Thursday, February 6, 2014

'National reconciliation not about unity gov't'

8:11AM Feb 6, 2014--Malaysiakini

'National reconciliation not about unity gov't'

INTERVIEW The repeated urgings from Pakatan Rakyat for a bi-partisan dialogue to discuss national issues confronting the country is not a precursor to a unity government, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim insists.

“Otherwise, I would not have gone to the (Selangor) state and launched this new wave of battle with zeal,” Anwar said, referring to the PKR-triggered Kajang by-election that is expected to put him in the Selangor legislative assembly.

“The parameters (of the dialogue) are very clear - constitutional guarantees and giving confidence to the rakyat... based on these guarantees.

“(It will be) on issues of race, religion, economy, crime and endemic corruption - nothing beyond that,” he told Malaysiakini.

According to Anwar, this has been the end goal ever since Pakatan’s offer to BN for national reconciliation that was first made last August.

Confirming speculation circulating within political circles, he said PKR secretary-general Saifuddin Nasution had acted as emissary to convey the message at a private meeting with BN representative and Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

“Yes, there was a meeting between Saifuddin and Zahid, but only to express this (the contentious issues)... because (the BN) asked if we are serious or this is just a political gimmick,” Anwar said.

He said the Pakatan leadership council meetings reviewed its offer of national reconciliation and that he has had “personal discussions at length” with DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, party’s secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and deputy president Mohamad Sabu.

The Pakatan leadership council took the stand to continue to push for dialogue despite “knowing that the BN will just dismiss it and there will be (Umno) factions against it”.

According to Pakatan leaders, this will help the two political rivals steer away from the mine­fields of race and religion.

Ball is in Najib’s court

The most positive response so far has been from Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who said last week that he was open to the bi-partisan dialogue.

However, the Pakatan leadership is still waiting for a more concrete outcome.

“They say we can continue to talk, but then (they) hammer me every night on national television,” Anwar lamented.

He added that Pakatan was also aware that Najib could use Pakatan's move as leverage to fend off factions within Umno which are out to undermine his leadership in the ruling party.

“Meanwhile, we are not going to stop. We'll continue our work, too,” said the opposition leader.

Anwar had raised the matter again last month, warning that interracial and inter-religious tensions in Malaysia have reached levels comparable to just before the May 13, 1969 race riots.

Last week, Najib said that the government is “open” to talking with the opposition on national consensus.

However, Najib said, unlike “vague ideas” from Pakatan, the government's reconciliation efforts would go on “four thrusts” - social, political, government and international relations.

Yesterday PAS' Pasir Mas MP Nik Abduh Nik Abdul Aziz urged Anwar to clarify the call for consensus.

Nik Abduh, who is the son of PAS spiritual leader Nik Aziz Nik Mat, expressed worry that the call would turn out to be another "weird and uneasy" political move that could confuse the public, such as the ‘Kajang Move’, if the talks do not soon gain traction and focus.

THE ANWAR INTERVIEW

Part 1: 'There was never an Azmin-Khalid deal'

Part 2: Anwar: What I would do as Selangor MB

Part 3: 'Smut and sodomy, what have I not seen?'

Part 4: 'National reconciliation not about unity gov't'



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