Public Will Revolt If Forced Into Corner Says Anwar

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — Citizens will take to the streets in dissatisfaction if the government frustrates the expression of their will in elections, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said. During an interview with UK news outlet Channel 4, the opposition leader said that while Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was choosing the peaceful route in its protests, Putrajaya may find itself facing a scenario similar to the “Arab Spring” if it continues prevent the populace from exercising the power of the ballot.

“We (the opposition) have opted for a peaceful sort of protests — change—because we have seen in many countries the cost to human lives and the countries is too severe. “But I don’t think the government should underestimate the public anger, and I think given a position where there is no option, no recourse to the judicial process, no recourse to the elections, then people have the only option left: To go to the streets,” Anwar told Channel 4’s Jonathan Rugman. Earlier, Anwar evaded the interviewer’s question on whether he has given up on his ambitions to one day become prime minister of Malaysia, given his latest sodomy conviction on March 7. Anwar instead pointed to PR’s popular vote victory in Election 2013 despite what he alleged to be rampant electoral fraud.

He again dodged Rugman’s subsequent question on whether BN’s victory despite losing the popular vote meant that PR could not hope to take Putrajaya using the ballot box. “Do you accept an authoritarian system that manipulates and uses institutions of government including the judiciary to mount this offensive against the opposition? I don’t,” Anwar volunteered. Anwar was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to five years’ jail on March 7 after the Court of Appeal overturned his previous acquittal of the charge. Days later, DAP’s Karpal Singh was convicted of sedition for saying the Perak Ruler’s decision to replace the state mentri besar during the 2009 constitutional crisis could be questioned, also following an earlier acquittal.

On Tuesday, Anwar told Parliament that it must intervene to stop the BN government from allegedly conspiring with judges in the handling of court cases. He warned of what he described as a “rising tide of judicial impropriety” and said if left unchecked, PR’s fight for democracy and judicial independence would have been for naught. In Election 2013, BN retained control over the government despite losing the popular vote for the first time since it replaced the Alliance Party after the 1969 general election. PR then held up its popular vote victory and coupled this to what it alleged was widespread electoral fraud it claimed was perpetrated to keep BN in power.

It later held a series of nationwide rallies dubbed “Black 505” gatherings to protest the claimed cheating. Anwar had pledged prior to the general election that he would give up on politics if he failed to lead the PR pact to victory, but later refused to step down, claiming that the opposition parties had “won” Election 2013. The so-called “Arab Spring” revolutions saw the fall of several authoritarian regimes in the Middle East, including Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and others. Initially hailed as a wave of democracy and freedom, some countries such as Egypt later regressed into even more totalitarian and fundamentalist rule.

– Article By: The Malay Mail Online

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