Thursday, September 18, 2008

Anwar wants Parliament to meet by Sept 23

Anwar wants Parliament to meet by Sept 23

PETALING JAYA: Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim claims he sent a letter to the Prime Minister on Thursday requesting him to call an emergency Parliament session no later that Sept 23 to deliberate on a vote of no-confidence against Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s leadership.

The letter was jointly signed by him as the PKR leader, PAS president Abdul Hadi Awang and DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, he said at a press conference at the PKR headquarters here Thursday afternoon.

“We will convene an emergency meeting if there is no response from the Prime Minister.

“And we won’t reveal the 31 names (of the MPs crossing over) unless the Prime Minister categorically assures that MPs are given their chance to appear (in Parliament) next Tuesday (Sept 23) to give their vote in the motion of ‘no-confidence’ against the PM,” he added.

Anwar also did not discount the possibility of seeking an audience with the King as one of the options Pakatan would take if Abdullah fails to convene an emergency Parliament session.

He added he found the Prime Minister’s comment that he was a threat to national and economic security as “reckless and irresponsible in light of the disastrous outcome of last Friday’s ISA raids.”

When asked if he was concerned about being arrested under the ISA, Anwar said there was no reason why he should be arrested.

“Furthermore, the PM and Home Minister have assured there would be no more arrests,” he said.

The Opposition leader and Permatang Pauh MP also told reporters that he has been in touch with SAPP president Datuk Yong Teck Lee.

The Sabah party announced on Wednesday that it was pulling out of Barisan Nasional but would not be joining Pakatan Rakyat.

Yong had said SAPP would remain independent in the Opposition bench until a time came when the party was ready to be back in government.

On Tuesday, Anwar claimed that he had enough lawmakers to form a new government but has officially delayed the takeover deadline.

He said he was prepared to delay the deadline in the interest of a smooth transition of power.

He said he was also ready to show Abdullah Ahmad Badawi the list of Barisan Nasional MPs defecting over to Pakatan Rakyat should Abdullah grant him a meeting.

“The numbers are increasing by the hour, but as of now, it is in excess of 31 MPs, This is not empty talk. I am fully responsible for my statement but we have choose to be patient and use the conciliatory way,” Anwar had told a packed press conference at the PKR headquarters.

The Opposition Leader said he would even give Abdullah the list of names of Barisan MPs wanting to defect at their meeting.

“I am appealing in the name of political stability and smooth transition. It will be preposterous for the Prime Minister to deny me this meeting. He has no choice but to negotiate since we have the numbers,” said Anwar.

Asked why he still refused to give the exact number of defecting MPs, or their names, Anwar replied there was fear the MPs would be detained or harassed.

Pressed for a deadline for the meeting, Anwar said he did not like to give any ultimatum but it should be within these few days or other options would be considered.

Asked if he would seek an audience with the King and present himself as commanding majority in Parliament, or would he seek a no-confidence motion against Abdullah at the next Parliament sitting in October, Anwar was non-committal and said such options would be discussed at the highest leadership level in Pakatan.

Full statement by Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim:
Today Pakatan Rakyat leaders have submitted a letter to the Prime Minister requesting him to call an emergency session of Parliament to deliberate a motion of censure against the leadership of YAB Dato’ Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi no later than Tuesday 23 September 2008.

This is in accordance with Order 11(3) of the Standing Orders of Parliament and warrants an immediate response given the gravity of today’s political impasse. A delay in his response would be interpreted as nothing short of a further sabotage of the democratic process and abuse of Executive Power.

The Prime Minister’s haggling on the syntax of our first letter is puerile at best. The intent of our meeting as described in that letter was clearly to discuss the future course of the nation’s leadership – though in deference to his position and in accordance with acceptable norms we remain considerate and polite in our approach.

I find the Prime Minister’s comment about me in his press conference yesterday to be reckless and irresponsible in light of the disastrous outcome of last Friday’s ISA raids.

He has conflated what is essentially an issue of democracy, freedom and the rule of law with national security. The use of the ISA to harass and detain duly elected political opponents is a grave transgression of the law and its continued use would further erode confidence in the current government and exacerbate political instability.

As the incumbent Prime Minister actively holding office and exercising all Executive powers, and as the outgoing Finance Minister, we hold him fully accountable for the current political turmoil and mismanagement of the nation’s economy. His accusation that I have had an adverse impact on the nation’s economy is entirely without basis.

I have met with the key fund managers in the region, representing over US$1 trillion in assets, and on multiple occasions they were unanimously in support of comprehensive reforms in Malaysia including judicial independence, a free media, a more professional police force and anti-corruption agency, investor friendly laws and assurances on the non-interference of politicians in the governance of Bank Negara. These are policies Pakatan Rakyat has promised to implement– and initiatives that the current administration has done virtually nothing to advance since March 8th.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2008/9/18/nation/20080918142707&sec=nation

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