PKR president Anwar Ibrahim urges party to move on, not lose focus on reforms

PRK president Anwar Ibrahim speaking to members of the media on Feb 29, 2020. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR - Parti Keadilan Rakyat president Anwar Ibrahim has urged the Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition to move past Malaysia's political turmoil and not lose focus on institutional reforms and programmes for the people.

Datuk Seri Anwar was responding to a question on whether he felt robbed of becoming the next prime minister, after former ally Muhyiddin Yassin was appointed to the post with backing from PH rivals Umno and Parti Islam SeMalaysia (PAS).

"I mean there was clear treachery, but as I've said, we have to move on," the Malay Mail website quoted him as telling reporters at the PKR headquarters on Sunday (March 1) afternoon.

"I was magnanimous enough to accept that we need to form this understanding with Tun Dr Mahathir which we did, only to help secure and save this nation from those who are prone to corruption and abuses of power," he said.

He was referring to former prime minister Mahathir Mohamad, with whom he had an agreement to take over the premiership.

"(This is) so that we do not lose focus on institutional reforms and programmes for the people," he added.

The turmoil was sparked by members of Tan Sri Muhyiddin's Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) party and those of Mr Anwar's PKR party - led by deputy president Azmin Ali - joining forces with the Malay-dominated Umno and PAS in a bid to thwart Mr Anwar from eventually taking over from Dr Mahathir.

The handover had been agreed between Dr Mahathir and Mr Anwar prior to the PH's historic 2018 general election victory that brought down the Umno-led Barisan Nasional government.

Dr Mahathir, who had disagreed with Mr Muhyiddin's plan for Bersatu to work with Umno en bloc rather than with individual defectors, resigned from his post last Monday, leading to PH's collapse. A race for the premiership ensued, concluding with Mr Muhyiddin's appointment by the King on Saturday.

Mr Anwar said the people's concerns needed to be put back at the forefront, and suggested that those in power did not have the people's interests at heart.

"What is worse is issues of the rakyat, the concerns of the people; poverty, inequality, institution reforms is not on their agenda. Because the only arrangement is to secure power, even with those who are blatantly corrupt and have been known internationally for abuses of power when they were in office," he was quoted saying.

Mr Anwar's comments came after Mr Muhyiddin, the president of former PH member Bersatu, was sworn in on Sunday as Malaysia's prime minister even as the PH coalition insisted it still had the backing of the majority of members in the 222-strong Parliament.

Mr Anwar on Sunday also said that PKR remained intact despite the exit of 11 MPs, including Datuk Seri Azmin, The Star reported.

Mr Anwar said some of Mr Azmin's supporters have said they felt betrayed by his actions. "They expressed remorse, as they were not privy to some of the back door deals undertaken by some party leaders," he said.

"Nobody told them about these lies and conspiracy to topple the government and have a backdoor arrangement," he added.

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