corruption, the cronyism, the wasteful spending. Enough! Enough! Enough!”

Friends in high places … Anwar (at left) with his then mentor Mahathir Mohamad (at right) in 1997. Photo: AFP
The day after this, thousands of people bussed in from across peninsular Malaysia will assemble in a stadium in Kuala Lumpur to hear a formal speech by Prime Minister Najib Razak, head of the Barisan Nasional coalition government. They will all have party-issued gift bags and party-issued “We Love BN” banners, and they will all applaud on cue for national TV. But tonight Anwar Ibrahim, leader of Pakatan Rakyat, Malaysia’s tri-party opposition alliance, is giving a one-man show and no one has been paid to come.
He has no prepared speech. He speaks with passion from a script lived hard over long years of imprisonment and political exile. But there is no bitterness to it. Anwar jokes and teases the crowd and they lap it up.
He quotes Lincoln on the impossibility of fooling all of the people all of the time. He sings unaccompanied a version of a popular Malay song about trees shaking in the wind. But this time it’s Najib who is shaking – to winds of change being fanned by Anwar Ibrahim. The assembled crowd reverberates with laughter.

Black and blue … the black eye inflicted on Anwar in custody by police chief Rahim Noor in 1998.
The journey to this moment began 15 years ago when Anwar, then Malaysia’s deputy prime minister, anointed successor to Mahathir Mohamad, and one of the rising stars of Asian politics, was abruptly sacked by his mentor and accused of corruption and sex offences. Then came prison, two trials, a further ban from political office and unending vilification by former friends and colleagues. That journey will reach a conclusion on Sunday, May 5, when Malaysians vote in the most closely fought election since the country gained independence from Britain in 1957.
In January last year, Anwar returned to the austere chambers of Kuala Lumpur’s High Court for the conclusion of his second trial on charges of sexual misconduct. He arrived to find the court registrar and her deputy in tears. “We will pray for you, sir,” they whispered to him.
The women, like many of Anwar’s supporters, were convinced the charges were politically motivated and that his conviction was inevitable. The accusation that Anwar had had sex with a former male aide was raised just months after the opposition scored big gains in the 2008 national elections and as Anwar prepared to return to parliament in a by-election.

Flying the flag … Malaysian PM Najib Razak in 2012. Photo: AFP
But the verdict, after an exhausting two-year trial, was to shock everyone. Justice Mohamad Zabidin Mohd Diah stepped into the court and spoke for just 90 seconds. He declared DNA evidence submitted by the prosecution to be unreliable and acquitted Anwar. “Thank God it didn’t succeed,” says Anwar. “That would have been the finish for me. Everyone was convinced I would be convicted and I still don’t know why I wasn’t. Maybe it was the judge’s conscience in the end.”
There was no such judicial introspection a decade earlier, when Anwar was convicted and jailed on charges that he and his supporters insist were fabricated.
The relationship between Malaysia’s longest-serving prime minister and his deputy fell apart in the aftermath of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. As finance minister, Anwar had committed to austerity measures suggested by the Inter-national Monetary Fund to rescue the battered Malaysian economy. But Mahathir claimed the cause of the problem was a conspiracy by global financiers and backed a slew of lavish bailouts for failing Malaysian corporations, including his son’s shipping company. Anwar also upset Mahathir by moving to tackle widespread corruption in the government and embracing political and social reform, as many Malaysians cheered the unrest that brought down the Suharto regime in Indonesia in May 1998.

