Malaysia

Anwar tells Pakatan to stay course after Tenang loss

A protester waves a shoe at Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's televised speech, in Tahrir Square, Cairo February 1, 2011. — Reuters picA protester waves a shoe at Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's televised speech, in Tahrir Square, Cairo February 1, 2011. — Reuters picPETALING JAYA, Feb 2 — Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged Pakatan Rakyat (PR) supporters to remain steadfast in their fight against Barisan Nasional (BN) despite the defeat in the Tenang by-election last weekend.

The PR de facto leader said it would take much time and effort to galvanise Malaysians into political action, citing the unprecedented wave of popular protests which he said was only now sweeping through the Arab world after decades of authoritarian rule.

“How many hundreds, thousands have been killed in Egypt? Not just this year but decades now — hanged, shot, disappeared,” he told the 600-strong crowd at PKR’s first Jelajah Pemimpin 2011 roadshow in Taman Sri Manja last night.

“And only then has this happened. Don’t think this is the easy path,” Anwar said, referring to the Egyptian protests since January 25.

He told PR supporters to not lose hope following PAS candidate Normala Sudirman’s loss to BN’s Mohd Azahar Ibrahim in Tenang, and to remember Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim’s fight for the Ijok seat.

He said Khalid had managed to wrest the seat from MIC in Election 2008, less than a year after suffering heavy losses there to BN.

“Yes, we lost Tenang. We accept it with patience,” the Permatang Pauh MP said.

He stressed that PR’s machinery had to be strengthened in preparation for the next general election to ensure that the opposition could carry on its struggle against BN’s “corrupt leadership”.

Anwar added that PR component parties would work hand-in-hand to field their strongest line-up in the general election, speculated to take place in the fourth quarter of this year.

BN retained the Tenang seat on Sunday with a 3,707-vote majority, short of the 5,000 majority the ruling coalition had expected from the Umno stronghold.

BN’s Azahar polled 6,699 votes against PAS’s Normala, who took 2,992 votes from the 12 polling districts. A total of 9,833 voters, or 67 per cent of the 14,753 electorate, turned up to cast their ballots despite the rain.

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