ROMPIN, April 27 – An UMNO vice-president said there is no need to be flexible with imprisoned opposition chief Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to enable him to vote in the Permatang Pauh Parliamentary by-election. Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, who is also Rural and Regional Development (KKLW) Minister, said Anwar had to obey the law as the court had decided that he undergo a prison term.
“It is going to be tough if all in prisons are given flexibility to vote. The law has stated that if one is imprisoned, one should stay in prison. Don’t tell me he will want to ask to go out for a feast, or to cast his vote,” he said. He said this after launching the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of the RM500,000 Mini Rest and Recreation (R & R) area for the Jakun Orang Asli community, about 50 km from here, today.
Shafie was asked to comment on a request from the opposition to the government to allow Anwar, who is currently at the Sungai Buloh Prison, to go out to vote in the Permatang Pauh Parliamentary by-election on May 7. The seat became vacant after Anwar was disqualified as an elected representative when the Pardon Boards rejected a petition for royal pardon filed by his family.
Anwar is serving a five-year jail sentence after he was found guilty of sodomising his former personal assistant Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan. Meanwhile, Shafie said the R & R, located between Leban Chondong and Muadzam Shah, would be wholly handled by the Jakun Orang Asli, and would be a catalyst for economy growth in the area.
He said the R & R, which had five outlets would market the goods produced by the Orang Asli. He said the centre was the first in Pahang and the third in Peninsular Malaysia, after Pos Raya, Tapah and Batu Pahat, Johor. In BUKIT IBAM, about 90km from here, Shafie said KKLW would focus on the development of the human capital of the rural communities especially the Orang Asli under the 11th Malaysia Plan.
He said the human capital development of the Orang Asli was important so they would be competitive and be independent in generating their own income. “This is one of the frameworks in the 11th Malaysia Plan which we will implement and will be tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak soon,” he told reporters after launching a Rompin district Giatmara community service programme.