Pucker up … young boys kiss the hand of Anwar in his Penang electorate. Photo: Vincent Thian
Mahathir abruptly sacked Anwar that September. Three days later, police used tear gas and water cannon to break up the biggest protest rally in Malaysia’s history as more than 50,000 people took to the streets of Kuala Lumpur in support of Anwar. Malaysia’s reformasi movement was born.
That night, Anwar was arrested and detained. A week later he appeared in court with a black eye, the result of a beating in prison by police inspector general Rahim Noor (Rahim was later jailed for two months for the assault). He was eventually sentenced to six years’ jail for abusing his ministerial position by directing police special branch officers to pressure witnesses to retract allegations that he’d had sex with his family’s driver and an illicit affair with the wife of his private secretary (both homosexuality and adultery remain criminal offences in Malaysia). A subsequent trial saw him also convicted for the sexual offences themselves.
The verdicts were later upheld on appeal to the Federal Court. This was despite evidence that Anwar’s driver had three times denied having sex with his employer and compelling evidence that police had threatened witnesses and manipulated evidence. The appeal judges also ignored an admission by police special branch chief Mohamad Said bin Awang that in 1997 – a year before Anwar’s sacking – he had sent a report to Mahathir dismissing the allegations of sexual misconduct as a whispered smear campaign.
Anwar says his time in prison and subsequent years in which he was barred from political office have strengthened his resolve to see fundamental change in Malaysia. He wants to free Malaysia’s government-controlled mainstream media. He wants to restore the independence of the judiciary and the bureaucracy and to make the security services accountable. And he wants to end a culture of endemic corruption and cronyism.
“The last 15 years have certainly changed me,” he says. “You talk about freedom or reform. It is not the same when you actually understand what it is to be denied your freedom. My passion for justice is far more pronounced now. In prison I saw so many guys who were beaten up, black eyes, but they were never reported in the media. I was fortunate that the whole world saw what happened to me. I knew, when I saw it happening to so many others, that I can’t allow this to continue.”
Anwar, now 65, is not bitter that he has had to wait so long for a chance to claim the leadership position that he was poised to inherit when Mahathir retired in 2003. Unlike many of his supporters, he says he has forgiven Mahathir for orchestrating his political downfall. This is despite the continuing attacks on his character from the elder statesman and his successors in the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO), the dominant party in the ruling coalition.
“Mahathir, in a sober moment, did say once [to the UMNO leaders], after the second trial, ‘Why do you use the same script as me? The way it was done, the sodomy charge, you should not use the same script twice.’ But I don’t want this to be seen as a sort of Anwar-Mahathir battle. It’s not personal. To me, he is obsolete, except to defend the business interests of his children. What else does he do? Does he talk about reform? He is just defending his own policies; he wants to maintain his legacy. But beyond that, it’s just about his family.”
He says the 87-year-old Mahathir only retains influence within UMNO because of its weak leadership. “They feared him when he was in power but that is no longer so.”
Anwar Ibrahim may have rising popular support on his side in his quest to end UMNO’s 56-year reign, but everything else seems stacked heavily against him: a ruling elite that will spend whatever it takes to preserve its power and perks; a government that is in pork-barrelling overdrive to shore up its position; an electoral system corrupted by the mother of all gerrymanders.
All of Malaysia’s mainstream media is either owned or controlled by the government. The judiciary is subservient to the executive. The bureaucracy – and particularly the police and internal security agencies – is deeply politicised. Key figures in the government and their business backers have built fortunes through patronage and corrupt deals. Malaysia has been ranked the third-worst country in the world for illicit capital outflows, with about $25 billion a year being illegally siphoned out of the country.
The government has been shameless in seeking to buy electoral favour. More than 20 per cent of the country’s budget is spent on consumer subsidies, including about $8 billion a year on keeping petrol prices down. Twice in recent months the government has given 500 ringgit ($155) cash handouts to lower-income families and it has promised the money will keep rolling after the election. The day before he dissolved parliament, Najib announced a 1000 ringgit ($310) bonus for every employee of the state oil company, Petronas – and told them they should repay the generosity by voting the government back in.
Malaysia has an electoral gerrymander that would have drawn a blush to the cheeks of Joh Bjelke-Petersen, who ruled Queensland long after his party had ceased attracting anything like a majority of votes. At the 2008 national election, Anwar’s Pakatan Rakyat coalition won more than 50 per cent of the popular vote but took just 82 seats in the 222-seat parliament. The government held the rural seat of Putrajaya with just 6008 votes while the opposition needed 112,000 votes to take the urban seat of Kapar, in Selangor state.
Analysis by Bersih, the Malaysian corruption and election watchdog, has found that the gerry-mander means it is feasible for the ruling coalition to achieve a simple majority in parliament with as little as 18.9 per cent of the popular vote.
Bersih chair and former Malaysian Bar Council president Ambiga Sreenevasan says the electoral rolls have been corrupted, with hundreds of thousands of migrants from Indonesia and the Philippines being given identity cards to bolster support for UMNO. “We have real concerns and the failure of the Electoral Commission to do anything about it is deeply worrying,” she says.
Despite these obstacles, the 2008 national elections were a watershed that saw the UMNO-led coalition lose its two-thirds parliamentary majority for the first time since independence. The opposition parties, forever the fringe dwellers of Malaysian politics, proved themselves a viable alternative, also winning control of five state governments. The result has convinced Anwar he can win this time. Private government polling is said to point to a potential swing of 7 per cent to the opposition, and political analysts believe that if the opposition gets more than 100 seats they will be able to horse-trade with minor parties to secure a parliamentary majority.
