PETALING JAYA, Feb 13 ― Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy conviction leaves Pakatan Rakyat (PR) no option but to stop their internal squabbling and stand united, Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan said yesterday.
The Bersih 2.0 former co-chairman also said the public was fed up with the squabbles between PR partners PAS and DAP over fundamental disagreements such as local elections and hudud.
“Pakatan Rakyat has no choice but to unite. It has to unite now for the people. It's something we anticipate and it’s something we demand,” she at a forum organized by local news portal Malaysiakini titled ‘Anwar Imprisoned: the Future of Malaysian Politics.’
“Question now is, with Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in jail, can Pakatan Rakyat pull their socks up and pull themselves together? I think they can do it,” she added.
PAS MP Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa echoed Ambiga’s sentiment, and urged the pact to admit that its problems especially now that Anwar, who is seen as the uniting factor of the three parties, could no longer lead PR.
“Stop saying we (PR) don't have a problem. Yes, I admit, we have a problem but we are working to solve it,” he said candidly.
“Who will do the job (of leading PR) is not the issue, there’s no way they (Anwar’s replacement) can be the same (as him). You have to do away with that thinking. But Pakatan Rakyat must stay strong and united,” Mujahid added.
Ambiga added that Anwar’s incarceration will be impetus for his supporters to take action, to the point that Putrajaya will rue his latest imprisonment for sodomy.
She added that jailing Anwar made him “far more dangerous” to the ruling government, and made him a beacon for supporters.
PKR vice-president Chua Tian Chang, on the other hand, saw Anwar’s conviction as a major setback to the “Reformasi” movement, aimed at removing ruling party Barisan National, similar to when Anwar was first arrested in 1998.
“To me, in 2008 (election) with the leadership of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim… the people wanted to see development from both Pakatan Rakyat and Barisan National. At first I saw this as a good sign, because we entered into a state of normalcy with two parties,
“Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s conviction shows we’ve turned back the clock to before 2008. We’re still having to talk about rights and freedom,” Chua said.
The Federal Court had on Tuesday upheld the Court of Appeal’s 2014 ruling that had reversed Anwar’s acquittal of sodomising Saiful, and maintained the sentence of five year’s imprisonment.
Anwar, 67, will now lose his Permatang Pauh parliamentary seat as the law bars anyone fined over RM2,000 or imprisoned more than one year from serving as a lawmaker.
The decision also leaves the PR pact without a leader.