SEREMBAN - The Malaysian government needs to stop the people from idolising "robbers", prime minister-in-waiting Anwar Ibrahim said in a swipe at corruption-tainted former premier Najib Razak.
Datuk Seri Anwar said the ruling Pakatan Harapan coalition's challenge was not only in governing the nation efficiently but also in raising public awareness on corruption and the financial damages left by the previous administration, reported The Star.
"Our challenge is the people who have not taken on the spirit of reform, of hating injustice," Mr Anwar was quoted as saying at the 20th anniversary celebration of his Parti Keadilan Rakyat (People's Justice Party) on Thursday (April 4).
"We must go down to the ground to tell the rakyat (people) about the lies. Billions of ringgit were taken, billions were lost," he said.
"We must make the people realise that they should not idolise people who have robbed our nation."
Mr Anwar was referring to Najib's newfound popularity as "Bossku", or "my Boss", despite going on trial for multiple graft charges involving millions of ringgit siphoned from state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) and its subsidiary.
The phenomenon originated with a social media campaign featuring Najib on a motorcycle with the slogan "Malu Apa Bossku" (Why does my boss have to be ashamed?"). The tagline resonated well with poorer young Malay voters and helped Najib's Barisan Nasional win the Cameron Highlands by-election in January.
Said Mr Anwar on Thursday: "Now we don't see reformists lining up outside the court anymore. We see supporters of Bossku instead.
"We are not slandering, inciting or taking revenge but we act based on facts so that those responsible in robbing the country's riches will answer for what they have done. This is the rule of law."