Malaysia

At manifesto launch, Pakatan tells Malaysians to seize the day

By Clara Chooi
Assistant News Editor

February 25, 2013
Latest Update: February 26, 2013 04:34 am

Members of Pakatan Rakyat component parties at the Shah Alam Convention Centre in Shah Alam for the launch of the pact’s election manifesto on February 25, 2013. — Picture by Choo Choy MayMembers of Pakatan Rakyat component parties at the Shah Alam Convention Centre in Shah Alam for the launch of the pact’s election manifesto on February 25, 2013. — Picture by Choo Choy MaySHAH ALAM, Feb 25 — Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders sounded the election war drums today as they launched their Election 2013 manifesto, declaring themselves more than ready to face an electoral battle they say will be fought between a nation of citizens now opposed to a “corrupt Umno-Barisan Nasional” (BN) regime.

The election directors of all three PR parties — PKR, PAS and the DAP — took turns at the manifesto launch to remind members of the importance of staying united and organised in their struggle, pointing out that this was their best opportunity yet to change the government.

Ini kalilah,” PKR deputy president Azmin Ali (picture) told the crowd gathered at the Shah Alam Convention Centre (SACC) here in his speech before the launch, using the pact’s newly-coined slogan to urge voters to seize the opportunity for change.

“Time and tide wait for no man. If it passes us by, we will not face it again. Meaning... ini kalilah (this is the moment),” he said.

The Gombak MP, who is PKR’s election director, also cemented PR’s support for Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim as prime minister-in-waiting, saying the opposition leader is the pact’s “centre of gravity”.

“His administrative experience, as well as his good relationship across the globe with international leaders as well as leaders in Islamic movements worldwide, is feared by Umno-BN’s corrupt regime,” he thundered to cheers from the floor.

He promised continued unity in PR, should the pact take Putrajaya in the polls, insisting that cooperation among its three parties would help ensure a strong, sustainable and durable government.

PR is ready to hit the floor running at any time, PKR strongman said, and has a detailed strategy planned to face the election.

“PR will present a clear and honest leadership, much like the leadership of our Kelantan Mentri Besar Tuan Guru (Datuk) Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat,” he said.

DAP election director Tan Kok Wai shared the same enthusiasm with Azmin, and pledged his party’s help to ensure PR improves on its Chinese vote, even in areas where PAS and PKR are standing.

“We will be the bedrock of support,” he said.

The Cheras MP said the country’s political landscape has shifted significantly in the years after the tsunami of Election 2008 and Malaysians have grown more outspoken and daring.

He urged voters to band together behind PR to send a message to BN, which has ruled the country for over half a century, that every vote is invaluable as it could very well lead to a change in government.

“PR will be united, whether in practice or in purpose, as an entity that will be the source of BN’s greatest fear.

“This election will not be one fought between BN and PR... it will be when all Malaysians who want a better Malaysia will rise against BN,” he said.

PAS election director Mohd Hatta Ramli reminded PR members that the final push by the pact will be the most crucial.

But he added that PR is more than ready, having finally found common ground and having resolved most of its seat distribution issues.

“I would like to report that PR, in this last leg towards the polls, is ready with all the ingredients for victory,” he said.

Both PR and BN officials have claimed they can win big in the polls which must held by this June for 222 federal seats and 505 seats in 12 states.

PR is confident of getting almost 140 seats while BN is sure of 145 seats in the federal parliament. Independent surveys show BN can win 117 seats to PR’s 105 seats, getting the ruling coalition a simple majority.

The key to victory appears to be getting the bulk of votes from the Malays, who form the majority of the country’s 28 million population although the minority Chinese and Indians have a say in urban seats.