09 May 2010
Anwar vows Ho Leng’s independence as Pakatan MP
Anwar at the Sibu campaign rally last night where he assured electorates that the PR candidate won’t be under the thumb of national leaders
Datuk Seri Anwar launched the Sibu by-election campaign last night, promising that Pakatan Rakyat candidate Wong Ho Leng would be free to speak up if elected, and won’t be under the thumb of national leaders.
The Opposition Leader who spoke at three public rallies last night made the pledge to quash fears among Sibu voters that the state DAP chairman would not be able to voice out the concerns of his constituents.
“I am supporting him here because we want a representative for the people of Sibu,” said Anwar at a rally in the predominantly-Chinese Sibu town.
“If there is any disagreement we allow disagreement then we sit down to discuss because we take things seriously,” said the PKR de facto leader.
The process of naming the PR’s Sibu candidate was delayed twice last month before Wong’s name was announced resulting in speculation by their opponents in SUPP and Barisan Nasional (BN) that the Sibu and Sarawak DAP are not free from West Malaysian control.
Wong’s opponent in the contest SUPP’s Robert Lau Hui Yew was announced soon after the death of five-term MP and Transport deputy minister Datuk Robert Lau Hoi Chew by the party’s Sibu division before getting the official endorsement from national BN leadership.
Maintaining some form of independence from mainland leaders is seen as an important factor by the parochial voters of East Malaysia.
Anwar also pointed to the 500-strong crowd at the rally that DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng who runs the Penang government has previously displayed disagreement with PR leadership.
“I am not an idol for him to worship. They (DAP leaders) are not like those from SUPP or MCA who every time they meet Datuk Najib, they will just agree with him,” said Anwar who was later introduced by Wong at the rally as the prime minister in waiting.
This is the Bukit Assek assemblyman’s fourth tilt at the Sibu seat, having lost in all previous occasions in 1995, 2004 and 2008 general election. The May 16 by-election is a must win for both BN and PR to show the respective party’s preparedness for the state election that must be held by July next year.
The opposition made its best ever electoral performance in Sarawak in 2006 winning six of the 71 state assembly seats.
The support level for the opposition however was reduced in Election 2008 when DAP only won the Bandar Kuching seat.
PR also needs to win the election in order to increase its representation in Parliament after losing four MPs to resignations and sackings.
PKR lost another parliamentary seat recently when it failed to defend the Hulu Selangor constituency in last month’s by-election.
PR controls 77 seats with PKR having 25 MPs, DAP, 28, PAS, 23, and PSM, 1.
The Sabah-based SAPP has two seats. There are five independents.
BN controls 138 seats in the 222-member Parliament
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