Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim criticised Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak today for not immediately condemning the Bible-burning remarks from the ultra right-wing Malay rights group, Perkasa.
“We know their (Perkasa) role is outsourced by Umno to fan racist bigotry… we have not yet heard any tough response from the Umno leadership.
“Not even from the prime minister or the home minister. This is disturbing.
“Notwithstanding partisan politics, you have to draw the line,” Anwar (right) said at a press conference at the PKR headquarters today.
Anwar was referring to Perkasa chief Ibrahim Ali’s call for Malay language Bibles using the word ‘Allah’ to be burnt.
Ibrahim was called up by the police yesterday over his statement, but the Pasir Mas MP had said that his remark was not intended to offend Christians.
In another matter, when asked if Pakatan Rakyat will have their general election candidates vetted by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), Anwar said that it was akin to looking for trouble.
“They (MACC) did not investigate the Scorpene scandal, the cow (National Feedlot Corporation) scandal, or the 200-acre land scandal. Everyone had been left off the hook.
“And then later when they vet me, they will say that I am not cleared, and that more investigation is needed – that would be looking for trouble,” he said.
EU prepared to negotiate
Earlier, Anwar held another press conference with European Union ambassador Luc Vandebon (right in pic) after a briefing on the bloc’s free trade agreement negotiations with Malaysia.
Anwar noted the negotiations that began in 2010 had stalled due to the looming general election, and urged the government to stop procrastinating on the matter.
“What is being demanded (in the negotiation) in many areas is consistent with Pakatan Rakyat’s policy, such as the issues of procurement, transparency, and doing away with rent-seeking and supporting cronies like the Approved Permits (AP) system for various sectors.
“This seemingly insurmountable issue in the negotiations with the BN government is not a problem for us,” he said, but added that necessary steps should also be taken to protect the local industry.
Anwar also welcomed the EU representative’s statement that it was willing to work with any government that comes into power in the next general election.
“I am delighted to hear that the EU is ready to work with any democratically elected government, and that it plans to resume the negotiation process immediately after the GE,” he said.
Asked if the EU was prepared to negotiate should Pakatan win federal power, Luc replied: “Absolutely, we have said from the beginning that we want to continue; we work with Malaysia, Malaysia is our partner”.
He added that the negotiations were complex and the need for a longer time frame was to be expected.