HULU SELANGOR, April 5 — Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has dared the government to suspend him from Parliament if it planned to continue its support for Israel.
In a fiery speech at Kampung Sungai Tengi here last night, the Permatang Pauh MP continued his attack on the government’s purported links to Israel through international public relations firm APCO Worldwide.
He noted that aside from his denial, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had never answered the allegations.
“These are the same people who govern us — who preach to us that the rights of the Malays and Muslims must be protected. Najib is not brave enough to answer this (allegation).
“I am willing to volunteer myself — you continue to support Israel, you suspend me from Parliament. Suspend me, three months, six months, a year, I do not know.
“God willing, let the people decide for themselves,” he said.
Anwar condemned the BN administration for its willingness to seek advice from a company linked to “the murder of Muslims in Palestine.”.
“APCO is led by these people and Najib is seeking advice from them.
“I revealed the names of APCO’s leaders but they claimed I was wrong.
“I showed the agreement signed between APCO and Israel and still they denied it.
“These people are advising Najib on strategic communications, on reform initiatives, on his New Economic Model, his education policies — all this, APCO carries out,” he continued.
Anwar added that as a lawmaker himself, he often engaged with foreign leaders to seek their thoughts and opinions.
“But I never took them as my advisors. Najib is doing this, and they are not even Muslim leaders — they are people who work for the Israeli Defence Agency,” he claimed.
Anwar is currently facing the possibility of suspension over his attack on the government’s link with APCO as well as his claim that the company was behind Ehud Barak’s One Israel campaign.
Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said the government will refer Anwar to the Parliamentary Rights and Privileges Committee over his allegations.
The Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department had said Anwar had so far not been able to provide concrete evidence to support his allegation that 1 Malaysia was taken from One Israel.
APCO has denied the allegations made by Anwar.
Despite this, Anwar looks determined to continue linking Najib to the supposedly Israeli-led APCO and win Muslim support by that — hopefully enough to tip the Hulu Selangor parliamentary seat in PKR's favour in the coming by-election on April 25.
Last night a modestly-sized and predominantly Malay crowd of villagers listened to Anwar’s allegations.
“I implore you, when April 25 arrives, make the right decision,” he said.
The crowd of about 500 people, though not as animated as hardcore opposition supporters, were nevertheless responsive to Anwar’s words, clapping and cheering every now and then when the charismatic leader delivered his usual catchy punch lines.
Whether their attentiveness will translate into votes during polling day is, however, hard to tell.
One villager shrugged when asked by The Malaysian Insider what the ground sentiment was like for the coming election, saying: “We do not know for now. We’re just waiting to see what happens, see what these people have to tell us.”
Meanwhile, Anwar also urged the constituents of the Hulu Bernam state seat, which is home to three Felda settlements, to make full use of the coming by-election and encourage the BN Federal Government to continue pouring in funds to their villages.
“Ask them for whatever you want, do not hold yourself back. You are merely claiming your rights, your entitlements which they never would have given you if not for the by-election.
“Ask them for clothes even, and not the cheap type, and do not care if it comes with the BN’s motif on it – after the by-election, you can paint it over with something else,” he said, leaving the crowd in stitches.
He laughed at Deputy Prime Minister and Education Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's promise of four schools to the constituency during his visit, pointing out that sooner or later, the number of schools would outnumber the constituents.
Anwar also noted that the Pakatan Rakyat may have lost all three state seats of Hulu Selangor during Election 2008 but it successfully clinched the parliamentary seat.
“We hope that you have seen, in the two years of our rule in Selangor, the difference between our administration and that of the BN’s.
“We are here to fulfil promises, not to add more promises,” he said.
He noted that although the Selangor government belonged to the PR, the coalition still often hit stumbling blocks in its administration.
“We do not get federal funds... it is two governments running here – the Selangor state government (under PR) and the Federal Government (under BN). It is not 1 Malaysia, it is one state but two governments,” he said.
The Hulu Selangor seat fell vacant when its PKR MP Datuk Zainal Abidin Ahmad passed away due to a brain tumour.
He had won the seat in Election 2008 after polling a 198 vote-majority against MIC’s Datuk G. Palanivel.
While the PKR is sifting through a long list of over 12 possible candidates to take Zainal’s place, the BN looks set on fielding Palanivel to contest the seat, which he had held for four terms prior to 2008.