Monday, June 9, 2008

Anwar tells of Manila meeting

The Star : Monday June 9, 2008

PETALING JAYA: PKR adviser Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim admitted that he met some Barisan Nasional leaders in Manila recently and claimed that he was confident of meeting the Sept 16 deadline for the coalition’s MPs to cross over to Pakatan Rakyat.

“I was invited to Manila to give a talk and some of them met me there,” he said but declined to reveal how many Barisan MPs were involved “for the sake of their security”. “Now it is more attractive after the fuel price hike.”

Anwar said that “under normal circumstances we do not agree with crossovers” but because the Barisan was in a constant state of denial and the economy was mismanaged, Pakatan Rakyat had no choice but to lead the country. Anwar said he could contest in a by-election anytime as he had received the green light from the Registrar of Societies.

“I am still gauging the support of the different constituencies and have not decided where to contest. “Some MPs told me they were willing to surrender their seats to let me contest,” he told reporters yesterday after PKR’s supreme council meeting at the party’s new headquarters in Tropicana here.

On the price of fuel, he said Pakatan Rakyat would reduce the price of oil when it formed the Government.

“In the light of increasing oil price and economic mismanagement there has been an increasing interest in PKR.”

Yesterday, eight leaders from MIC, MCA and Umno joined PKR. Anwar said PKR had about 300,000 members and that 50,000 new members joined last month. He said the Government had given incentives to richer organisations and withdrawn subsidies for the lower-income people.

“It is mind-boggling to increase the fuel price and burden the people and force them into poverty-stricken conditions.”

He added that Malaysia was an oil exporting country and Petronas was not transparent in declaring its accounts.

“Billions of ringgit have come in the form of oil revenue and we still do not know how this money is spent. “Petronas must be accountable and transparent in Parliament as the oil is a national reserve and its revenue must be shared by the rakyat. Increasing the price of oil is not the proper thing to do,” said Anwar.

At a meeting later last night, he suggested the five Pakatan Rakyat-led states – Penang, Kedah, Perak, Selangor and Kelantan – begin an austerity drive to help alleviate the people’s suffering due to the latest hike in fuel price. Anwar said the states concerned should strive to reduce administrative costs to ensure that allocations for development and the people’s benefit would not be affected.

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