KUALA LUMPUR, June 8 — Adding fuel to public resentment over the latest round of petrol price hike, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today promised to bring down prices once the Pakatan Rakyat assume control of the central government.
How strong is this commitment? Well, the man dubbed Malaysia’s prime minister-in-waiting said “I will resign immediately” if a Pakatan government is unable to roll back the subsidy cuts which have produced a steep 78 sen rise for unleaded petrol to RM2.78 a litre and diesel by RM1 to RM2.58 a litre.
Anwar, also regarded as the de facto Opposition leader, has capitalised on a Malaysian ground swell of displeasure, speaking out against the fuel hike in regional and international media. He returned today from Manila where he was lionised by Philippine TV broadcasters and newspapers.
In a press conference at Parti Keadilan Rakyat head office in Petaling Jaya, he announced new members – former Abim president Dr Mohd Noor Manuti and Felicia Lim, who had served in the MCA exco – for the party supreme council. PKR has also been strengthened by 50,000 new members.
Anwar stuck to his guns that there will be the required number of at least 30 MPs who will cross over giving Pakatan Rakyat a simple majority in Parliament to topple the ruling Barisan Nasional government soon. He also confidently re-stated that the defections will take place by Sept 16 or Malaysia Day.
For the moment, he explained that secrecy was necessary because the system is still “quite repressive” in the country and hence, divulging details of the MPs ready to switch camps might compromise their security. He said he has been meeting some of them outside the country.
The former deputy prime minister also said he can now openly participate in Malaysian politics – the registrar of society has given him a letter to that effect. This means Anwar’s ban from politics expired on April 14 this year and he added that he doesn’t require the attorney-general’s approval to stand in a by-election.