Watch Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s speech at Kelana Jaya Stadium last night :
PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim has said that he is not contemplating retirement from politics yet, as he believes that his work “is not done” in the Malaysian political arena after Pakatan Rakyat’s defeat in yesterday’s disputed polls.
Anwar (right), who has said that he does not accept the Election Commission’s (EC) results for the general election, where Pakatan managed to win 89 parliamentary seats but fell short of forming the federal government, said that he will need to “settle all the issues” regarding the polls results before evaluating his options.
He had previously said that he would consider retiring to a teaching job in Europe if Pakatan fails to attain power this elections.
“These elections have been stolen from us by Umno-BN. As far as I am concerned, we have won this election,” he told Malaysiakini during an interview at PKR headquarters today.
Anwar said that he and the other coalition party leaders from DAP and PAS will decide on the next course of action, which will probably involve petitions to the court to re-look into the results of some disputed seats.
“I have said that the issue of legitimacy (of the elections) is in question. There is evidence of clear fraud. There are constituencies where we have a case. We will not accept the results of these seats- about 30 to 40 of them. We are working on it,” said Anwar.
Dressed in a dappled black shirt and a black coat, Anwar appeared mellow and slightly downbeat, and even admitted that he and his family did enjoy his time teaching in the US.
“When I was teaching in the US, those were the best times for me, Wan Azizah (Wan Ismail, his wife) and the family,” he said.
Anwar noted that he was confident that he was robbed of winning this election because of the groundswell momentum that he had observed during the last leg of his campaign.
“I know about the sentiments, because I have been campaigning my whole life,” he said, rolling his eyes.
“It saddens me (the result). I can still visualise the frustration that the people had during my ceramah nationwide,” he added.
During the closing days of campaigning, Pakatan ceramahs nationwide drew in bumper crowds ranging from 20,000 to 100,000 participants almost on a daily basis.
Postal votes don’t reflect groundswell sentiments
He also said that apart from allegations about phantom and foreign voters along with reports of controversial final counts which favoured BN, early votes and postal votes did not reflect the groundswell sentiments.
“Early votes and postal votes – are you telling me that Pakatan only got 12 percent of these votes? Are the army and police cut off from the rest of Malaysia? They don’t have relatives that they communicate with?” he asked.
He, however, appeared to be slightly sceptical about getting any form of response from the EC regarding the alleged discrepancies in the polling process.
“Of course they (EC) never took us seriously. They are unrepentant and are in a state of denial. They must be stupid to say that the indelible ink can’t be washed off when thousands of people complained about the same thing,” he further added.
“But we have not tried yet, we will give them a chance to respond to us,” he added, before saying that his party “cannot accept the process”.
“It has become so pervasive, the extent of fraud, that this is maybe the worst-conducted elections we ever had.”
Anwar, 65, was stripped of his deputy prime minister’s post and subsequently jailed for corruption in 1998 in a highly publicised rift with then-premier Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
He spent six years in jail prior to his release in 2004, and also formed Parti Keadilan Nasional, which later became Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR)
This election was the first time he had led an opposition pact heading into the polls- his wife Wan Azizah was still the opposition leader during the 2008 elections because Anwar was still banned from contesting.
Going by results alone, this is still the best ever performance for an opposition pact in the country’s history – with 89 parliamentary seats obtained.
Pakatan have won seven more seats than the 82 it won in 2008, and also won the popular vote nationwide at about 51 percent.
However, Anwar might be pushing 70 by the time Malaysia heads into the 14th general election, and it remains to be seen if a man who has has made an unlikely comeback in politics would be able to muster one last push to unseat BN, and assume the prime minister’s post.
Malaysia’s opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, has alleged that the ruling party’s vote could be bolstered with phantom ballots, in this weekend’s election.
TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Polling predicts this weekend’s election in Malaysia will be the closest in the country’s history.
Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional coalition has ruled for 57 years, but at the last election in 2008, the party lost its two-thirds parliamentary majority.
Now the country is waiting to see whether the Opposition, led by controversial figure Anwar Ibrahim, can force a change in government.
South-East Asia correspondent Zoe Daniel reports from Kuala Lumpur.
ZOE DANIEL, REPORTER: It’s still a long shot. Malaysia’s Pakatan Rakyat coalition must win about 35 more seats than it currently holds to take government in its own right. A big challenge in a country where people have been voting only one way for almost six decades.
The Opposition is made up of three multi-racial parties, one of which is predominantly Chinese, one predominantly Islamic and is led by the sometimes controversial former ruling party deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim, who spent six years in jail after allegations of corruption and sexual misconduct, now widely interpreted as a Government smear campaign.
The ruling party says the Opposition is fractious and unreliable and that its election could lead to instability in multi-racial Malaysia.
The Opposition responds by saying that the Government has been relying on the politics of fear and using cash handouts, mass media dominance and fraudulent stacking of voting roles to win Sunday’s poll.
We spoke with Mr Anwar at his office in Kuala Lumpur.
Mr Anwar, welcome. Are you going to win this election?
ANWAR IBRAHIM, OPPOSITION LEADER: Well, initially I said I was cautiously optimistic, but now I think with the upsurge of – in growing support, I’m very confident that we’ll make it.
ZOE DANIEL: You have to win 35 seats to get that majority. That’s a big ask, isn’t it?
ANWAR IBRAHIM: Not really because we are able to consolidate our position in the five states, including Kuala Lumpur, six states. So we have been enormously successful in our penetration into the rural heartland, particularly around Jahor, Saba and Sarawak, where we failed miserably in 2008.
ZOE DANIEL: What will prevent you from winning?
ANWAR IBRAHIM: Massive fraud. We have presented our case based on the March electoral roll where we find even postal voters who are actually designated there as Bangladeshis or Pakistanis or Indonesians, but they are supposed to serve the Army or the police. So clearly, there’s a fraud there. (Inaudible), more than 28,000 designated as Filipinos and Indonesians who are voters based in Saba but voting in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor and there has not been a satisfactory response from the Election Commission.
ZOE DANIEL: Are you disappointed that Australia didn’t send election observers?
ANWAR IBRAHIM: Well it’s quite baffling to my mind because the initial response from Australia is that there’s no interference in domestic affairs. We are not asking them to support any party. We are asking them to remain consistent with Australian foreign policy position in support of freedom and democracy. Why do you make so much noise about Iraq or Afghanistan or Myanmar and mute it with regard to Malaysia?
ZOE DANIEL: If you win, who will be Prime Minister next week?
ANWAR IBRAHIM: Well of course, as we say, we are party by consensus. There is talk that I may be able to – I mean, given the chance, or otherwise we’ll have to re-look at it if there is any other possibility or other candidate.
ZOE DANIEL: Is that a good answer though, because wouldn’t it be better if the population at least had certainty on that issue?
ANWAR IBRAHIM: Well, generally to the masses and all my campaign trips, Keadilan or DEP or Islamic Party leaders, they all – they always introduce me or invite me as the next Prime Minister, but I would leave it at that.
ZOE DANIEL: Thanks for your time.
ANWAR IBRAHIM: Thank you.