“All we need is a few percentage points more,” says Anwar. ”Was there gerrymandering in 2008? Yes. Was there a fraudulent process then? Yes. Were the entire resources of government used? Yes. Will they use more money this time? Yes, because we have done more to criticise and expose the cronyism and the billionaires. They are being named. But I still believe we can do it.”
He expects a tough and dirty campaign but is encouraged by Najib’s comment to journalists after dissolving parliament that the government will ensure a smooth transition if it loses. “For the first time we have a prime minister saying that he will surrender power peacefully in the event that the opposition wins the election. This means a lot because what he said goes down to the security apparatus, the police and the army. It should influence the way they behave.”
Anwar believes that message will be reinforced by the fact that the opposition has won the backing of several top-ranking military officers, including former army chief Hashim Hussein, who will be one of its candidates in Johor. He says the government’s decision to stretch its five-year term to the limit proves it is worried. “They are not confident,” says Anwar. “Although technically it is legal, morally it is unacceptable. They are very nervous.”
The opposition’s prospects have also been boosted by a surge in the number of younger Malaysians who will vote for the first time in this election. More than three million of them have been added to the electoral rolls, a 25 per cent increase in the voting population since 2008. The explosion in social media and independent news websites means younger Malaysians are better informed than their parents’ generation. “The opposition has the upper hand in the social-media wars and it is likely to be a big factor in this election,” says Steven Gan, editor-in-chief of Malaysiakini, the country’s most popular news website and a tough critic of the government.
At Friday prayers in the village of Sama Gagah, in the heart of his Penang electorate, Anwar Ibrahim holds court in a small, crowded mosque. He wears flowing Malay robes and a black felt songkok. The men embrace him and the young boys pay obeisance, kissing his hand before touching it with their foreheads.
His address is a deft blend of politics and piety. “As good Muslims we cannot be corrupt. We must purify our hearts and souls to do good to people. Even though we are in an election campaign we must respect others. We have to follow the path of God.”
He talks of his time in prison. “That was God’s test of me. And I thank God for that time to obtain virtue and knowledge. It gave me time to study the Koran. Although people slandered me and falsely accused me, I did not retaliate. I had faith in God and I came through it.”
Critics fear an Anwar government would steer Malaysia down a more radical Islamic path. His coalition includes the fundamentalist Parti Islam Se-Malaysia (PAS) and the opposition platform would allow a greater role for shariah law in Malay Muslim communities.
Anwar began his political career as a firebrand student activist, co-founding the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia in 1971 and serving as president of the National Union of Malaysian Muslim Students. His first taste of prison came in 1974, when he was jailed for 20 months under the Internal Security Act – which allowed detention without trial – for leading student protests against rural poverty. Anwar retains the respect of many conservative Malay Muslims and their leaders. “I am very Malay, very Muslim in my views,” he says. But he is as much a political secularist and pragmatic internationalist as he is a man of faith.
He attended the prestigious, anglophile Malay College Kuala Kangsar in Perak – known as “the Eton of the East” – and is still fond of Shakespeare and English literature. Western leaders who became friends during his time as finance minister admired him as an intellectual, someone willing and able to straddle the divide between East and West. Anwar has also championed the role of women in Malaysian politics and the opposition is fielding a much stronger team of female candidates in this election than the government. His wife, Dr Wan Azizah, ran his party and held his seat in parliament during his political exile, and his daughter, Nurul Izzah Anwar, is an impressive young MP tipped as a future leader.
If he wins next Sunday, Anwar is confident effective democracy and clean government can be restored in Malaysia without major upheaval. He says there is no comparison with the challenges faced in countries such as Tunisia, which he visited soon after its liberation in the Arab Spring.
“We still have a functioning civil service, even though it is getting more decadent compared with the level of professionalism in the past. We have an army that is not too political and we have police, some of whom can remain quite professional. The economy has growth of about 5 per cent, which could be better but is okay.”
Anwar promises to abolish all controls on the media and to end the use of the courts to hound political critics and rivals. Harder will be the task of tackling corruption and dealing with those “who have stolen billions”. He says that while serious crimes must be dealt with, he doesn’t want retributive justice and is prepared to forgive lesser transgressions.
Beyond the glitter of the Petronas twin towers in Kuala Lumpur and the brash modernity of the country’s federal administrative centre, Putrajaya, Malaysia remains a country with vast disparities between rich and poor. Many Malays in rural areas and members of the minority Indian community live below the local poverty line of 700 ringgit ($220) a month. Anwar seethes at the injustice. “There is still abject poverty,” he says. “Infant mortality among the Penan people in Sarawak is among the highest in Asia and this in our richest state, where the leaders plunder billions annually.”
As we drive towards another night rally, Anwar winds down his window to greet and touch hands with the cheering supporters lining the road. “I am blessed that people continue to give me their support and hope. Their affection keeps me going. The rural areas have never been our stronghold but now we are seeing signs of growing support. Some are influenced by the incessant propaganda in the media and by all the cash handouts, but many are fed up with it all.”
Anwar knows the obstacles to victory, but believes they can and will be overcome. “I mean, how much can they cheat? I genuinely believe I can do it. I have the wisdom, the hindsight of prison, the experience of government that helps ensure I can lead this country and, damn it, I want to prove it.”
With that, he steps from the car and is consumed by another sea of jubilant supporters, for whom an Anwar victory would mean as much as it does for the man who has travelled so far and so hard to reach this moment.

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