KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Despite previously supporting the Save Malaysia group frontlined by his one-time boss and nemesis, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim criticised today the movement for failing to address institutional reforms in its meeting yesterday to push a federal leadership change.
The former opposition leader added that institutional reform measures that ensure fairness and transparency must first be detailed before regular Malaysians and not the “elite” can decide who is to be the country’s future leader.
“You cannot have this game of the elite to try and determine the course of the nation.
“It must be the people's choice, democratic choice, so back to democracy and institutional governance, that seems to be lacking even in the declaration, the issue of independence, of the judiciary, independence of the election commission, and the need to have institutional reforms,” he told reporters at the Jalan Duta Court Complex while waiting for a court case.
Anwar was commenting on yesterday’s gathering of government critics in Shah Alam, Selangor by the Save Malaysia group comprising former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, politicians from both sides of the divide and civil society leaders.
The de facto PKR also said that anyone, even an Umno MP, could become the next prime minister so long as the person is democratically elected in a fair electoral system.
“That's for the people to decide, it's not Umno, not personal design,” he replied when asked who he thought could be the next prime minister after the Shah Alam pow-wow.
“It must be a fair, democratic election so the independence and integrity of the SPR is paramount,” he added, referring to the Election Commission by its Malay abbreviation.
Anwar had once been touted as a potential prime minister to succeed Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The Penang-born was a deputy prime minister under the Mahathir administration before he was sacked from government and convicted on corruption charges in the late 1990s.
He succeeded in reviving his political career in 2008 as leader of the Pakatan Rakyat opposition pact after serving out the first jail sentence.
However, the 68-year-old was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail on a sodomy charge in February last year.