The Sun (Used by permission)
by Himanshu Bhatt
SEBERANG PERAI (Aug 15, 2008) : Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has dismissed his BN opponent Datuk Arif Shah Omar Shah’s proficiency in Chinese as an important determinant in wooing multi-racial voters in the Permatang Pauh parliamentary by-election.
“I don’t think that is the issue. The issue now is policy. It is about who can articulate the vision of the country, and represent the concerns of all Malaysians – Malays, Chinese and Indians,” the PKR de facto leader said today (Aug 15) ahead of nomination on Saturday.
“You can speak Mandarin. But you represent Umno. There is a big difference there.”
“You represent Umno when Umno is going on about a very racist agenda,” he added.
Anwar said this while visiting the DAP’s 24-hour Permatang Pauh election operations centre in Taman Arowana in Seberang Jaya here. Also present was DAP secretary-general and chief minister Lim Guan Eng.
Anwar also lamented that a minor issue like asking for a mere ten percent quota for international and non-Bumiputra students in UiTM, which would benefit the students at the university, had been blown out of proportion by Umno members.
He explained that Selangor mentri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim, who is also PKR secretary-general, had only suggested that one course like the MBA be opened to international and non-Bumiputra students.
“Look at what the reaction is like – so strong, racist Malay line,” he said. “This is a very dangerous trend in this country after 51 years of independence.”
He also criticised Umno for organising a function in Penang themed on “saving” the state’s Malays and blaming Pakatan Rakyat (PR).
“As if we are here bullying or killing the Malays of Penang,” Anwar said. He stressed that the PR’s focus was to ensure the welfare of all races.
“Every time Umno and the ruling party are under threat, they resort to the race issue,” he said..
He added that his team of supporters would have to work doubly hard to explain to Malay voters how the mainstream media is being manipulated by the ruling federal government to play up the race issue and denigrate the PR.
He also brushed aside recent reports that there are cracks among different parties in PR, and pointed out that both PAS president Datuk Seri Hadi Awang and DAP chairman Lim Kit Siang will escort him to the nomination centre tomorrow.
He said opinions by PAS members who expressed the desire that Hadi should be the prime minister in a PR federal government were not a problem as these were views expressed freely by members.
“I don’t take this as a problem. We will just discuss issues like this within the PR.”
He called the news reports on the matter the work of Umno-controlled media organisations which wanted to present a picture of PR falling apart.
Lets put a candidate who posseses the spirit of BANGSA MALAYSIA rather than a racist party candidate who is supposedly fluent in Hokkien and Mandarin.
For crying out loud, this is not a Permatang Pauh idol competition where who knows the most languages win the prize, this is the future of democracy, justice, equality and transparency that we are talking about.
Frankly I don’t give a damn if Arif can speak Chinese, Tamil, Kadazan or Suwahili. I AM ROOTING FOR ANWAR TO BRING THE CHANGE FOR MALAYSIA.