Saturday, June 10, 2006

Anwar Ibrahim wants Pak Lah to answer

Former deputy prime minister Anwar Ibrahim said prime minister Abdullah Badawi must respond to Dr Mahathir Mohamad's criticism against national policies administered by the current government.

Anwar said while Abdullah may have the liberty to ignore Mahathir on personal issues but he cannot ignore allegations concerning the economy, corruption, the media and the judiciary.

"As a responsible leader, I urge him to respond. He must do it clearly because the people must know the truth. The people must be given the chance to evaluate the authenticity and the veracity of these assertions.

"He cannot ignore this. He must deal with it otherwise he cannot have the moral claim of confronting these issues head on as he had made before," Anwar added.

Among the allegations made by Mahathir are abuses of the Approved Permits (AP) (by Rafidah Aziz) and the selling of motorbike firm Agusta by Proton for RM4 to a 2-euro Italian company.

Anwar also said that little has improved since Mahathir stepped down.

"Unfortunately, under Abdullah nothing seems to change. There is no direction. Apart from the impressive rhetoric and pronouncement, I see no implementation. So certainly the present condition is certainly not satisfactory."

"For the people's benefit, Umno leaders must do the necessary to stop corruption, ensure a free media and continue the reform. If you have a problem with the agenda of the people, talk to them," Anwar said.


Meanwhile, Mahathir said that ministers who disagreed with him during his tenure should have voiced their opposition and resigned then.

"They are saying it's a collective responsibility. So it means the cabinet reversed the very decision they agreed to before.

"Now, they have a new leader, they disagree. If they did not agree before, tell me and resign but they did not," he added.

"Those who disagree with me (for speaking out) say "Dr Mahathir has no right to talk', and 'don't disturb others' - that's all they keep saying."

Mahathir said he would keep pushing for answers over the irregularities in APs, the management of Proton, the selling of Agusta and the scrapped bridge.

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